10 minutes of toughness
There’ve been a lot of older, fairly classic bands doing new records lately. There was Megadeth, Bad Religion and hell, even Tool got in on it among others. Then, there’s Cro-Mags. More specifically—there’s a Harley Flanagan-led Cro-Mags, and they put out two EPs. Don’t Give In gave an earlier taste of what a 2019 Cro-Mags sounds like, and From the Grave just took that further, adding in a couple of unexpected twists and turns all within 10 minutes. Some of From the Grave is a little bit risky, but those risks paid off.
First off, the title track features a behemoth of a legend in itself—Motörhead’s Phil Campbell on guitar. Including Campbell was a good move—the track is in classic Cro-Mags style, so Campbell’s contributions add that extra oomph to the song’s quality. “PTSD” follows and despite its sad subject matter, they play it with a hell of a lot of spirit. It’s assertive with its sound with drummer Garry Sullivan leading the pack. It’s a typical crossover but ends up being one deserving of more cheers than boos.
Where things start to get interesting on From the Grave is with the EP’s third and final track “Between Wars.” Here, Cro-Mags attempt something a bit out of their purview—an instrumental track. Even though the hardcore punk icons are the ones who created it, there really isn’t much else on the track that screams their name, though Flanagan’s bass playing may be particularly noticeable. “Between Wars” even features some cello work performed by Carlos Lamont Cooper. It’s as heavy as an instrumental track from Cro-Mags could possibly be, but still has its own distinct type of beauty to it.
It’s only three tracks, but From the Grave is still a solid way for Cro-Mags to end the decade. They tried some new things with “Between Wars” which, for some, maybe a little too strange to swallow, but it honestly shows that the band isn’t afraid to experiment outside of their usually reliable output. From the Grave is still enough of the tough we need from them.