Having a bad day? Maybe the boss is giving you the shits and the rest of humanity is conspiring to just not play nice? 30 minutes is all you need to cast away these unpleasantries and Iron Reagan may just be the cure. “Crossover Ministry” is 18 cuts of the best remedy one could ask for.
The immediate statements are very much in keeping with the sound of present day Discharge. Tony Foresta’s snarl on “A Dying World” conjures images of a caged animal, pacing aggressively while waiting for a fresh victim for his biting vitriol. There’s no messing about with few tracks threatening to break the two minute mark. Indeed, there are enough short stabs to do Napalm Death proud. My reaction thus far was one of complete satisfaction but there was a thought that the band would stay on a single, narrow course. Those thoughts were put aside on “Dead With My Friends”. This one is a Misfits charged, psycho horror feast with beefy, Anthrax sized riffs and a chanted gang chorus made for live consumption. A pure killer track, it is also the album’s longest at just over three minutes.
The song titles are a direct reflection of the lyrics with no punches pulled. Charming, tongue in cheek ditties like “Fuck The Neighbors” are a stiff, middle finger to leafy, suburban social harmony. All the way through, they walk the line between hard core punk and the very early days of thrash. Phil Hall and Mark Bronzino on guitars provide chugging, punchy riffs one second and buzzing, chainsaw fury the next. Intensity is the key and high levels are maintained all the way through leaving no room to breathe.
The thrash influences continue to come thick and fast. The caustic bite of early Exodus is written all over the brutality of “More War” with its’ mosh pit starter energy. The album retains a total “lets have some fun and be naughty” attitude, but there’s also a sort of catharsis for us regular folks aching to tell those above to just fuck off. The latter tracks like “Megachurch” are pure riff machines leaning on angry, dangerous and edgy Scott Ian sounding hooks. Held together by machine gun drum blasts from Ryan Parrish and filthy bottom end courtesy of Rob Skotis, it’s a neck melting maelstrom that’s designed for cutting loose. Probably the greatest asset here is that total sense of anarchy that doesn’t take itself too seriously whilst retaining an edge that makes you think “hey yeah, they’re right…fuck that”
No muss, no fuss…that bad day is history. Those emotions are vented with a 30 minute therapy session. Head banging fury and mosh pit starting anthems are in abundance here. Job done.
(9/10 Johnny Zed)