ALBUM REVIEW: Cro-Mags’ “Don’t Give In” EP

ARTIST: Cro-Mags + ALBUM: Don’t Give In + LABEL: Victory Records + RELEASE DATE: JUN 28, 2019

Following a 19 year hiatus since their last studio album, the Cro-Mags return with the three song EP, Don’t Give In. If you haven’t been keeping up, you’re probably wondering which version of the “Cro-Mags.” Having reached a settlement with singer John Joseph and drummer Mackie Jayson last April, this is officially Harley Flanagan’s Cro-Mags. Flanagan (vocals/bass) is joined by guitarists Rocky George (ex-Suicidal Tendencies) and Gabby Abularach and drummer Garry “G-Man” Sullivan for this incarnation of the band, who will be opening three shows for the Misfits in September before heading to Europe for a 30th Anniversary tour (dates below).

When any band has been around for three decades, and later splintered apart, the long-time fans – the ones there from day one – will question authenticity when nearly 20 years have passed since their last release. Rest assured, the grit and grime of New York’s lower east side is fully represented on Don’t Give In. The songs are ugly. They’ve got the blood, sweat, and integrity that made the Cro-Mags genre legends all those years ago. Granted, we’ve got three songs for about six minutes of music. But, God willing, this only the beginning of the bands resuscitation.

The EP opens with it’s title track and immediately the listener will feel reassured that this is the goddamn Cro-Mags. A mid-tempo intro get’s things going with some giant riffs and tasteful lead work from Rocky George, but it soon turns into the recognizable template that the band originally crafted, and subsequently perfected. The next two songs clock in at under two-minutes each. So, no need to worry – this is New York Hardcore. “Drag You Under” and “No One’s Victim” are vicious tracks that posses all the angst the band drew from years ago, and obviously still retain today. “No One’s Victim” is also elevated by George’s guitar playing, bringing it out the old-school passion and injecting it with it’s share of true craftsmanship.

If you think you’re hardcore, Don’t Give In will be the litmus test of your credibility. Longtime fans will surely adore these three songs, beginners will be inspired to buy an instrument from their local pawn shop, set up in their garage, and try to emulate the aesthetic – that isn’t contrived, but born from the streets.

– J. Kevin Lynch



CRO-MAGS Best Wishes, 30th Anniversary Tour (Europe)

27.09. Essen, Germany @ Turock
28.09. Limburg, Belgium @ Limburg Hardcore Fest
29.09. London, United Kingdom @ The Underworld
30.09. Paris, France @ Gibus
01.10. Stuttgart, Germany @ De Keller Klub
02.10. Prague, Czech Rep @ Futurum
03.10. Budapest, Hungary @ Hu Dürer Kert
04.10. Graz, Austria @ Explosiv
05.10. Leipzig, Germany @ Naumanns
06.10. Berlin, Germany @ Musik & Frieden

Leave a Reply