Cross Examination is a modern crossover band formed in 2004 from St. Louis, Missouri. Their lyrics consist of partying, crushing posers, and getting ***faced. They have released an EP, a split with Spring Break and this full length during the duration of their existence thus far.
Menace II Sobriety is party crossover in the vein of the now well known Municipal Waste, the band is often compared to them. The one and only thing that separates them from your average crossover band is the vocalist's trademark wail, very odd and screechy to say the least. His style is a very acquired taste and if one thing is going to turn you away from this band it would be that element.
The guitarwork on the album fast and very unrelenting, there isn't a moment on the album where killer riffs aren't pounding you in the face. When a solo breaks through the thrashtastic riffs they are played very clean and go well with the song. The guitar distortion give the riffs a very sharp but crisp feel.
As mentioned before the song structures can be compared to that of Municipal Waste, if there was an instrumental version of this album you would have a hard time convincing someone that this isn't a Municipal Waste record. That being said there are some ridiculously fun moments on the album. "Arson Party Squad" would be one of those moments, possibly the catchiest song on this insanely catchy record. The gang chants are also plentiful throughout the album, not enough to get annoying though, they definitely help in creating the fun upbeat feel the album has as a whole.
The lyrics on Menace II Sobriety are your typical party music lyrics. Some of the lyrics are fun and refreshing though, take for example "Necroponics" which is as one could assume about weed that grows on dead bodies. On the track "Collateral Jam-Age" the group breaks into an alcohol induced rap session and begins to chant "Cross Examination ain't nothin' to *** with!!" which clearly is a homage to the classic track from the Wu-Tang Clan, moments like these work as good interludes and prevent the album from becoming dull.
It wouldn't hurt the album any if the song lengths were any longer. The longest song on the album is just over 3:30 and oddly enough it's the outro. The short songs don't necessarily take away from the album but it does leave you still wanting more when the album has played through. Menace II Sobriety has great replay value and is just as catchy as your average Municipal Waste song.
Overall this album deserves a solid 3.5 out of 5. It doesn't bring anything particularly new to the table but it succeeds at being what it attempts to be and that is a fun straightforward crossover record. All in all for fans of upbeat crossover this is sure to please, for people who still haven't been convinced that this style has any musical relevance unfortunately Cross Examination does nothing to convince you otherwise. There have been a lot of newer bands trying to recreate the old school thrash bands and many have failed, but through all the *** there are a few gems to be found and Cross Examination is, in fact one of those gems. So join the squad jump in the pit or the arson party squad will burn down your ***!