By Heath Fenton
VANCOUVER – Only someone like legendary former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo can get a stellar, kick ass band to fall from the sky right in his lap. Last year Lombardo had some shows booked with another project of his, when that project would fall to the way side, a random meeting with producer Ross Robinson would hook him up with some new cats to play with, including bass player Justin Pearson whose played in bands such as The Locust, Head Wound City and Retox. Fellow Retox bandmate, guitarist Mike Crain would join the fold as well as The Locust vocalist Gabe Serbian. Right there they decided to form a band and complete the commitments that Lombardo had booked.
“We had a band name, we had a logo and we had posters overnight,” Lombardo reveals. “I was really excited because I saw the creation of a band from out of nothing. These guys are very much in tune with the DIY underground mentality, so everything came together quick. We started writing music and I was really pleased with how heavy it was.”
They eventually got down to recording an album with Robinson at the console. Shortly afterwards Serbian would opt out of the band. Rather than just release the record as is, Lombardo had other ideas. What started out as a friendly text with his old friend Mike Patton, the diverse frontman known for performing with such groups as Fantomas, Tomahawk, Dillinger Escape Plan, Peeping Tom, Mr. Bungle and most famously, Faith No More, soon turned into a recruitment pitch for a new vocalist. So what was coined early on as “Dave Lombardo’s new band” turned instantly into a “supergroup” with Patton now at the helm.
Patton would take the recordings and make them his own, like only he can, writing all new parts as well as lyrics and what turned out is a marvelous thing. Make no mistake, this is not a metal album. It is also not some weirdo spastically warped noise project. This recording is pure punk rock fury drenched in hardcore. Hardcore punk music is not really something that Patton had dabbled in before.
Lombardo, who had previously worked with Patton and Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne in the 90s supergroup Fantomas, knew the eccentric vocalist would be a perfect fit.
“Patton can pull anything off. We all know his capability. Within the catalogue of Fantomas’ music we had snippets of hardcore, even though they were only like two bars,” Lombardo chuckles. “I was always really excited when those parts came up. There was no doubt in my mind that Patton was fully capable of doing something like this. We gave him free reign. As we were receiving the songs, we were noticing the development and the excitement behind how he was approaching the songs. It was beautiful. It is without a doubt, Mike Patton at his best.”
When it comes to the music, Patton does hardcore like a demonized eagle in full shrill hunt mode. You can hear Lombardo’s characteristic tasty fills, his style is there but a lot more unhinged, surrounded by swirling rigorous riffs. Dead Cross is something different than all the sum of its band member’s parts. It is full of rage and that was Lombardo’s intent.
“I was at a time in my life where I was tired of playing music softer than what I am known for. Due to the current state of the world and everything that is going down, including the Paris attacks at the Bataclan venue, that just pissed me right off,” Lombardo explains. “That stage is a stage I have shared. For something like that to happen, it hits very close to home. I was angry and wanted to play aggressive music again. To play punk, to play harder and heavier. Playing with these guys, that goal was attainable. I wanted to make sure this album was brutal from beginning to end. It makes you drive fast, it makes you want to wring someone’s neck.”
From the get go, this album cooks like meth that makes you eat the flesh of a bath salt user. It’s relentless and by press time you will be able to hear the results as the self titled record is out on Aug 4. This is not some chump change supergroup that doesn’t live up to expectations. Dead Cross rewrites the term and they do it in an amazing fashion all their own.
Dead Cross plays Vancouver at the Vogue Theatre on August 25dave lombardo, Faith No More, hardcore, Metal, mike patton, punk, Slayer, thrash, Vancouver, Vogue Theatre