Much like Power Trip and Foreseen, Iron Reagan is a contemporary band that delivers lean and mean crossover of the late '80s variety. This hybrid of thrash and hardcore punk lives and dies by the hookiness of its guitar riffs, so that's what I went looking for when I entered the Crossover Ministry.
Iron Reagan features musicians who have also played in such heavy-hitting bands as Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour, and Mammoth Grinder, and Crossover Ministry is the group's third studio album in four years. Recorded by Landphil Hall (also one-half of Iron Reagan's guitar team) and mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge), the new album perfectly showcases the aforementioned guitar riffs, setting a powerful balance between them and Tony Foresta's authoritative vocal storm.
Now to the hook factor of the songs that comprise the new record. Opener "Dying World" gets the vibe set with a relentless rhythmic attack that leads directly into a catchy chorus part that is adorned with gang vocals. "Bleed the Fifth" kicks off with a simple yet effective guitar riff that pounds into your brain by the time the second verse begins.
The best track on Crossover Ministry comes in the form of "Megachurch," a dizzying cut that finds Negative Self's Andreas Sandberg handling verse duties, a man who knows a thing or two about this whole crossover thing. The song is so good, I wouldn't oppose a full-on Sandberg/Foresta project sometime in the future.
If you're already a fan of what Iron Reagan does, Crossover Ministry will please you to no end, and if you're new to the band, the album will make you a believer.