“In the Beginning”

By Dr. Abner Mality

CRO-MAGS are back in action and taking no prisoners. The controversial Harley Flanagan is back at the helm and this time, take a look at who he’s brought with less than Rocky George, the great lead guitarist from SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. To my mind, Rocky has always been one of the most underrated axemen in the game and CRO-MAGS is a perfect fit for him. This album knocks your teeth right down your throat!

From the first seconds of “Don’t Give Up”, I know we have the CRO-MAGS of “Best Wishes” back. Whenever I think of metallic hardcore, this is exactly the sound I think of. A perfect mix of thrash metal and hardcore punk. In the first half of the album, it’s a relentless fast beatdown with many songs featuring the familiar “Best Wishes” vibe. Harley’s voice is as angry now as it was 30 years ago and Rocky’s leads are red hot. Kudos, also, to drummer Garry Sullivan, who keeps up a ferocious pace.

The second half of the album stays rock hard but experiments a bit more. We get Harley’s more melodic vocal style on “The Final Test” while the foul-mouthed “Two Hours” and “No Turning Back” feature a more pounding, measured pace. There’s an unusual instrumental “Between Wars” that provides a little variety, but the album ends the same in began, with a rager in “There Was A Time”.

This is a return to form that 100% lives up to its promise. Classic CRO-MAGS...what more could you want?