Dead Cross – Dead Cross

Without exception, so-called supergroups should be approached with the kind of sceptical caution normally reserved for an unsupervised geography teacher carrying penny chews at a school fete, even a supergroup that contains universally admired noise-merchants Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo, who are joined in Dead Cross by Retox guitarist Mike Crain and The Locust bassist Justin Pearson. Considering the quartet’s history, you’d be a fool to bet on their combined output being anything less than challenging, but the band’s eponymous debut is surprisingly straightforward considering the constituent parts, albeit jarringly schizophrenic and barbarically knotted. Doing away with the more experimental flip-flopping of Patton and Lombardo’s past collaborations, the band focus instead on pouring a nihilistic crust punk scree over a base of unrelenting Dave Lom-blast-beats that make Slayer sound like The Wombles, adding more melody than the genre is used to, and more harmonising than should realistically work. Of all the band’s past projects, the resulting assault is musically most reminiscent of Retox, but with Patton acting as feral ring-leader to what sounds like a musical interpretation of ‘American Horror Story’. Vocally, his approach falls somewhere between ‘King For A Day’ / ‘Album of the Year’-era Faith No More and the preverbal singing adopted on John Zorn’s ‘Moonchild’ album, creating a kind of lounge violence that feels like having a velvet Doc Martin constantly millimeters from your face. Although the album loses a little momentum towards the end, and pre-release taster ‘Grave Slave’ is surprisingly the weakest of the 10 tracks, ‘Dead Cross’ is an uncompromising and beautifully ugly reminder of just why these musicians are held in such high esteem, and if not proof that supergoups work, then evidence that you should never second guess what you’re going to get from them.

Dead Cross

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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