By the time of 2017’s Crossover Ministry Iron Reagan lost a lot of lustre for me. By then I had devoured crossover thrash from my youth and the intervening years that the music hit all the beats but missed all the crucial elements that made the band such a vital voice, leaving the band to feel more and more like Municipal Waste without the sense of fun and gleeful anarchy.
And man, I really hate to be this guy but the early stuff? Hot damn thats the stuff. In about three weeks we’ll get to the Spoiled Identity EP which is what introduced me to Iron Reagan, but their demo from 2012 is a burning hot angry piece of crossover thrash that feel red hot and alive and completely different from what Municipal Waste and Cannabis Corpse (not to mention Darkest Hour) were doing. Four tracks, six minutes total, but that’s all they needed to drive the sharp point home.
“Paycheck” starts slow and ominous before hitting the pedal to go 1,000 mph. There’s barely a breath, the thrasher elements riding hide with super tight riffing against Ryan Parrish’s drums. Tony Foresta’s vocals are singular but here they ride a rougher edge than they ever did in Municipal Waste. The 51 seconds of “Eat Shit and Live” is a crash course in classic D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies, and all the intricate thrash I grew up loving when I was 14. “Artificial Saints” and “Running Out Out Time” finish up the demo as if there’s no time left. The urgency is palpable in every second, nothing’s wasted and for a supposed “demo” this sounds insane.
Pure eyes, pure hearts…east shit and live, indeed.