Cro-Mags - The Age Of Quarrel review


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Band: Cro-Mags
Album: The Age Of Quarrel
Release date: 1986

01. We Gotta Know
02. World Peace
03. Show You No Mercy
04. Malfunction
05. Street Justice
06. Survival Of The Streets
07. Seekers Of The Truth
08. It's The Limit
09. Hard Times
10. By Myself
11. Don't Tread on Me
12. Face The Facts
13. Do Unto Others
14. Life Of My Own
15. Signs Of The Times

Sometimes a picture can speak a thousand words, which makes what I'm about to say redundant, but The Age Of Quarrel lives up to its cover art and then some, detonating with such force that its reverberations are still felt today. The Cro-Mags are a seminal band in the hardcore scene and especially in the development of NYHC, not so much putting them on the map but creating such a smouldering crater that you just have to look at what created such destruction.

One of the biggest advantages that The Age Of Quarrel has over many of its contemporaries is that it features a very metal-leaning production job. Combining both elements leads to extra punch and power being infused into the songs (while they're metallic hardcore songs, they're not crossover songs) and instruments. Holland and Mayhew's guitars are sharp and clear; their impact is not lost on a production that muddies or buries their razor wire six strings. Flanagan's bass functions almost as a third guitar; sitting between the guitars and drums, it serves as its own instrument with a sound that is solid and full of depth. Jayson's drums pound with precision and purpose that sounds great.

If I had to suggest an album for metalheads who are interested in hardcore but have yet to find something that clicks, then this would be it. The concept and tropes of hardcore are on full show but in a metal package, so you will be able to immerse yourself in the genre before being pulled under and submerged by your new found love.

With tracks like the thundering "Show No Mercy", the raw "It's The Limit" and the slow build burner "Life Of My Own", The Age Of Quarrel is packed with what are now classics of the genre. Treat it like a dartboard; wherever you throw the record needle, you're going to hit something of high quality. For me, "Signs Of The Time" is the song I find myself gravitating towards the most; with subtle changes being made throughout its duration, it sticks to its main riff while making tweaks around the edges that add to experience, ending the album on a high note.

While the album would be highly unique and evolutionary for the genre, the one element that doesn't keep up this pace of change would be the vocals. Joseph is a good vocalist and does a good job fronting the album; the problem is that while the rest of the band are pushing boundaries, he is left standing still. The unrelenting machine gun lyrical structure is his biggest hindrance; while this works for other bands, it doesn't fit the sound of this album. It could be that I'm pushing metal tropes on an album because it sounds metallic, but I just feel introducing a different lyrical approach would work better.

Overall, it is a minor flaw in an album that is as solid as this, the mushroom cloud isn't as bright as it could be is a trivial complaint to have when your eyeballs are melting inside your head. Listen and stand in awe for the Cro-Mags have become death, the destroyer of the (musical) worlds.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written by omne metallum | 26.06.2020



Comments: 1   Visited by: 8 users
27.06.2020 - 11:43
Saw this mentioned often as a stepping stone in the blend of metal and hardcore, and for pretty good reason. Too bad they never did anything as good as this again.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

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