Cro-Mags are without a doubt a must-listen staple in the hardcore scene, with their now almost legendary debut, ‘The Age Of Quarrel’, having influenced many bands with their relentless power.
To release a new record after twenty years is a brave and cocky step, to say the least. But, surprisingly enough, ‘In The Beginning’ holds up.
After the band broke apart, bassist/vocalist Harley Flanagan managed to get a hold of the name and kept touring the world with newly added members as Cro-Mags. On this new LP, it’s incredibly clear that most of the past back catalogue lasted on Flanagan‘s shoulders, and he’s brought the same amount of fire with him.
Despite all the power packed into each song, the album does play too long, and, due to its repetitiveness, threatens to dip into boredom a few times. Riffs remain too much the same between songs, and, vocally, while being full of anger, it all remains rather monotone.
But, with stand out tracks such as ‘No One’s Victim’, which starts off with a slow, doom-impending, groove that masquerades as a power-down before knocking you straight back off that chair you just sat down on, the record saves itself again and redeems its strength.
Almost the same trick is used again on ‘The Final Test’, though it doesn’t quite kick back in the same way but rather gets more melodic, and even Flanagan‘s vocals change up the game a bit, which is a more than welcome shake-up. However, the biggest surprise on here might be the almost six-minute long instrumental track ‘Between Wars’, which can seem out of place for the NYHC band, but actually works incredibly well as a connecting point.
Coming back after two decades with a record like ‘In The Beginning’ is an amazing achievement, and, while not quite touching close to their previous work, it holds its own quite well.
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