Release Date: January 15, 2016
Harley Flanagan is best known for his work with hardcore/thrash originators the Cro-Mags. His first namesake album, cleverly titled after his former band, is the result of his much publicized altercation with his ex-bandmates at a gig in 2012. Although I find it sad that Flanagan and the Cro-Mags can’t get along, the tension has made for one hell of an album.
Kicking off with the rebel rousing, circle pit inducing “I Come in Peace,” Cro-Mags hits the ground at a breakneck speed. Flanagan barks the vocals as the drumming speeds the song along in classic NYC Hardcore fashion. “Can’t Give In” continues the race but the groovier guitars and clearer vocal delivery make it an instant classic. It’s anthemic and catchy and it makes you want to slam around the pit all night long.
“Guilty Until Proven Innocent” is the pissiest of all the tracks here. Flanagan barks his point of view from the arrest while slandering his former bandmates thoroughly, declaring that while they “were swimming in their daddy’s nuts” he was already NYC Hardcore! The heavier sludge of “I’ll Fuck You Up” has a classic bounce to it that leads into “Fighting the Urge to Kill’s” rage-filled, circle pit glory. The ambient “Ascending” is the only time Flanagan comes up for air, but it’s a welcome moment of Zen in an otherwise furious album.
The songs here are fast, furious and bass-driven. Flanagan has always had the distinction of being one of the few guys in music to treat his bass as a lead and he does it with conviction on Cro-Mags. This is a tough as nails album that tells the incredibly unbelievable story of what went down at Webster Hall and the animosity that led to that moment. If you are looking for some classic NYC Hardcore then Flanagan, once again, has your back. Cro-Mags makes me feel like this scene still has some life left in it.
Reviewed by mark1340