It’s got to be natural for music fans across the board to broach the subject of supergroups with a healthy sense of trepidation. Does this musical meeting of the minds come from a place of altruism or are there nastier motivations that have yet to be dredged out? That’s what circled through my head for about 30 seconds before I started out Dead Cross’ self-titled debut album (Ipecac).
In the rock world, we’ve had a myriad of supergroups come and go to varying results. Some have produced classics that rightly deserve to sit with the artists’ previous works, these would be acts like Nailbomb, Vallenfyre or Bloodbath. Others put out decent work that is generally enjoyed like Audioslave, for example. And then there are sonic abominations like Adrenaline Mob and Hellyeah that make us question our life choices.
Fortunately for all parties involved, Dead Cross makes fantastic use of members of Faith No More, Slayer (former) and Retox. Just reading those names should be comfort enough, but if you’ve got to have the proof, give ‘Grave Slave’ a spin and you’ll soon be reminded that Mike Patton retained some of that Dillinger Escape Plan madness from his stint on the Irony Is a Dead Scene EP.
Need to refresh yourself on Dave Lombardo’s thrash chops? You’ve got ‘Obedience School’ and ‘Divine Filth’ to sink your teeth into. ‘The Future Has Been Cancelled’ is the type of song Mutoid Man specializes in, which is noisy hardcore that also rides high on melody.
And just because they can, Dead Cross also makes sure to throw in a cover of Bauhaus’ goth-how-to standard, ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead.’ In terms of structure or tempo it remains the same, but Patton gloriously hams up the vocals while Michael Crain layers on more guitar noise and feedback.
This thing is such an odd-duck of an album that I’m not quite sure what to classify it as. Thrash? Punk? All I know is that it’s fucking exciting. You can safely place this one the shelf with South of Heaven (Def Jam) and Angel Dust (Slash).