For Collectors Only
B. Fanciulli | United States | 04/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Cro-Mags were at the forefront of the New York crossover hardcore scene in the mid-1980's, second only to Agnostic Front. Their extremely powerful, angry sound inspired the current generation of Headbanger's Ball-type music, from hardcore standards like Hatebreed, to pop-thrashers Pantera, to death metal.
This is the original recording of what became the Cro-Mags' quintessential debut album, "Age of Quarrel." Those new to the band should start with Age. Though remixed, the production of "Before the Quarrel" is rough as compared with the follow-up--especially the vocals. Age... does much more justice to John Joseph's loathsome and dynamic voice. Before... is closer to what the band sounded like live. There are two bonus tracks not found on Age... "Everybodys Gonna Die" is a faster track similar to "Survival of the Streets," and "Dub" is an unneeded instrumental that sounds like a studio warm-up (there's no collaboration here--just drums and bass doing their own thing).
One thing is really irritating about this release. I mean no disrespect to the man, but this seems like another Harley Flannigan ego trip--from the packaging to the remix, it has Harley all over it. The album art is a collage of early band photos--almost all of Harley. The band roster lists Harley as Bass and Vocals before John "Bloodclot" Joseph. Interesting considering the only vocals Harley may be responsible for are the chorus chants which are clearly not him alone. The bass track is the most prominent in the remix--he is a good bassist, but it seems unnecessarily loud on several tracks. This reminds me of Danzig's bastardization of Misfits classics when he remixed several 80's standards deleting Jerry Only's original bass tracks and laying down his own 90's rerecordings for the "Collection" album."
The ONLY essential Cro-Mags recordings for harcore punk fans
T. Kasuboski | Winneconne, Wisconsin United States | 04/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The CRO-MAGS are the ULTIMATE case of a band who totally blew their load and peaked on their first trip into the studio. The CRO-MAGS entered the studio in late-'84 and early '85 to lay down demo versions of the songs which would later comprise their debut LP the "Age of Quarrel" released in 1986. Only one problem. These "demo" versions absolutely make the later LP versions of the songs sound like weak imitations. "Before the Quarrel" captures a band totally rip-roaring and ready to record, and hence these 13 tunes explode with the anger, speed, and power which typified the American hardcore scene from '78-'85 or so. So if you're a hardcore punk fanatic and are interested in checking out the CRO-MAGS this CD IS ALL YOU NEED!!! Truly one of the best demos in hardcore history. If you're a total NYC hardcore freak then you're probably going to despise the sentiments I've just expressed and want to move on and pick up all the later CRO-MAGS material. But for those of us into American harcore punk like Negative Approach, early-Black Flag, DRI, MDC, Crucifix, YDI, The Fix, SS Decontrol, F.U.'s, Poison Idea, Minor Threat, Void, Siege, etc., etc., then "Before the Quarrel" is really the only CRO-MAGS recording which absolutely MUST be a part of your collection. Let me put it to you this way. I'm no fan of the CRO-MAGS (or much of the later NYC scene stuff), but the demo session captured on "Before the Quarrel" is devastatingly powerful late-era American hardcore and aside from Agnostic Front's EARLY output, probably NYC's finest contribution to the American hardcore legacy..."