NYC's Cro-Mags are usually credited as one of the first bands to have played hardcore punk with heavy-metal influences, helping to create the fusion variously referred to as "hardcore metal," "metalcore" and "crossover thrash," and which helped lay the groundwork for all sorts of oddly named sub-sub-subgenres of hard rock, from "deathcore" to "power groove." The band's legendary debut LP, 1986's Age of Quarrel, epitomizes punk rock's potential for reinvention within narrow stylistic limitations, by infusing the aggressive but relatively innocent-sounding hardcore of Black Flag and Minor Threat with a weighty and ineffably unsettling darkness. Unfortunately, like many influential bands of that era, the Cro-Mags' career was hamstrung by punk's tendencies toward childish behavior. They were part of a New York scene that contributed to hardcore's reputation for thuggishness and ignorance, and infighting between bass player Harley Flanagan, guitarist Parris Mayhew and vocalist John Joseph has resulted in constant lineup changes almost since the band's inception. Indeed, no Cro-Mag has been a member of every incarnation; the current lineup is billed as Cro-Mags (jam) because Flanagan and Mayhew are not involved.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.