This album has been another one on repeat in my player this year, although I have to say I have mixed feelings about it.
On one side, the album is great. It's one of those records that, so to speak, "is full of music"; I mean one of those albums that you take a long time to get the "knack" of. This is the kind of music I prefer; the one where you can go back to time after time and get lost inside and discover new stuff every time.
And good stuff, too. Any person who has been in my surroundings last year might have listened at times yellings of random things like "Pistolerooww", "Un-dead, un-dead, un-dead, un-dead...", "You're fucking broke, man..." The album is full of great moments, and all the players are superb. I'm still not familiar with the other works of the guitar and bass player, but the later, Justin Pearson, has my instant sympathy from the moment I heard him in an interview defending that liking Britney Spears was nothing to be ashamed of :).
However... I have a pet peeve with how "superbands" are formed in our current day and age.
My problem could be summarized by one joke by the Argentinean comedians Les Luthiers: "Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the band; Jorge, this is Marcos. Marcos, this is Jorge..."
No matter how incredibly gifted of a musician you are, you cannot form a band like a piece of Ikea furniture, and think that it is not going to show in the results in some way.
This practice, however, seems to be quite common currently: Mike Portnoy with Winery Dogs+Sons of Apollo+Metal Allegiance, George Lynch with KXM and then Sweet & Lynch... Glenn Hughes with Black Country Communion... (I disagree with his opinion that "IV" is one of his best works -not regarding his voice, which is fucking amazing, but composition wise, and I wouldn't brag so much about having recorded it in a week-).
I'm not sure if this "instant band" phenomenon is due to lack of direction, promotional perks, an attempt to "diversify the product", creative explorations, or a mixture of all of the above, but to me it generally does not benefit the final result. Very frequently, in the interviews you get comments from the musicians not about how this or that song came across, but about how difficult it was to combine schedules, etc... Very bad sign. Songs grow bigger and better by revisiting, through the dynamics of musicians getting to know each other; you're making art, not a piece of machinery to be assembled as fast as possible.
And in the case of Dead Cross, this factor gets magnified even more by including among its ranks the one and only Mike Patton, who besides a very original artist, a unique singer, and owner of his craft like no other, has always had this "touch and go" tendency when it comes to musical projects. He is like the "Rodolfo Valentino" of rock and roll; always game for a night of novelty and frolic, but commitment is out of the question.
Each artist finds their balance in their own way and that's what makes them worthwhile and unique, but in the case of Patton, I find a big drawback in this policy of his. The fact that he seems to be always a bit "detached" from every project he faces ends up making him like a "fixed amount". In whatever project he undertakes, he functions like a constant, he "does his thing"... (I imagine him disembarking in a new studio like a mad scientist, with all his crazy voice altering devices...); you either like it or not, but there's no further range of modification caused by the circumstances. It's like mashed potatoes. "Do you want Patton with your project? Yes? No? Say when..."
I happen to find find Patton's mashed potatoes exquisite, but I'd like to see him sticking more to one single "base camp" project; I think it would help mature the project and the music more... as it is proven by his albums with Faith no More, if I'm not mistaken the band Patton has stuck with longer... Dead Cross could be a great candidate for that one project, but I'm afraid Patton might not be willing to the task, with his "who knows" philosophy, always heading for the next shiny thing...
I wonder if Dave Lombardo gave proper consideration to this factor when he decided to "Pattonify" Dead Cross, as in his case the band does seem to be his main interest at the moment. Perhaps he did; he seems a very steady kind of guy; during last summer's tour all the members but him had accidents (Crain and Pearson with the police, Patton with a skateboard). I divide drummer styles in Mountain, Bull and Octopus, and Lombardo scores high in mountain (although he scores big in everything, the bastard; the drumming he does in "Seizure and desist" is nothing short of incredible to me).
Anyways, together or on their own, I hope all these outstanding musicians keep giving their fruits in the way they feel more comfortable. I on my side impose on myself the (sweet) task for the upcoming year of getting more familiar with Crain and Pearson's other works; I'm sure I'll be glad I did.
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it