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Review: Iron Cross - Church and State
Iron Cross
Church and State

Label: Turmoil Records
Year released: 2007
Originally released in: 1987
Duration: 51:53
Tracks: 13
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: August 29, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Church and State

Rated 4.18/5 (83.64%) (11 Votes)

Another band named Iron Cross, this one hailing from Chicago - not to be confused with a few other bands of the same name, including the excellent Florida-based Iron Cross that has been featured here before.  This band plays some slow to mid-paced raw Thrash, with a couple of tracks flirting with faster speeds.  The vocals are like a cross of King Diamond (his "normal" voice, not his trademark higher pitched vocals) and some the vocals commonly used in Black/Thrash - essentially the melody of KD along with the raw, harsh style used in blackened Thrash.  The result is excellent - vocals with raw power that pierce through the speakers, but at the same time have a strange, both calming and depressing effect to them.  A little hard to describe, but let's just say that this band could hardly have found a better vocalist to match the music.

While many Thrash bands have accustomed us to an overall speedfest with their albums, Iron Cross are practically at the other end of the scale, playing mostly slow to mid-paced material that feels heavy, one could say a little doomy, with a sense of an apocalyptic/horror-like atmosphere that's omnipresent throughout the album.  Some passages even exhibit some similarities with Florida's Iron Cross, which mostly revolves around horror-themed material, with the atmosphere to go with it.  Some of the slowest parts are among the best moments on the album, when the music is just pounding away slowly with the vocalist using an equally slow, suspense/despair-filled voice to go along.  Great stuff right there.  Of course, Thrash is Thrash and these guys can speed it up quite a bit, with a few numbers that fulfill the requirements of wickedly fast solos, and above all being massively headbanging-inducing, with a few vocal parts that are prone to invite some sing-along in a live setting.

I've never heard the original release, but this remastered 20th Anniversary Edition has great sound that does this band justice, allowing the listener to enjoy every bit of the excellent musical and vocal work.  Iron Cross is yet another proof that some of the best Thrash was/is lurking in the underground, well below the radar of the "mainstream" press. This is not like the polished, somewhat commercial Thrash that became - and is still - popular years ago, so those who can't handle raw, dark-sounding Thrash may not like this (their loss.)  Church and State is one damn nice slab of old school, dark yet catchy Thrash.  A must own.

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