DEAD CROSS – Dead Cross
Release: 4th August 2017
DEAD CROSS line up:
Mike Patton – Vocals
Mike Crain – Guitar
Justin Pierson – Bass
Dave Lombardo – Drums
DEAD CROSS online:
That’s probably the best way to describe the Southern Californian supergroup, Dead Cross, originally formed in 2015 with Gabriel Serbian at the helm.
Fast forward to the band’s debut release and you’ll find a mind-spin of a record, spurred by the devilishly jarring vocals of Mike Patton (Faith No More), who joined last year. With the legendary Dave Lombardo (Slayer) serving as the brutal backbone to the entire album, Patton’s vocals match his trademark intensity from the get-go on ‘Seizure and Desist’ – the track’s a short one but it certainly punches you in the gut, and that’s a trait running through almost the whole release.
The bass drone underlying second song ‘Idiopathic’ helps drive the rhythm, while Patton breaks into a more distinct vocal delivery as he speaks, sings and screams the lyrics. Then the devastating ‘Obedience School’ switches up the pace with devastating efficiency, a refreshing bout of wailing guitar from Michael Crain cutting through the sludgy sound.
Within all the disarray are plenty of infectious riffs, with fourth track ‘Shillelagh’ delivering one of the standouts of the record. There are also songs where the guitar takes a back seat, letting the combination of Patton’s military-style growls and Lombardo’s sharp drumming shine on ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’. There’s a different kind of vibe here, but strangely it works.
The album ascends back to a devastating speed on ‘Divine Faith’. Supported by some particularly complex rhythms by Lombardo, the frontman really lets his voice go as the bass drone kicks back in. This part of the record though is where it briefly seems to come unstuck.
While fiercely dynamic, ‘Grave Slave’ initially sounds like it’s been ungracefully cut from another track, while the disjointedness continues into the intro of the devilishly dissonant ‘The Future Has Been Cancelled’. However, Patton’s low, rasped vocals contrast well with the high, jarring guitars, and the song proves to be a solid one overall.
The penultimate track ‘Gag Reflex’ is easily the most dynamic one on the record, where even the singer’s cleanest vocals crawl under your skin, and headbanging rhythms speed up and slow down again with explosive intensity.
Patton’s whispers and a repeated chord lead us into one hell of a closer in ‘Church of the Motherfuckers’. Crain’s guitar mirrors the vocalist’s low growls to give the song atmospheric body, while also mimicking his high squeals on a bed of chugging low rhythms. Some of Lombardo’s most intricate drum work also comes to the fore, and eerie background vocals add another layer of sound.
While occasionally the insanity on the album errs on the side of a bit too much, the quartet’s debut effort is surprisingly cohesive. The individual members of Dead Cross have utilised some of the best of their eclectic talents, and I’m interested to see where they take their sound heading into the future.
DEAD CROSS – Dead Cross tracklisting
- Seizure and Desist
- Obedience School
- Bela Lugosi’s Dead
- Divine Filth
- Grave Slave
- The Future Has Been Cancelled
- Gag Reflex
- Church of the Motherfuckers