Album Review: Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry

By Doug Walker

For those unaware, or living under a rock for the past four years, Iron Reagan is a crossover hardcore/metal supergroup featuring past and current members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, Mammoth Grinder, Darkest Hour and several other projects. They hit the ground running in 2012, and have only picked up steam since then. Crossover Ministry is the newest offering from them.

Crossover, by definition, is an amalgam of hardcore and metal. It’s pre-eminence was in the late ’80s going into the early ’90s. A lot of punk and hardcore bands had started developing a more metal sound, to the chagrin of some of their fans. Depending on your point of view, it was either a natural progression for the music to take, or bands were trying to cash in on the popularity of metal at the time. Bands like Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I. blazed the path that led to a crossover scene developing. Iron Reagan sounds like they could have been one of the originals of the style, they nail it so perfectly.

Tony Foresta has a clear, articulate scream/yell throughout. It’s fairly extraordinary to hear this type of delivery and understand every single word as it smacks you across the face demanding your attention. His subject matter is a perfect combination of the social sensibility of hardcore, and the nihilist tongue-in-cheek of metal. When they tour on this record, there will be many singalongs from the crowd.

Mark Bronzino and Landphil Hall have a dual guitar attack peppered with a combination of chainsaw chords and machine gun chugs. It’s never really about shredding, it’s more about making the angriest sounds a guitar plugged into an amp can make. I’m usually not into two-guitar bands where the guitars follow each other, but for this style and approach, it works. They use the gaps in each other’s playing to build a dynamic within the riffs. When one guitar drops, the other holds the pace and the riff, and when both come back together, it’s borderline oppressive, there’s so much power behind it. That’s a good… no, great thing.

The rhythm section is held down fast and concise by Rod Skotis on bass and Ryan Parrish on drums. Much like the guitar, it’s not flashy in the traditional sense. There’s a lot of very subtle theory play in the rhythm, lots of stops and redirects that would sound strange if not executed with such precision. As such, it’s there to be picked up on, but the listener doesn’t have to do math to follow the songs.

The record is on point: brutal, fast, and unforgiving. It’s exactly what you want to hear from these guys if you’re already a fan, and a great introduction to them if you aren’t.

Rating: 9/10

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Record Label: Relapse
Release Date: February 3rd 2017

Track Listing:
01. A Dying World
02. You Never Learn
03. Grim Business
04. Dead With My Friends
05. No Sell
06. Condition Evolution
07. Fuck the Neighbors
08. Power of the Skull
09. Crossover Ministry
10. More War
11. Blatant Violence
12. Parents of Tomorrow
13. Bleed the Fifth
14. Megachurch
15. Shame Spiral
16. Dogsnotgods
17. Eat or be Eaten
18. Twist Your Fate

Iron Reagan links: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp