When SoCal punk-metal troupe Dead Cross found themselves without a singer in 2016, they turned to Mike Patton to take up the mantle. It was probably the best decision they’ve ever made. Patton is a man with a history of weaving art out of abject chaos, and his turn in Dead Cross is no different.
Their self-titled debut is a whirlwind of relentless, noisy experimentation. Ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo’s furious beats set the pace for a collection of songs that tear between alt.metal, hardcore punk and blistering thrash, often all in the space of a single track.
Patton swings between frenzied screeches, throaty growls and sinister spoken word, gracefully pulling songs back from the brink just as they threaten to unravel completely. You can pick out everything from Bad Brains to Bauhaus in the album’s influences, not least in their cover of the latter’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead.
It’s a bewildering collection, but one that becomes increasingly compelling with each listen. Just don’t settle into it expecting an easy ride.