Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Iron Reagan

Crossover Ministry (2017)

Relapse Records

I love this record. I’m not even going to pretend that I can give it an unbiased review. This checks all the right boxes for me. Musically, it’s got the perfect balance of punk and metal. Lyrically, it’s got the perfect balance of anger and sarcasm. It’s as if it were made just for me. As much as I raved about The Tyranny of Will (2014), I think this is even better. By now, most of you probably know about Iron Reagan. For those don’t, they sound like DRI meets Municipal Waste. They’re a heavy supergroup of sorts, containing members of Municipal Waste (vocalist Tony Foresta and lead guitarist Land Phil), ANS (rhythm guitarist Mark Bronzino), Darkest Hour (drummer Ryan Parrish) and Hellbear (bassist Rob Skotis).

Crossover Ministry is Iron Reagan’s third full length and its title is even a nod to DRI’s third LP, Crossover (1987). These guys do 80’s thrash and hardcore right. It’s smart and fast and catchy as hell. It’s heavy enough for headbangers and subversive enough for punks. They’re definitely filling a void in my record collection, as DRI has put out a total of three new songs in the last 20 years, and it’s been almost five years since the last Municipal Waste album. If Tyranny mostly went after crooked politics, Crossover Ministry sets its sights on corrupt religion. “A Dying World”, the title track, “Megachurch” and “Dogsnotgods” are the best examples.

So many of the 18 songs on this album are great that I won’t even attempt to list them all. However, there are two in particular that really stand out. “Dead With My Friends” starts out with some eerie funeral organ before the catchy chorus kicks in. “Sick of this place I want to be dead with my friends/Sick of this world I want to be dead with my friends/Sick of being stuck in this monotonous pace/Sick of all the words coming out of your face/Sick of my life I want to be dead with my friends.” “Fuck the Neighbors” makes me laugh while I sing along banging my head. “Fuck the neighbors/Fuck your lawn/The more you complain/The more we’ll go hard.”

“Grim Business”, “More War”, “Parents of Tomorrow”, “Bleed the Fifth” and “Eat or be Eaten” are also among my favorites. Crossover Ministry is well paced, which is kind of a lost art in the digital age. The two minute songs and the 30 second songs are arranged to allow for a good flow. The whole record is only a half hour long, and can easily be taken as a whole. (Don’t just mine the ‘hits’ kids!) The artwork is also very nice. This is pretty common for thrash bands, but too many punk bands have gotten lazy in this department. (Don’t skimp on the artwork kids!) If you’re mostly into pop-punk, you probably won’t like this. Everyone who likes it rougher needs to check out Iron Reagan and Crossover Ministry.