Cross Examination - The Hung Jury (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Cross Examination

The Hung Jury (2006)

Organized Crime

It's really a shame that thrash has been relegated to some cheap buzzword for horrible metal and hardcore bands to use in their press sheets and liner notes. Real thrash music is not a soulless derivation of metalcore, it's something that existed long, long before that, and it's something not many bands around today are keeping true to.

Cross Examination, well they're a different breed. A hardcore band with heavy thrash tendencies, this raging outfit calls to mind vintage DRI and Cryptic Slaughter; in short, they will tear your head right off your shoulders.

The first noticeable element of the sonic rage this band produces is the vocals. A manic, shrieking delivery commands the helm of this most unstable ship, careening in and out above buzzing guitars and powerful drum fills. Don't mistake the instability for being a negative quality, though, because that actually couldn't have been further from the truth. That's the very thing that makes this band so damn interesting, and so damn worthwhile, that completely off-the-rocker type feeling given off, a feeling that ensures you have no idea whatsoever where the music is going next.

But you can be assured it's going somewhere, and it's going there loudly.

The guitar work is absolutely raging song in and song out. Loud, gritty, and totally and completely volatile, it takes the original punk rock ethos and cranks them to eleven. "Bring Me the Head of Beetle Bob" carries that more traditional punk feel, with driving rhythms cascading beneath each vicious riff. The drums keep great time in not only that setting, but also songs like "I Shot the Devil" that feature some wicked solos to really light the proverbial fire under the rest of the band, just adding to the loud and frenzied storm of dissonance that was already firmly in place. Rounding out their sound are some old-school gang vocals, such as those found in "Party Squad Unite" just adding to the `80s hardcore authenticity Cross Examination excel at.

The Hung Jury excels in quite a few areas. It's loud, it's brash, and unrelentingly in your face for the 22-minute duration, doing the thrash name proud for every single one of them.