Crossed Out was a California-based band who raged on from 1990 to 1993. Shockingly brief though it may seem, the brightest star shines all the brightest for its brevity, and Crossed Out are definitely a fine example of one of those stars. With merely 3 years of only moderate prolificacy (Barely anymore than 20 original songs), Crossed Out left a deep blueprint in not just their area but in what would later be referred to as 'Powerviolence', an offshoot of hardcore which cranks the unrelenting nature of the genre up to eleven, and typically throws in some slower, vaguely doom-y bits into the mix before returning to the onslaught. First practiced by Infest, once they went away almost as soon as they came it was left to bands like Crossed Out to evolve that formula.
Though Crossed Out's entire material is worth adquiring, their 1991 self titled EP is where they showcased their style the best. No silly extended interludes, no overlong samples, no other genre deviations or anything of the sort is to be found here; This is powerviolence as it was in its infant state at its absolute purest. Wasting no time from the very beginning with a thrashing opener in 'Internal', the band and, in particular, this album's status as a Powerviolence bible of sorts is quickly apparent. From the get go, we are immediately thrown us into the chaos, with incredibly aggressive shouts and extremely fast riffing broken down repeatedly with a weirdly funky bass, this then being taken a step further in the follow up 'He-Man', expanding from a few breaks to a full on breakdown with an infectious Black Sabbath-ish doom-inspired riff. From here on, this marriage of neck-breaking speed and skull cracking grush is maintained pretty steadily; Crossed Out were not a particularly varied band on the whole and this release is no exception to that, almost never (if ever) breaking away from the aforementioned fast-slow-fast formula. But, that's okay, because even with everything sounding/feeling similar, Crossed Out always manage to find that one little riff or transition that keeps the songs fresh, and stops the assault from becoming tedious. Always paced perfectly, much like Crossed Out themselves the album never overstays its welcome, at any point; This may not sound like much given its very short duration, but you would be surprised at just how easily hardcore bands can make just ~8-ish minutes feel like an eternity. Not so here; They always know when to stop, when to throw a bit of a curveball, and always keep the listener in awe at the band's sheer raw power.
As far as the lyrical front goes, it is equally, if not even more ferocious, and mostly detail personal frustration in the most direct way possible. This includes anger towards topics such as forceful macho posturing (He-Man) to refusing to even so much as attempt to go against society's status quo (Locked In). But even amidst all the in-your-face anger, there's even moments of slight poetic vagueness that along with the crushing sounds can send chills down your spine trying to understand the ominous words (Crutch), removing Crossed Out from the pigeonhole of completely brainless, "don't think about it much" hardcore that they could've easily fallen in.
Along with genre fathers Infest and genre establishers Man Is the Bastard, Crossed Out are the most important Powerviolence group there is and one of the most important Hardcore bands today, whether you know it or not. Unsung though they may be to the general punk population, once you've spotted the massive shadow they left towering above hardcore, it cannot be overlooked, and most, if not all powerviolence groups started within the last 20 years or so owes them, one way or another. It goes without saying, then, that I think you should listen to this record - Actually, just go ahead and get the '1990-1993' collection, because everything they did was fantastic. But if your patience is thin and you just want to listen to only one release from these history-makers, let it be this one.