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(Hardcore) CRO-MAGS - In The Beginning review

Release date June 19, 2020 (Mission Two Entertainment)

Given their status as one of hardcore's originators, any time a Cro-Mags album gets issued should be big news ... especially given that their last album (Revenge) was issued twenty long years ago. So, call me surprised that In The Beginning was released in June and I didn't find out about it until recently. Where's the media coverage, dammit?

Well, we here at The Mighty Decibel are more than willing to step up and provide some print time for this still very relevant band. Why still relevant even before hearing this album, you say? That would be because the band issued two stellar EPs and a single last year (a review for one of the EPs can be found below) that acted as a swat to the head of their long lost fan base. The Cro-Mags were shouting "we're back!".

Entering into the initial listening session, I was wondering whether the band would insert melodic tracks within their typical maelstrom, akin to Revenge, or if they'd return to their straight forward roots. We quickly find out that it is the latter.

Containing thirteen tracks, seven are taken from last year's EP and single crop, leaving six brand new tracks for those who invested in the short form releases from 2019. Altogether, this batch of tunes makes for a punishing experience, true to the Cro-Mags original sound and pedigree.

While some critics may argue that the bulldozer rhythms of most of these tracks are similar, to these ears they sound fresh and energetic ... especially when Rocky George's atypical lead guitar is added to the mix. And there's also the incomparable roar vocals of Harley Flanagan who sounds as pissed as he was on Best Wishes way back in 1989. He even provides a crooning take at the mic for one of the more aggressive tracks ("The Final Test"), creating a bit of tension to the listening experience.

Holds the title of comeback album of the year to these ears.


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