Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry album review

The heart of crossover’s still beatin’

Cover art for Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry album

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Anyone who’s even had an extraneous finger on extreme music’s pulse has to admit the continued popularity of crossover can be confounding. Subjected to stringent basics that don’t allow for expansion in the way black metal, for instance, has been able to assume many different waves and guises, one wonders how its long-term health has been retained. Play some thrashy hardcore, don’t get too technical about it, keep guitar heroics (and solos) to a minimum, ensure there are salutes to pizza, beer and potential nuclear holocaust, and you’re golden. In the end, its ongoing appeal – since 1985 and counting! – comes at the hand of it being good clean fun that doesn’t require a tonne of thought.

Paradoxically, Richmond, Virginia’s Iron Reagan manage to both stand proudly at the front of crossover’s pack while also nudging at the subgenre’s restrictions. Tony Foresta’s (yes, he of Municipal Waste) raspy speak/shout is the most customary element on an album that incorporates tinges of blasting grind, classic metal and the history of hardcore working alongside jowly riffs that S.O.D. wish they wrote. Fuck The Neighbors might ooze topical immaturity, but its combination of two-step mosh, thrash, anthemic gang vocals and brief flashes of grind/powerviolence stretches the limits and reveals more than just a funny band you can mosh to.