Release Date: Aug 4, 2017
Record label: Ipecac
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Hardcore Punk
A s anyone familiar with the thin alt-rock gruel served up by Mastodon/At the Drive-In/Queens of the Stone Age team-up Gone is Gone will attest, the rock supergroup is often something that seems a better idea in theory than in practice. Which makes the self-titled debut from Dead Cross a rare and impressive exception. It reunites Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo with Faith No More wild man Mike Patton (the two previously appeared together in oddball metal outfit Fantômas) for a ferocious burst of inventive, hardcore punk that never stays still long enough to get predictable.
Dave Lombardo and Mike Patton have been responsible for some of the most brutal music of the last 30 years, for sure. However, neither the former Slayer drummer nor the enigmatic front man of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, etc. have ever cut a record that could be demonstrative of the hardcore idiom.
A supergroup is often anything other than super; in fact, they're generally a terrible exercise in folly. But Dead Cross seem to have got things spot on. The original line up featured Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantomas, and of late Suicidal Tendencies), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox), guitarist Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer) and frontman Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Retox).But with the album recorded Serbian left the band, so Mike Patton (name a band, the Faith No More man's probably been involved somewhere) was bought in to re-do the vocals.
The eponymous debut from the all-star punk unit featuring Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer/Suicidal Tendencies), Justin Pearson (Retox/the Locust), Mike Patton (Faith No More/Mr. Bungle), and Michael Crain (Retox/Festival of Dead Deer), Dead Cross delivers a lethal blast of hypnic jerk-inducing hardcore that's as wildly unpredictable as it is loyal to the genre's predilection for compact sonic vivisection -- the entire affair clocks in at just under 28 minutes. Opening with the familiar and uneasy sound of the United States' Emergency Alert System, "Seizure and Desist" unleashes a Gatling-gun barrage of staccato riffage and breakneck drumming that provides the perfect vehicle for Patton's unhinged, multi-octave croon/scream.
The story goes that Dead Cross had just parted ways with their singer, Gabe Serbian, and were now left sitting with their proverbial dicks in their hands.They had a half hour of written music, but no vocals. For an up and coming band gearing up to record and release its first album, this would have proven to be a major stumbling block. Fortunately for Dead Cross (and for us), Dave Lombardo's personal assistant repeatedly implored him to get in touch with an old friend, who accepted the proposition, via text message, in fifteen seconds flat.
In recent years Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Fantomas) appears to be making a return to the point of origin. Given his thrash metal past, the legendary drummer has recently appeared as a member of Suicidal Tendencies, performing in their last album World Gone Mad, and is currently also part of the Misfits. But that is not all. Alongside Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer), Justin Pearson (the Locust, Retox) and Gabe Serbian (the Locust, ex-Retox) he set out to form Dead Cross, a hardcore punk project of furious intentions.
On paper, the matchup of Mike Patton with former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, the Locust/Retox bassist Justin Pearson, and Retox guitarist Michael Crain suggests creative possibilities galore. When Patton recruited Lombardo for his avant-grind outfit Fantômas alongside Melvins frontman Buzz ….
When SoCal punk-metal troupe Dead Cross found themselves without a singer in 2016, they turned to Mike Patton to take up the mantle. It was probably the best decision they've ever made. Patton is a man with a history of weaving art out of abject chaos, and his turn in Dead Cross is no different. Their self-titled debut is a whirlwind of relentless, noisy experimentation.
A new hardcore supergroup featuring singer Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr.Bungle) and drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies)? Take my money. 2017 has already been a good year for old guys making compelling hardcore (Bloodclot, FYPM, and Integrity are the first that come to mind), and it just keeps getting better. In Dead Cross, Patton and Lombardo are joined by guitarist Mike Crain and bassist Justin Pearson (both from Retox).