The Cro-Mags album we always dreamed about, our « Better Wishes » our little class darling who well-learned his lesson in violence. « Unscrew my Head » doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but comforts us that some good old habits habits can be satisfying, as long as you keep head on your shoulders and do not fall over into pure ersatz. | By Nino Futur
1989 : the threatening and now cult New-Yorkers combo Cro-Mags put out their second and crucial album « Best Wishes ». Known as one of the biggest influence on the New York sound for the years to follow. This album was the result of multiples line-up upheavals marked by the transition into lead singing and songwriting of their bass player Harley Flanagan, an highly strung person as charismatic than baleful. Though the riffing, the song structures, the visual aesthetic and the obvious influence of heavy and thrash metal overall, « Best Wishes » stays a pure crossover demonstration and a good open door into 90’s hardcore. Ekulu are an actual band that also comes from NYC according to what they want us to think, and such as the californians thrashers of Dead Heat (reviewed here) do not deny their most obvious local legacy.
After two more than convincing EP’s, close from the crossover sound of Leeway (another cult band from the big apple, who introduced hood attitude into thrash metal, if you want to dig here) the quintet decided to now walk over the beaten up tracks of Cro Mags. Let’s not beat about the bush « Unscrew My Head » is an excellent album, but « Unscrew my Head » do not renew anything. From riffs, to the questionnable artwork to an old-sounding production indeniably great.
We are probably dealing with one of the best young-oldies hardcore bands who assume it completely.
Exeption made with the instrumental « Becoming/New Life » very Tool-alike which denotes with the rest, and then, the songs follows and leave no room for doubt… From the frantic « Proven Wrong », to the thicker « Half Alive » all the Cro-Mags range is deployed for or small pleasure, riffs and solos that brings what it takes of originality to not fall into complete mimesmy, to a vocal prestation raw enough to convice us, « Unscrew my Head » exudes the same classy and dangerous aura of yesteryear. Add to that partial Power Trip and Crumbsuckers influences for a complete flavors explosion in the bottom of the puck.
So check out tracks like “Unscrew my Head” or “Crossed” and you’ll see that Ekulu has everything to make walk together pure old-schoolers with TN wearers scholar hardcore kids
Let’s believe that this new school of bands sounding falsely retro as Ekulu, Big Cheese, ou Crush the Demoniac remains more interesting and exciting as the latest Mags efforts, and makes us feel like hardcore boomers before our time… sorry not sorry…