Review Summary: HOOKED!
What is it that separates thrash metal from mere speed metal?
2 words: hardcore punk.
That's the actual element that separates a Slayer from an Agent Steel. Listen to Kill 'em All and you will hear as much Discharge as Diamond Head. Overkill worshipped the Dead Boys as much as they did Black Sabbath. It is in this attitude inherited from punk that thrash metal became its own beast. Basically thrash metallers are metalheads who also jammed Misfits, compared to speed metallers who just wanted to play Priest and Maiden really, really fast. Of course, there is another side to this equation.
Enter a band of imbeciles both dirty and rotten.
D.R.I. before Crossover were a hardcore band, but not just any hardcore band, they were one of the fastest and hardest of hardcore of their time, on par with bands like Siege and Negative Approach in terms of speed. The Dirty Rotten EP/LP/CD/whatever-they-released-it-in-on and Dealing With It! are ripping hardcore releases, and showcase this first era of the band very well. The band would find fans not only in punk but also metal, with everyone from Slayer to Kreator citing them as reason to keep pushing the envelope in speed and heaviness. It is quite obvious that the feeling was mutual, as this album proves. In Crossover, D.R.I. go all out with the thrash, bringing slightly longer songs and Slayer riffs along to combine with their trademark snotty hardcore. D.R.I. were hardly the only band to go thrash metal, as many hardcore punk bands who jammed Celtic Frost one too many times whether in California, New York or wherever were also inevitably evolving from increasingly metallic hardcore into what became known as crossover (coined by, guess who, this very band!), but they were definitely one of the leading lights of the movement. This album wasn't released on Metal Blade for nothing.
Of course, none of this history class would matter if the music didn't rule. And holy *** does it rule.
The Five Year Plan? Tear It Down? ***ing Hooked? If you're looking for straight up, no bull*** jams to thrash really goddamn hard to, this album delivers in spades. There really isn't anything else to say about this other than it rules. Hard. And really that's what matters at the end of the day. From longer, more elaborate riff-fests to compact, wild hardcore jams, this album has all your slamming needs met. The attitude of vocalist Kurt Brecht remains as entertaining as ever, and Spike Cassidy brings the thrash with every riff he plays. Listen to the opening riff to Hooked, if that *** doesn't make you lose your mind and start moshing and thrashing all over your desk you're not thrash enough and deserve to have all your metal confiscated for life and be forced to listen to Periphery forever.