Review Summary: "You try to take me down while I start my Comeback?"
Three albums in and Iron Reagan are still viewed as a mere Municipal Waste spin-off rather than what they should
be viewed as-a refreshing, no-frills albeit still fun take on crossover thrash and hardcore punk. Notwithstanding the band's frequent attempts to demoralise Trump (even more) via multimedia and merchandise, Tony Foresta and co. have created quite the cult following ever since the band's formation in 2012. What should have been clear to the Iron Reagan's naysayers and "haters" from the get-go of their career is that this is a band that, despite having many songs devoted to serious topics, have always simply wanted to have a fun time in the studio. Latest album Crossover Ministry
proves this very well.
All the boxes are ticked. There's the short length, the grouped vocals, the frequent animated rants against the world's most frustrating occurrences, the wild and sometimes nonsensical lyrical content (check "Mom's On The Internet!" from the 5-second long "Parents of Tomorrow") and plenty of fun riffs for headbanging purposes. Musically, the album is pretty much on point. Yes, hardcore punk and crossover thrash have always been sub-genres known to offer simpler styles of metal, but everything Iron Reagan do here is well-executed and delivered. None of this is half-hearted stuff, yet at the same time, it's clear the band aren't taking themselves seriously. Songs such as "A Dying World", "You Never Learn" and "F*** the Neighbours" all rattle along with vitriolic energy and youthful spit, but within most of these songs is a fun time to be had. A beer to be cracked open, a pizza to be wolfed down in a few minutes, and Crossover Ministry
is simply the soundtrack to those ideas. There are times where Iron Reagan seems to step out of the funfair and into more serious tones. For example, "Dead with My Friends" is arguably the only track on the album which could safely be put onto a metal radio station, or even released as a single, because of its strange albeit well-orchestrated progression. It even has a piano-led intro, which turns into a very menacing riff-led section before the pace quickens and Foresta garbles wide-eyed hate, tension growing more and more as the minutes unfold.
Sure, there are tracks here that don't really seem well-placed ("No Sell" and "More War" are a couple of fillers worth mentioning for this point) in an album which otherwise speeds along in a blip of time, but by the end you'll have forgotten half of the songs and will likely be interested in trying again. Iron Reagan may only be viewed as a mere side project as opposed to a successful crossover thrash group in their own right, but they're doing everything right here. They're not breaking boundaries or raising the bar, but they're demonstrating how to have a fun time making music that they love. Just don't try to take them down when they're making a comeback.