During the 80’s decade, some reckless bands put on the map a new and aggressive sound. Mixing metal influences into punk rock, « Crossover » was born! A fascinating era explored by Alexandros Anesiadis into his book : Crossover the edge (2020, Cherry Red Books).
Here’s our opinion about the book completed with an interview with the Greek author! | Written and translated by Nino Futur
There was a time when borders between the metalheads country and punks district were solid and dissiociative. Far away were the times when « extreme music » or « fusion » was pleintful source into musical press. A division between two worlds functionning quite the same way but distanced by differed ideologies and attention given on the musical performance. During years a turf-war was spreading between two subcultures inspired by each other on-the-sly. You can easily read some articles where bands as Black Flag or SSD admit being influenced by bands as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Judas Priest, and on the other side you can read that James Hetfield from Metallica was highly inspired by bands such as Discharge and G.B.H to bulk up his guitar riffage. That’s into this climate that implusive bands started to rock the house, showing themselves inventive, rigourous and immediate all at once. Involuntarily misunderstood, these bands created one of the most powerful music genre of all time : Crossover. Mixing the energy and rawness of punk with the precision and technicality of metal a new breed of bands start to generate and gather people around a scene in which it was already complicated to make co-exist punks and skins or heavy fans with thrashers.
This pivotal period is the main theme of Crossover the edge, indexing all along the 80’s decade actors who contributed to the erasure of the boundaries, and been involved into a fierce competition : which band will be the fastest and the most effective ?
With the writing style of an investigator and an autistic passionate and archeologist work, Alexandros Anesiadis from Thessaloniki calling himself a « maniac record collector » gives the floor to forgotten actors. You’ll see headlines of the genre as: Cro-Mags ; Corrosion of Conformity ; Suicidal Tendencies ; D.R.I., cult second zone bands like Excel, Dr Know, Raw Power from Italy, or even obscure bands who only released one crusty demo, or been involved into a laboratory chlamydia injection to fund a decent backline (yep, this happened…).
Every band of the era’s reviewed, and in fact affects the reading experience.
Well documented (perhaps too much), the book can quicly discourage the less-interested people into the music genre, because of its numerous asides about unknown and questionnable releases (sometimes you’ll ask yourself if only the author and the band who recorded it know the existence of the release).
Or remarks from interviewed persons that seems repetitive from one to other (yup I guess I understood that Skinheads were generally violent dorks into the scene, or that Discharge and Morthead were killing it back in the days…).
The fact that the author gives his point of view on the musical quality or even on the dodgy political thoughts of some bands, creates a more personalized and absorbing reading experience, and show on the other hand a scene were the apolitical tendencies of the metal scene doesn’t fit that much.
More than just a book, Crossover’s an encyclopedy detailed about a specific scene and era (some asides are made for some more death metal sounding bands) who will seduce everyone who wants to be answerable into gala dinners between two warm Bud lights and a debate about the snare sound mixing on « South of Heaven ».
« Metal Punx Never Die ! »
Impressed and curious about the schorlarly work gave by Alexandros to elaborate « Crossover », here’s a short interview with the author about his sacred fire and his new projects. No need to tell you that on the the Alexandro’s side of the force there is no time to be wasted !
The work behind “Crossover the edge” is quite gigantic, encyclopedic aswell, when did you started seriously working on the project? What motivated you to dig this far the genre?
Alexandros : Thank you so much for your kind words. Well, I started working on it on late 2017 and in June 2018 it was ready. Took me quite a while since I was working on it full-time, 7/7. What motivated me was a blend of sheer fandom for many crossover bands, as well as a scientific investigation. There was no book on many of those bands, so I said “Well, since no one did it, I will!”
There’s one thing that I noticed and that’s great is that you discuss mysoginistic and patriotic positions of some bands, don’t you think that into a punk scene more than ever, it’s a necessity to remind these kinds of problems?
True, politics is more relevant than ever. Punk was and remains political, and I am more than happy to see more and more metal bands nowadays being political, and taking real stances against patriotism, fascism, nazism and misogyny.
Did you had some good feedbacks on the book from band members or actors of the scene?
I don’t really don’t want to brag about it…got a lot of great feedbacks, especially Kurt from D.R.I., Tim from M.O.D., Parris from Cro-Mags, Scott from Cryptic Slaughter and Greg from Excel, alongside great ones from UK like Ian Glasper (Decadence Within), Discharge brothers…everybody, and I was so happy about it. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes, because I went to receive hundreds of messages when “Crossover The Edge” was released.
Don’t you think that actually, crossover went way far than just a mix between old school metal and punk? What do you think about the new trap scene mixing Death metal or hardcore punk influences with modern trap sound and hip-hop attitude?
Of course it did. Well, actually in punk, crossover was always happening with different genres, so you had crossover with soul (Big Boys, The Saints), crossover with progressive rock (Th’Inbred, Victims Family), with surf (Agent Orange) etc etc…As for the new trap scene that mixes gangsta rap with death metal or hardcore punk I’m ok with the musical mix, it’s just that I’m totally opposed to the ‘gansta mentality’.
Your Top 3 crossover albums?
Damn, you are killing me… (laughs).
Ok, today 09/04/2021 the best crossover records ever would be :
Excel- Split Image
Beyond Possession- Is Beyond Possession
D.R.I.- Crossover. See ya twomorrow for a different list! (laughs)
Which crossover bands are you into actually?
Well in fact I love the crossover between hardcore punk and metal, but I also love (a little bit more…) the crossover of hardcore punk with alternative rock. It’s funny, cause this week I’m finishing my next book, « We Can Be The New Wind » that is based on the crossover of hardcore punk, neo-garage and power pop in the 1980’s worldwide (check it on Earth Island Publications here). It’s already huge, containing more than 1.200 bands all reviewed, 290.000 words and special features/interviews on 160+ bands. So yes, this kind of crossover, from Les Thugs to Husker Du and from Parkinson Square to The Feelies is maybe my favorite and what got me in recently!