By Alex Morales
So, a few weeks ago, Richmond-based thrashers Iron Reagan dropped an album that whether by design or happenstance seems to perfectly capture an intense frustration most of us “mysteriously” feel at this time. Amidst the cries of making punk great again, Iron Reagan’s “Crossover Ministry” delivers a concise 29-minute, 18-track, close-fisted hockey fight of an album.
Right from the get-go Iron Reagan unleashes with a metal-punk circle pit “A Dying World,” giving a sweeping indictment of war, pollution and general human scum with classic wailing thrash solos, and staple thrash and punk riffs that somehow seem new and fresh. Landphil Hall and Mark Bronzino bring a lot to the album’s mix of classic thrash, which is only complimented and pounded out by the thunder brought by Rob Skotis on his fat fuzz machine bass-o-matic. D-beats and two-steps provided by Ryan Parrish keep the punk and attitude alive and at pace. The hockey fight analogy is no better realized than just shy of halfway through the album with a four-syllable chant in the aptly titled “Fuck The Neighbors.” Tony’s lyrics and yells are the artistic embodiment of “Fuck You” that comes with a scene issued jean battle vest and a tallboy of PBR. Just when you think you cannot possibly yell anymore with the album, “More War” makes you tap your feet and punch the steering wheel while thinking of bombs and the industrial-military complex.
With this album, Iron Reagan renews itself as the pioneering face of the thrash crossover movement growing and gaining steam here on the east coast. Their sixth installment really is a testament to the convergence of old school thrash, tough guy hardcore and punk, and heavy metal. Phil Hall provided the recordings for this album from his studio in Richmond and does a fantastic job of capturing all the elements that make this great. Furthermore, Kurt Ballou at God City Studios has a hand in this by providing the mixing, so, of course, the live intensity that can be felt at a small basement show comes through, and you lose none of Iron Reagan’s intensity and feel. With more than a handful of tracks clocking in at under/around one minute, Iron Reagan’s sixth studio album is a punishing statement of the shape of music to come.