Christopher Owens with his take on a book about the underground music scene.
Maligned for years, it's heart-warming to finally see crossover get the respect it deserves.
Often described as the moment hardcore punk met thrash metal, there is so much more to crossover than that simple description implies. Aside from the positive aspects of unity, the musical possibilities and the political awakening that many had, the music produced remains some of the greatest ever recorded.
Animosity by Corrosion of Conformity, Dealing With It by D.R.I, Circus of Chaos by Clown Alley and The Return of Martha Splatterhead by The Accused. Different records in how they approached their music, but all of them bear the open minded approach that signified crossover as a pivotal moment in the history of the underground.
One that needed proper documentation. Thankfully, Alex Anesiadis has stepped up and delivered this fascinating book.
More of an encyclopaedia rather than a narrative tale, Anesiadis includes nearly five hundred bands from around the world and gives them the respect they deserve for their contributions (even if Anesiadis finds their politics abhorrent).
Such an example would be the chapter on Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D). With songs like 'Fuck the Middle East', 'Speak English or Die' and 'Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues', they were clearly not peace punks, and the author takes them to task for co-opting a positive scene for (in his view) their hate filled diatribes.
Do I agree with Anesiadis on this? Yes and no. In the 1980's, metal was often perceived as being reactionary and right wing so it's no surprise that S.O.D were what they were. On the other hand, I confess I do get a giggle out of songs like 'Kill Yourself' and their gigs were often insanity.
Still, it's always good to read a differing take on these matters.
Lovingly compiled with gig flyers, lists and outspoken opinions, Crossover: The Edge is a beautiful testimony to the depth and width of the underground. Long may it continue, and long may people keep discovering the life changing power of D.R.I, Corrosion of Conformity, Discharge, Cro-Mags and The Accused.
Although no room for Belfast's Pink Turds in Space?
Alexandros Anesiadis, 2019. Crossover: The Edge. Where Hardcore, Punk and Metal Collide. Cherry Red Books. ISBN-13: 978-1909454750
⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland.