Iron Reagan are a 5 piece crossover thrash band from the United States comprised of members from crossover legends Municipal Waste, as well as members from Cannabis Corpse, Hellbear and Darkest Hour. The band name is a combination of Iron Maiden and 40th president of the USA Ronald Reagan, and whereas I can’t claim to be a huge fan of neither Maiden nor Reagan, combining the two created something truly special. For those that have never listened to any Crossover Thrash bands like Municipal Waste or Suicidal Tendencies, the genre attempts to combine Hardcore Punk with Thrash Metal, two already closely related genres of music, to create a fast, fun-loving and often politically charged branch of Metal. This album represents it magnificently. Crossover Ministry deals with partying, drinking and general adolescence while also dealing with more hard hitting subjects such as the immorality of big business, war and religious hypocrisy and handles both expertly. This affair is both well produced and yet retains a raw punk-rock element to it to prevent it from feeling sanitised and boring.
The individual songs are all on the short side, most averaging at 2 minutes or so in length. Some of the tracks are hilariously short, No Sell clocks in at an astounding 13 seconds, whereas Parents of Tomorrow is under half the length at just 6 seconds. One of my favourite tracks, Fuck the Neighbours is the perfect party song, it’s fun, bouncy, heavy and a perfect example of the adolescent sense of humour this album has, it’s essentially a song about the stereotypical neighbour that calls the cops on you when you’re partying at 5AM, and probably rightly so. As you can tell by the song title, Iron Reagan don’t seem to get on with said neighbour. This album takes on an anti-religious theme throughout a few of the tracks. The song Crossover Ministry parodies Christianity by seemingly talking about the mosh pit as a place of worship with lines such as “The pits our church, It shall bring you peace, You still may get hurt, Don’t fall to your knees, Stand up”. The song Megachurch takes a weird turn, the vocals in the verses are soft and seem to be mimicking a choir in a weird way which I don’t know if I’m a real fan of, but the lyrical content of the song more than makes up for it. The song protests the greed and hypocrisy of the all-american pastor, running his church for profit and refusing to help those in need. Anti-War sentiments are also rife on this album, the song More War criticises for-profit warmongering in a similar style to the Dead Kennedys song When Ya Get Drafted.
Dead with my Friends is probably my favourite track on this LP, it features some great Piano melodies, showing the band’s capability for experimentation. The track also features some slower, heavier riffs that are undeniably heavy and coupled with nihilistic and adolescent lyrics. If I were to criticise this album in any way it would be that some of the songs don’t innovate as much as others and thus are less memorable than others, but the album flows well and even the less memorable tracks are still fun to listen to. Overall I’d say this is my favourite album of the year so far and I very much look forward to where Iron Reagan take their music next.
Best Tracks: Dead with My Friends, Bleed the Fifth, Fuck the Neighbours, Crossover Ministry, Megachurch
Overall Rating: Excellent