Reviews

Iron Reagan Is Sticking To Their Story With ‘Crossover Ministry’

By Jeremy Hammond

On their third album, Richmond party monsters Iron Reagan sound exactly like you want Iron Reagan to sound.

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Iron Reagan isn’t exactly a challenging band. Nobody with a preconceived notion about thrash or hardcore music is finishing an Iron Reagan album without those notions fully intact, just as nobody who loves thrash crossover music is finishing an Iron Reagan album having considered the ways music can surprise you.  Iron Reagan make brutal, tight, clean, thrash crossover music for people who love that sort of thing and don’t particularly want to have the genre reinvented.

Crossover Ministry is the third album from the Richmond-based super-group, which brings together members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, and Darkest Hour, and it is packed full of everything you want from an Iron Reagan album.  From the feedback opening “A Dying World” to the noisy organ noodling that closes “Twist Your Fate” a mere thirty minutes later, Crossover Ministry never lets up.  The slowest the album ever gets is on “Bleed The Fifth,” where Iron Reagan uses the lethargic pace as an opportunity to play even heavier, with drummer Ryan Parrish sounding like he’s trying to beat a hole through the snare drum.

From a technical standpoint, the album sounds cleaner than any Iron Reagan recording has.  The mix perfectly accentuates guitarist Phillip “Land Phil” Hall’s understated leads, a real rarity in the metal sphere, and never lets his solos drown out the rest of the band.  A major highlight on this record is vocalist Tony Foresta’s charming and lighthearted lyrics, particularly on “Fuck The Neighbors,” and the title track “Crossover Ministry.”  In the past, Foresta’s vocals have fallen to the back of the mix, but on Crossover Ministry they are front and center where they belong.

Is Crossover Ministry formulaic?  You bet.  Does it sound substantially different from any other Iron Reagan release, or Municipal Waste for that matter? Nope.

Does it matter?  Not at all.  This is a bulletproof thrash album for fans of thrash music, and in a modern music landscape so defined by its self-conscious inventiveness, risk-taking, and genre blending, it’s pretty refreshing to hear a band sticking to their story and making simple, loud music because that’s what they love.

Iron Reagan is touring throughout February and March in support of Crossover Ministry and will be at Webster Hall in New York on March 2.

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