Iron Reagan
Crossover Ministry

Iron Reagan, the side-project from Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour members return with their third album. I was a huge fan of their prior albums: Worse than Dead and The Tyranny of Will. Caught the band live, opening for the Napalm Death/Voivod/Exhumed tour and they were phenomenal live.Iron Reagan play a brand of crossover thrash, in some ways influenced by Municipal Waste, however Iron Reagan really drives home the punk influences a helluva lot more on Crossover Ministry.

“A Dying World” comes through and I’m thinking, “what the hell happened to the production?” This is a much more stripped-down version and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, much of the instrumentation just does not sound cohesive. The song is pretty good, and Tony has a great voice, as always, but the production on his vocals sound like he was recorded in a tunnel, far away from the band. Hell I’ve recorded my vocals hundreds, even thousands miles away from where bands are, when guesting on albums, and my vocals were mixed in perfectly, sounding cohesive to the band’s recording. Not sure what the heel happened here, with Iron Reagan.“You Never Learn” has a catchy chorus and “Grim Business” certainly has a grinding groove to the beginning, equipped with a classic D.R.I. influenced guitar solo.

“Condition Evolution” is an excellent track is well done and catchy and who can’t not like the song “Fuck the Neighbors” The song is going to go over awesome live, with the intro snippet and the chorus is brilliant, simple and killer, but I’m hoping the drum sound gets better and it never does. The snare does not have the deep resonating hard-hitting sound, like the prior releases and Tony’s vocal production,I’m just not feeling it and it has nothing to do with his performance, which is great, but the production kills this record for me. The bass guitar sounds just alright. Even the guitar, while still having a nice tone, is the best sounding instrument on the album, however, still not up to par with their prior albums. I also notice some wonky mixing issues with Crossover Ministry. Listening to the album on several devices the mix goes up and down in certain places. I’m not speaking about the usual higher mix of a thrown in guitar solo…no no, nothing like that. It’s over the course of the album, the mix level fluctuates which is an issue. While the production is weak, the songs just do not hit, like the prior albums.

No doubt Iron Reagan knows how to write great songs, but there are too many thrown together songs, and parts of the album appear to be phoned in. I admit to zoning out too man sections of this album, and in its 18 songs 29 minutes time frame, I zoned out several times, only to find out the album was nearly done. Yeah, just not feeling Crossover Ministry. Iron Reagan can certainly do a lot better.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 3rd, 2017

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