Having grown up with the music of bands like Spazz and Black Army Jacket, the supergroup Deny the Cross excites me. Bringing together veteran musicians from different bands in the powerviolence / grind sector, this band emulates the classic powerviolence / hardcore sound of the 90’s in a way that is still engaging and fun. Their album ‘Alpha Ghoul’ is an eighteen track maelstrom that slams like it’s still the 1990’s, but it’s also more than mere imitation. Deny the Cross have a way of writing music that is savage, brutal and insanely memorable, which does not really come as a surprise considering the talent present in the line-up.
Right from the get go, the addictive nature of the riffs are made evident with the sludgy opening of Heart like Siberia. The band veers wildly into grind and hardcore territories with sudden bursts of violent energy. The manic riffage takes no prisoners and grinds on mercilessly, only to transition into groove heavy mid tempo sections. The sudden tempo shifts brings to mind the work of bands like the aforementioned Spazz, Crossed Out and No Comment among others. The punk oriented riff work has a strong staying power, and even some of the shorter tracks like Godfather and Idol Cleanse remain memorable. This is saying a lot considering the shorter tracks usually just slip through the cracks.
The production on this album is updated to suit the modern age and I’m glad Deny the Cross chose to do so. The mixing allows for all elements to shine through and the bass in particular stands out. In place of the bass lines that traditionally back the guitars, the bass work is here innovative and adds another dimension to the music. The song writing is incredibly good, with the sharp changes offering a very immersive experience. The shouted vocals have a strong punk leaning, while occasionally slipping in a few growls as well. The music here makes it hard to sit quietly while listening to it. The urge to break some bones and wreak havoc is simply too strong.
The album as a whole proves to be a very entertaining affair and it incorporates everything one loves about powerviolence in general. Deny the Cross aren’t really looking to change the face of the genre. Rather, with ‘Alpha Ghoul’ they serve the listeners a strong reminder of how incredibly fun powerviolence can be.