CRO-MAGS leader Harley Flanagan has confirmed to Ireland’s Overdrive that he has used some of the coronavirus downtime to work on material for the band’s next album. “I would confidently say, we have [the basic tracks for] about 16 to 20 tracks [recorded], depending on what the final edit will be. One may turn into an intro to another song. All I know is that I’ve got a really good album in the works and we’ve not even had the opportunity to tour the last album or this [latest] EP [‘2020’] so far.”
Regarding the musical direction of the new CRO-MAGS material, Harley said: “I think this next record is very CRO-MAGS as far as it has the same ingredients with reference to style. There’s some MOTÖRHEAD, VENOM, DISCHARGE, BLACK SABBATH and BAD BRAINS. You can hear all of those elements, but I did something a little different. I think this next album is not losing those elements, but it’s a little more ‘darker.’ If anything, it’s like old-school CRO-MAGS with old-school BLACK SABBATH but with an open, free-fall-jazz type of approach. It’s much heavier and there is some slower stuff on there.
“I’m not one for sub-genre titles but a friend of mine was saying, ‘That sounds so fucking doom.’ [Laughs] I don’t know what that means because fuck all of those tags. It’s just fucking heavy, and that’s all that matters.
“The new stuff is shaping up to be a great album, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a guest to perform on the album,” he revealed. “I can’t say too much right now, but if it all comes to plan, this collaboration will be one of the proudest moments of my career.”
“2020” received a digital release earlier in the month. The record itself is unintentionally 20 minutes and 20 seconds, and plays out more like a time-capsule look into the dumpster fire known as the year 2020.
CRO-MAGS feature Flanagan pulling double duty with bass and lead vocals, guitarists Gabby Abularach, Rocky George (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, FISHBONE), and drummer Garry “G-Man” Sullivan.
The history of the CRO-MAGS is integral to the history of hardcore, its evolution from punk and the development of alternative music genres such as hardcore, cross-over, thrash metal, post punk and grunge, to name a few. Numerous iconic bands from METALLICA to GREEN DAY, and individuals such as Dave Grohl have credited CRO-MAGS with having had a primal influence on their development.
Born out of the violence and depravity of the Lower East Side of New York in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the CRO-MAGS was the brainchild of a very young Flanagan (at the time 14 years old) when still playing with THE STIMULATORS. By 1982/83 he wrote and recorded the very first CRO-MAGS demos consisting of four songs that would become the blueprint for the seminal 1986 “Age Of Quarrel”. He wrote all of the music, played each instrument and sang. Before long, he connected with Parris Mayhew and the two started writing music and auditioning band members.
In 2019, Flanagan reached a settlement with singer John Joseph and drummer Mackie Jayson regarding ownership of the CRO-MAGS name. Flanagan is now performing under the name CRO-MAGS while Joseph and Jayson are performing as CRO-MAGS “JM”.