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Judas Priest?!?!?! - 77%

Snxke, July 7th, 2004

This release from the "Cro-Mags" (sans charismatic bassist and sometimes vocalist Harley Flanagan) is nothing more than a speed-metal "Painkiller" styled romp that does little to match the better records of the latter day. Jon "Bloodclot" and company continue to play fast, scream with a hardcore voice and still manage to completely lose touch with what the Cro-Mags made special. All the in-fighting once made the band strong and made the music tense and intimidating...now the band is stuck slogging through decent, but utterly uninspired songs that bear a shockingly "metal" production and tone. The Cro-Mags used to BE the line between the genres of hardcore and metal...here they are simply metal with a hardcore attitude and voice. (Don't mistake this for modern metalcore though...as it IS far superior to any of that crap.)

The songs aren't bad, "Near Death Experience" and "War on the Streets" both kick along fast enough to be "fun". The whole problem is that without the hardcore vocals this CD would have little to no identity. The riffs and drumwork are classy, the vocals don't offend and the lyrics are actually quite interesting considering the "thug" mentality of the Cro-Mags. The only flaw is that few hooks exist on this outing. There is no "Seekers of the Truth" here folks...and while impressive from afar...this CD does little to last with the bands best works in the long term.

The Cro-Mags find themselves not really knowing where to go on this release. Without Harley, without the muscular songs presented on "Best Wishes" and all the material before that...the band is stuck in a state of musical confusion. It's not bad, nor is it good...it's just kind of "there". For those of you who MUST have everything with the Cro-Mags name on it go out and pick this up. If you are just marginally interested in the Mags' or anything like that there is nothing for you to see here.

I can't really hate this as it's not crap...but with a legacy the size of the Cro-Mags you had better be willing to stand and deliver. This record, sadly, does nothing of the sort.