From the tremors left in the wake of American thrash titans like The Big 4, Overkill, Testament, and Exodus, rose the European contingent like Destruction, Kreator, Evile and Sodom.
Spreading across the European continent like a wave of punk attitude with the complexity of heavy metal, thrash hits you like a brick in the face. If you’re in Ireland, when you get up off the ground, you’ll see Crossfire ready to hit you again with their first full-length album ‘Switch to Reset’…
… and it’ll hit you really f*cking hard.
Straight out of Dublin’s blossoming metal scene, Crossfire is one of those bands that never stopped once they got the ball rolling back in 2012. Their first EP ‘Bound in Skin’ (2018) saw them make their mark on the Irish metal scene, followed by a single release (Who Goes There?) that same year.
There have been 2 single releases this year: ‘Switch to Reset’ and ‘Turned to Stone’, both on this full-length album and laid the groundwork for what is an immense thrash release.
Opening with an intro worthy of Metallica’s “…And Justice For All’, ‘Switch to Reset’ catapults the band onto the stage front and centre. Vocalist, Kevin O’Connor shares guitar duties with Matt O’Brien to create a pounding rhythm along with Dan O’Connor’s drums.
A thick, heavy ooze of bass emanates from Conor Jordan, culminating in a rich and impressive assault when the initial riff kicks in. If anything isn’t nailed down in your vicinity, it’s getting chucked through the window! The chunky double-bass thumping from O’Connor lets rip as soon as the beat drops and supplies the fuel for a worthy headbanging session. From here on in, the pace only stops between the end and beginning of each track over this 8-barrelled thrash-a-thon.
‘Book of the Dead’ easily swings the lead as the heaviest song on the album. It’s not the fastest, but it’s by far the grooviest. Turn this one up loud and ruin the neighbour’s sherry luncheon… go on! ‘Lost All Control’, ‘Who Goes There’, and ‘Coercion’ are a shade lighter in ferocity, but are still immensely heavy in their own right.
‘Turned to Stone’ kicks it up another notch, infusing Kevin’s shred abilities with a raw and sharp aggression that is perfectly in line with Jordan’s bass and O’Connor’s drums. This was released earlier this year as a single to whet the appetite of Crossfire fans and I would have a stab at a suggestion that it fulfilled its purpose. ‘Guns For Hire’ has an awesome tapping solo that puts hairs on the back of your neck. It has airs of Slayer’s ‘Show No Mercy’ about it, and it would be at home in the latter half of the 1980’s heavy metal charts (Top 20 I’d say!).
Closing out the record is ‘Prometheus’, a slow burning instrumental anthem that demonstrates a quiet and classical sound to the guitar section, but then all hell breaks loose as soon as the drums kick in.
Fist in the air and horns to the sky can be felt as soon as this starts, and it would be an unreal opener for a live show. The overall sound is beautifully crisp as each beat can be felt in isolation, showing that the production on this release is absolutely top-notch.
Crossfire will launch ‘Switch to Reset’ on Saturday, December 16th. The launch party will be in Fibber Magee’s on Dublin’s Parnell Street, so if you’re looking for an excuse to throw down and go a bit nuts, roll in at around 7.30pm. Bring a helmet; you’ve been warned.
Track of Choice: Guns for Hire
Words – Shaun Martin