Michael Crain

Album Review: Dead Cross- Dead Cross II

The new album by Dead Cross is one twisted and interesting ride. Made during a very turbulent time not just in the world but also personally for a couple of the members. Guitarist Michael Crain was diagnosed with cancer and progressing through chemotherapy while laying down his guitar lines. Singer Mike Patton developed severe agoraphobia and a bit of a drinking problem. That though didn’t interfere with Dead Cross delivering this thought provoking and pummeling record.

Their first output was a band finding their niche within all the genres and subgenres. This new album is a lot more focused and driven to make your head explode. Dead Cross II is more than just a blast of energy. It’s subject matter and lyrical approach does make you a bit more intrigued and you tend to listen a bit closer. It’s definitely an album that grows on you with each listen. The songs are more intricate and complex than the first album and I have to say too that having Justin Pearson’s vocals on more tracks adds a bit more “charm” to the album as a whole.

Through the nine songs and 35 minutes of this album you get an onslaught of brutality but with tinges of some fun things you’ll pick up on as you listen closely. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “Christian Missle Crisis.” This one has Justin on lead vocals and DAMN, this one goes HARD! Having the different vocal takes this song to a whole other level. Yes Patton is Patton but at times it’s too much Patton and you start to crave a bit more variety and that’s what makes Justin Pearson’s vocals stand out. Plus his delivery on this song is impeccable. My other favorite song on the album is “Reign Of Error.” Once you hear this one, you’ll understand why.

One thing that’s not to be dismissed about this album is the musicianship. Michael Crain’s guitar work on this album is superb. The tones and playing are top notch. There has always been an intensity to Michael’s playing (his days in Retox come to mind) but, he definitely seems to be channeling his cancer and treatment into this one and boy, does it pack quite the punch. Dave Lombardo is crushing on this album. His versatility as a drummer is on display here and it’s awesome. Justin Pearson’s bass rips through these songs with precision and razors and his vocals!!! One more thing to add about Dead Cross II and that is the production. While the first one is a bit more “raw” this one is more focused and concise, which actually makes for a better listen through. Dead Cross II is an album for the times that is for sure. It’s got almost everything you’d want and expect from those involved in this band and when it shines it makes you want to punch through glass (in a total good way). Hooray for ). Hooray for a new and anticipated Dead Cross album. I’m sure the live show this go round (when that time comes) will be one hell of a trip!

Overall Rating: B

Christian Missle Crisis:

Reign Of Error:

Heart Reformer:

Anticipated Albums: Dead Cross- Dead Cross II

The long awaited second album from Mike Patton, Justin Pearson, Dave Lombardo and Michael Crain aka Dead Cross is just about here. On October 28th (via Ipecac Recordings), Dead Cross returns with an abrasive and socio-political 9 song record that will leave you in shambles. The album, while both a ravenous hardcore collection, and at times, a politically-charged opus, has its roots in friendship, with the band rallying together after Crain received a surprise cancer diagnosis. “Words can’t even begin to describe how much this album means to me. It’s birthed of pain and uncertainty,” explains Crain. “The slow, excruciatingly painful, and nauseating recovery from cancer treatments were the catalyst for every riff and note on this album. However, my will to live and be with my brothers Justin, Dave, Mike, and co-producer Ross Robinson, got me out of bed and running into the studio every day to get it all on tape.” And that couldn’t be more true. This album although only 9 songs is unrelenting and what you’d want in a follow up to the band’s 2017 debut.

The first song releases “Reign Of Error” has an interesting backstory to it. “’Reign of Error’ was recorded almost as quickly as it was written and I believe there’s a very good explanation for it,” adds Crain. “I haven’t told anybody this before, least of all the rest of the band or Ross, but I honestly felt a strong presence in the studio that day. Those riffs flew out of me and when Dave sat down at his kit it was almost as if we’d played that song a thousand times before. It literally just happened so fast. Bam! One take. I’m not trying to paint a dark or fantasy-like story either. Having just escaped death and still healing from my cancer treatments I was incredibly sensitive to energy and the other side. There was someone else there. Not evil but benevolent and inspiring. I honestly believe it was Dave’s old bandmate and friend Jeff. I think he just wanted to jam with his friend again and perhaps did so through me. There I said it. Whether people believe it or not I really don’t care. I’m just grateful that I had that experience.”

Personally, I’ve been very excited for this new release from Dead Cross. I throughly enjoyed the debut and am stoked on this one for sure. October 28th can’t come soon enough. Now, lets just hope they tour it!!!


Dead Cross- Reign Of Error:

Album Review: Dead Cross- Dead Cross

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It’s not everyday that a project lives up to the hype these days. In fact, the majority of “new and exciting” projects fall flat and leave you with nothing but a feeling of disappointment. That is not true though of the new band Dead Cross. The band was originally formed in 2015 by drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer & Fantomas), bassist Justin Pearson (The Locust, Head Wound City, Retox), guitarist Michael Crain (Retox), and on vocals Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Head Wound City, Retox), the latter though was replaced by the legendary Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, etc).

Let me just cut to the chase. The debut self titled album from Dead Cross is, 10 songs and about 30 minutes of blistering hardcore punk rock that will leave you one, wanting more, two, wondering where this style of vocals Mike Patton has been for the longest time, three, damn… Dave Lombardo really is the soul of Slayer, and four, Justin and Mike have really outdone themselves in bringing back a sound that has been often copied and tired but not really done right. There are moments that really bring out the Mike Patton we all know and love, from the time he spent with The Dillinger Escape Plan, when they made Irony Is A Dead Scene. Songs like “Seizure and Desist,” “Idiopathic,” and “The Future Has Been Canceled,”  really show that side of Mike. The rest of the album is full of Hardcore Punk meets Fantomas and a bit of Mr. Bungle. Other tracks like “Obedience School,” Shillelagh,” “Divine Filth,” “Grave Slave,” and “Gag Reflex,” are beyond stand out songs. The sheer magnitude of force that pummels through those songs and the rest, provided by Dave, Michael, and Justin, is astonishing. One other gem on the album is the cover of the Bauhaus classic, Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Just listen to the whole album and you’ll hear the greatness

Dead Cross is the type of band that is needed for today. In the age we are in and with what is going on, this is the type of energy that can help. The combination of Dave Lombardo and Mike Patton is always welcome and appreciated. The inclusion of Justin and Michael, really brings out something special in those two. I truly hope that Dead Cross is a band that will stay for some time. I’d really love to hear this band develop and become something kids can get inspiration and influence from.

Overall Rating= A

 

Seizure & Desist:

 

Grave Slave:

 

Obedience School:

 

PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM HERE (Album is out August 4th):