Dead Cross are the latest in a long line of Supergroups.
There is something about the tagline “Supergroup” that always leaves me cold. It has always come with a feeling of superiority of these musicians that is somehow better than your average band. It just smacks of an arrogance (placed on the band by people outside of the band to be honest) that is rarely justified and can be an affront to my tastes. This is also because I have heard a lot of sub-par, half cooked “Supergroups”, they tend to be turds of the highest order. There have only been about three Supergroups which have stood up to that title –
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (which is now a main project at this point, if we are totally honest)
Outside of that the band in question are either just a normal band which happens to have a few (in)famous people in it, or they are a group of famous people on a busman’s holiday to make incredibly poor music which does nothing for anyone but massage exercise for the egos of the band members.
Ok, this may be a harsh sentiment, but in my own experience if I see that phrase next to a band, unless the musicians in questions are on top of their game, it rarely meets the expectation placed on it and that is a bit unfair from myself (and others) to be honest as well. Sometimes you should go into something with fresh ears and without prejudice.
But that is an incredibly hard thing to do if your band has Mike Patton on vocals.
Dead Cross hail from Southern California, the band consists of guitarist Mike Crain (Retox), bassist Justin Pearson (the Locust, Head Wound City and Retox), drummer Dave Lombardo (Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits, Slayer and Fantômas) and vocalist Mr. Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk, Peeping Tom and Fantômas).
Originally, Gabe Serbian (the Locust, Head Wound City and Retox) was the vocalist, but he left the band in 2016 after the original recording sessions for this album. Rather than release the album with Serbain’s vocals, the band decided to get Mr Patton on vocals. However, with the music already being completed, Mike Patton decided to re-write the lyrics as well.
I think the main thing to take from the genesis of this act has been chaotic to say the least, but something that has been released jointly on Ipecac and Three One G records, you would expect it to be a little messed up.
Dead Cross are not your average band – full stop.
Dead Cross are one of those acts where there is something in the chaotically hypnotic about them, where there is a something which lays its hooks into you and drags you along, giving you a quick kick in the balls as it goes along. Musically, it is as heavy as you can go without dropping into Black/Death metal, they ride that fine line between noise and NOIZE. It is a perfect mixture of hardcore and metal, but with that wonderful crazy edge that comes with any Ipecac release.
In the space of ten songs, which include a bizarre cover version of the Bauhaus classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, each song is an intense rollercoaster ride which does not let up from beginning to end. When you play Dead Cross, you play it to as a primal release that you experience with it. Once you start with “Seizure and Desist”, it is probably best to power all the way to “Church of the Motherfucker”.
This is not to get it all over with, just because it is an album that works perfectly as a whole and not as a load of individual tracks. However, if I was to pick an individual track as my favourite, it would be “Divine Faith” as it just hits you in the chest from the start and keeps on punching.
Dead Cross is not the sound of a “Supergroup” – it is the sound of lunacy made flesh. I adore it for all the right reasons and it makes me so happy when it is on, this probably tells you more about my state of mind than I care to admit.
Rating: 4.5/5 – Welcome to the church of noise
Top track – “Divine Faith”