Dead Cross Dead Cross

2017 Ipecac Recordings

Patton and Lombardo ride again...

Dead Cross


Dead Cross had a humble enough origin with drumming demigod Dave Lombardo (Suicidal Tendencies, ex-Slayer) joining forces with the younger guns in Retox‘s Justin Pearson (also of The Locust) and Michael Crain, as well as Gabe Serbian (The Locust, ex-Retox, etc.), to blow off some steam.

Serbian had been first in line for the vocal duties in the outfit, but wound up leaving during the album’s creation. That departure caused them to miss an ‘Ozzfest Meets Knotfest‘ appearance, but it certainly paved the way for bigger things to come. For what happened next was something entirely unexpected to not only to members of the band, but also to fans of heavy music as a whole.

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Clearly Lombardo floating an invitation to his ex-Fantômas bandmate Mike Patton (Faith No More, etc.) to take on the vocal duties was a gamble from the start. Patton is notoriously busy with countless projects at any given moment, but here we are. With Patton at the helm, the perception of Dead Cross instantly shifted from that of an abrasive noisy punk side project into a whole different light.

While it may not meet what you have envisioned in your head given the players involved, Dead Cross does eventually add up to a fairly even sum of its parts. Musically the skittering guitar notes, jagged riffs and sinewy rhythms tread close to Retox and The Locust. However, the overall drive and vision of the band is rooted more in traditional gritty punk—instrumentally at least.

Lombardo for one revels in the freedom, continually burying the needle with reckless speed and pugnacity rather than showing off technical displays of his well documented talents. The true wildcard here though is Patton. For a man encroaching 50, he delivers a feverish, chaotic performance that clearly matches the infectiously unhinged energy of the music itself.

At times slithering through tracks, while screaming his head off at others with absurdist lyrics such as “I took a pee and it came out red, I took a dump and it came out dead,” his level of pure enjoyment is infectious.

While the rest of the group bash out a frenzied—if not modestly controlled—explosion of energy, Patton repeatedly ups the ante by bouncing off the walls like a madman with ten stubbed toes. It’s a maniacal side of him not often seen since his time with The Dillinger Escape Plan.

There’s still ample elements of depth and range to be found here though, despite the anarchic tendencies. The ramped up cover of Bauhaus‘ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” chillingly captures the gothy post punk gloom of the original, electrifying it back to life in a more thunderous incarnation.

Songs like “Gag Reflex” balance the head down austerity of Faith No More‘s weirder mid-career output with sneering resolve and cockeyed revelry. The lunging distortion found in the dirgy sendoff, “Church Of The Motherfuckers“, is also likely to throw more than a few listeners for a loop after enduring such a frenetic ride.

Still, with the band having hammered out the album prior to Patton even being a consideration, there is a bit of a disconnect between the music and the vocals. It would be interesting to have a bit more of his input into the instrumental side.

Not that it matters though. Even with a few edges here and there feeling like the wrong puzzle piece was bashed in to make it fit, the sheer charisma of Patton and the band is more than enough to repeatedly delight.

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