CD review CRO-MAGS ‘In the Beginning’

Cro-Mags belong without doubt to the pioneers of hardcore. The history of the genre and the history of the band are deeply connected and when an album called ‘Age of Quarrel’ was unleashed in 1986, the power of an explosive crossover of punk, metal and crossover became evident. The record is a great piece of work and is, even 34 years later, a timeless milestone in music history.

However, the road of Cro-Mags and Harley Flanagan walked on was not always a one-way street to success. A band split, line-up changes and disputes over naming rights and brand name, all this is also part of the band’s history.

Now that everything has been sorted out and Flanagan is back at the helm of the hardcore legend, it didn’t take long for the fans to get to hear first new songs through the ‘Don’t Give In’ EP. A few months after such a first appetizer, the iconic musician from the Lower East Side of New York is launching a new longplayer under the banner of Cro-Mags.

‘In the Beginning’, so the title of the album, contains 13 new songs, whereby the three tracks of the EP also can be found on the album. Again it’s very personal lyrics, which are more than just empty phrases. Reality-based themes, personal experiences and struggles, that’s what the record is about, themes that fit the music extremely well and form a real unity with the aggressive sound.

Also musically the album seems to be a fresh-cell treatment. Flanagan takes the spirit of the 80s and transfers it into the here and now. As a result, the new album sounds even more raging and furious than one could have been expected. Songs like ‘Don’t Give In’ or ‘Don’t Talk About It’ are hardcore anthems per excellence that allow the energy to unleash in its’ fullest extent. Flanagan gives full speed, from start to finish without forgetting groovy moments like ‘No One’s Victim’. Furthermore there’s ‘Two Hours’ which is one of the real highlights for me.

Unusual on the new longplayer is the almost six minutes long instrumental ‘Between Wars’, that stands out from the rest of the album not only musically. In moderate pace the song creates a dark aura and menacing atmospheres. This unexpected twist is well-done and prepares the listener for the last two songs, ‘No Turning Back’ and ‘There Was a Time’.

‘In the Beginning’ is another milestone of Cro-Mags, an album that fulfills all expectations. Powerful, dynamic and furious, that’s Flanagan and Cro-Mags in 2020, the right ingredients for a bonechrushung hardcore album.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


  1. Don’t Give In
  2. Drag You Under
  3. No One’s Victim
  4. From the Grave
  5. No One’s Coming
  6. PTSD
  7. The Final Test
  8. One Bad Decision
  9. Two Hours
  10. Don’t Talk About It
  11. Between Wars
  12. No Turning Back
  13. There Was A Time

Label: Arising Empire

Genre: Hardcore

Release Date EU: June 19th, 2020



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