After the political mayhem that was 2016, we sure as hell could use something to lift our spirits. Perhaps if there was a record that came out right at the beginning of the year that was exciting and fun. The sort of record where it raises our blood pressure in the best of ways, and induces neck swelling from compulsive head banging. If there was just such a album that was full of thrash goodness and hardcore intensity, maybe that would brighten the kid’s spirits up just a bit.
In all seriousness, Iron Reagan’s Crossover Ministry (Relapse) is a solid awesome time. Such as in their previous work, Iron Reagan combines thrash with hardcore to deliver rush after rush of grade A material. Crossover Ministry from the very beginning consistently sticks to one direction and flies forward (deviating there and then for interesting twists). While the atmosphere of thrashing guitars and constant hit after hit of drumming becomes common, it all serves into the grand purpose of the record. Even though the album is enjoyable to kick back and listen to, Crossover Ministry is pure “mosh pit mentality”; songs like these are meant for people to run, throw themselves around, head bang, and body surf too. The constant drive, and maintaining of speed and sound is essential in creating this atmosphere. Whether it is the stomping intensity of the drumming, or the ripping rush of the guitar, sitting down just doesn’t “feel” like the first option when there is this incredible urge to move.
All the songs are at the perfect length to accommodate the sound and speed. While a short record in general, the songs ironically never feel too quick (unless you count titles like “Parents of Tomorrow” which is seven seconds long). “Grim Business” is a prime example of what the majority of the album embodies; while thrashing fills in for the majority of the track, the bright standalone parts of guitar work, along with superb drum beats that roll at times, all make for a dynamic action-packed song. All the music captures this excitement which helps each transition from title to title, keeping the flow positive and strong. There are also elements such as the first single “Dying World”, that are right to the point and stick to a traditional thrash heft and rushing formula. These tracks are welcoming and don’t wear out their stay since 1). They are never too long, and 2). They are all backed by an exciting energy, and never once play into elements that drag.
The album plays around with humor and seriousness not only lyrically, but even throwing in curve balls to the common instrumental formula. “Fuck The Neighbors” is right out of left field after the first few tracks, but so damn welcoming as those drums slam away with the following chanting. One of the more unique titles here is “Megachurch”, which opens on a sonic thrashing with sparse drumming, all before setting off in typical fashion. The track goes from the deeper thrash parts that have been heard throughout the record, to then using more of that sonic feel, which helps add little pieces of welcoming diversity.
Iron Reagan have helped kick off the new year in a positive direction as far as music is concerned. Crossover Ministry is not going to ask anything complex of you, but just to have a great time (whether you simply listen to it or are diving off a stage). Its fun and constant energy is ever present from the beginning to the end. Keeping a constant flow, it is still able to adjust level and sound, while sprinkling bits of diversity in select tracks. Everyone in Iron Reagan works so damn well together that they create a playful, speedy, and exhilarating experience in Crossover Ministry.