New York Hardcore act Cro-Mags have released a new music video for an instrumental called “Between Wars” off their new album In the Beginning. The video excerpts a full-length film of the same name starring The Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli and Cro-Mags frontman Harley Flanagan.
The movie, and therefore the music video, deals with the struggle of veterans re-entering civilian life. Imperioli plays a PTSD therapist and Flanagan plays an off-the-rails gangster. Chosen shots for the music video tend to be action shots, focusing on gun pointing, fighting, a car race and Flanagan threatening to shove a drill through a man’s eye. The music video also includes footage of Flanagan and cellist Carlos “Lamont” Cooper busking in a subway mixed in with the film footage.
Cello is an interesting addition to the Cro-Mags sound, adding a cinematic feel to the music itself. It’s an intense yet atmospheric five-minute track that sounds more like a post-rock crescendo than the crossover thrash of most of the album. The drumming is also particularly notable, showing off some really technically talented playing.
Flanagan talked about the music, “This song was a lot of fun to work on as it gave me a chance to do something completely different. I recorded the song with just bass and drums, followed by all the arpeggiated guitar parts, and eventually I added the cellos and did Hungarian-style throat singing. I was inspired to add the cellos when I first heard Carlos “Lamont” Cooper playing in the NYC subway where he plays to make a living. Turns out he’s an ex-gangbanger from NJ who has had a hard life and although we have had very different experiences, we have a lot of things in common; PTSD will do that.”
Imperioli and Flanagan also recorded an interview with Between Wars film director Tom Phillips where they discuss music, film and how they interact with each other.
The album In the Beginning is Cro-Mags’ first full-length in 20 years. Flanagan asserted his rights to the band name in 2019 and released the EP Don’t Give In and ten-minute single From the Grave in advance of the album.