Album Review: Cross Me - 'Forever Cursed'

21 March 2016 | 10:44 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Caution: may cause involuntary spine damage.

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You know that old-timer dude you see sometimes, who looks like a haggard, punk rock Methuselah, still wearing black jeans, a faded Slayer t-shirt and obligatory battle jacket? Yeah of course you do. Well, what that dude knows, and what Milwaukee’s Cross Me know, is that thrash is still fucking sick. Bands like Anthrax and Megadeth are still cranking 30 years on and turning out decent records, so it’s only fitting that young kids are paying fitting homage to this music. Midwest upstarts Cross Me are the latest group to have a swing, and their début release for Bridge Nine Records, ‘Forever Cursed’, is a furious EP that mixes the very best of heavy hardcore luminaries like Expire, Trapped Under Ice and Backtrack, with the thrash revival sounds of groups like Havok and Toxic Holocaust.

Kicking off with the title track, we’re immediately presented with energetic drumming, thick riffs and commanding vocals that speak of salvation and suffering in the same breathe. This gives you a sense that you’re probably in for a rad time, all before a stop-start bridge section grips your attention and then throws down a massive dive-bomb to level the path ahead for same hefty, head-bang riffage.

Waste of Life’ keeps this energy up with solid, catchy riffs, that when paired with some nice 80’s vocal phrasing, gang shouts and occasional solo licks, succeeds in stirring the mental pot and activating that all-important pit reflex.

Cold’ charges forth off the back of a frenetic guitar & drums combo that sounds reminiscent of a Municipal Waste rager and hits a mid-tempo stride when the vocals announce, “It’s not fucking worth it,” all before dropping into a floor-clearing, beatdown stomp section to mop shit up.

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Closer and lead single ‘Numb’ rounds out ‘Forever Cursed’ with its stand-out moment. Every aspect of the band is on show here, and by the 0:25 second mark they’re already riffing at breakneck speed, encouraging circle pit action and shouting back at you with impassioned crew vocals. Being the longest track on the release (and at 2:46 in total running length, it’s barely earned it) has its advantages, with plenty of quality fills and catchy riffs on display, not to mention a huge finishing section that channels the best of Bay Area showmanship and hardcore matinee pile-ons.

If you like your hardcore to be heavy and contemplative, but also really enjoy everything ‘Master of Puppets’, then Cross Me have got your next fix sorted. Their fusion of thrash, metal and hardcore certainly isn’t ground-breaking, but it’s executed perfectly, coming off as fresh and re-invigorated. Just when you expect this release to zig, it decides to zag instead, flip you off and laugh maniacally in your face. ‘Forever Cursed’ is the essence of Cross Me as a talented, young band distilled into pure, playful aggression. As the video for the ‘Numb’ suggests, these tracks are fun as hell, and will be sure to illicit many a head-bang and strong power stance. Come get some.

1. Forever Cursed

2. Waste Of Life

3. Cold

4. Numb