Following on from the recently released EP, Don’t Give Up, From the Grave is the second set of three tracks released by Harley Flanagan under the Cro-Mags name since he secured the right to use it. Acting as a taster for the upcoming full-length, From the Grave takes the same form as its predecessor with two shorter tracks and one more fleshed-out.
First song and title track, From the Grave come across as having escaped from a Judas Priest or Iced Earth jam session. The metallised opening, the chug-a riffing punctuated by unmuted strings and the classic soloing feel a world away from the Hardcore of Harley’s last solo record. Similarly with PTSD, which is moulded in the same eighties metal, only this time more thrashy and more hard-edged. Both feature the kind of riffing usually reserved for bands from the other coast and not what would be expected from a Cro-Mags record.
Final track, Between Wars, is a near six-minute instrumental which builds through pulsating bass-work and spiralling guitar lines against a relentlessly repetitive riff.
As a band, Cro-Mags never were ones to endlessly copy themselves and always seemed to take themselves in unexpected directions. If From the Grave is anything to go by, the new album, although shorn of John Joseph, will continue that trajectory.