2020 ruined everyone’s plans including Cro-Mags with their first album in 20 years, In The Beginning. Nevertheless, musicians decided not to sit around and recorded another conceptual EP with a simple name 2020, which sums up this frankly shitty year.
Cro-Mags were supposed to start their tour with Body Count in March but within 48 hours of the show, quarantine went into effect and the state’s governor and mayor banned all public gatherings. “We pooled our resources and put together what was one of the first, if not the first, live quarantine shows on March 15th, – states Harley Flanagan, – We started writing songs, and as soon as we were able to get into the studio, we started tracking […] Our show got canceled, so we did one online for the world to see. Our tours got canceled, so we recorded an album.”
Six songs of this EP last exactly 20 minutes and 20 seconds. The band also added some recordings from their hometown New York streets – from healthcare worker support rally where everybody was cheering and making noise to the sounds of chaos on the streets. Harley says that sometimes he just put out his phone from the window and recorded everything that happened.
“Age Of Quarantine” opens the album with slow-paced intro, vivid bass and simple guitar riff but in a minute it all turns to furious Hardcore, becoming faster and much more aggressive. Garry Sullivan’s drums are stunning here – fast and potent, they create a great rhythm section together with Harley’s bass.
“2020” and “Life On Earth” are also furious, fast and aggressive, with indispensable chanting and Harley that just spits out the words. However, “2020” is a little bit diverse: some Groove elements and good solo can be heard here.
“Violence And Destruction” starts suspiciously quiet and calm, with some light drums and bass and suddenly changes Punk riff, fast solo and clean vocals. The song is very energetic, of course, but with this it sounds doomed and depressed. “[this song] addresses what we are seeing all around us now in this country. It forces us to ask a simple question: “If you don’t agree with someone, does that justify violence against them?” – explains Harley. This mood continues in a next one, “Chaos In The Streets”, fierce and fast, with simple chorus and harsh vocals – American Punk in all its best.
The album ends with the most diverse “Cro-Fusion”, which was born from the band’s 20-minutes jamming: bass goes Funk, guitars go Metal and altogether it sounds very solid and melodic at the same time. Drums solo here is also worth to mention.
All in all, I want to believe that Cro-Mags solved their issues and returned to the music for a long time. Anyway, the fact that musicians transformed their aggression, distress, anger and disappointment into a music form illustrates this a lot.
2020 was released on December, 11th via Mission Two Entertainment.
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