There wasn’t much ambiguity about D.R.I.’s 1987 release on Metal Blade Records when the name of the album surfaced. While it came a decade or so before the raging debate in Metal about what forms and genres bands were melding together, the name “Crossover” made the Texas bands intentions known immediately: the Hardcore band was going to incorporate Metal into their already established and well liked aggressive Punk. Whether the band knew it or not at the time, “Crossover” was to be a watershed moment in Metal, when a fusion would be presented in a near impeccable release.
When I first bought “Crossover” on tape in 1987 it wasn’t difficult for this Metalhead to embrace the thick riffing that pops up all over the album. Out of the gate, “Five Year Plan” cranks out a heavy, distorted but slow few chords that were unmistakably Metal. What happens subsequently is such a fine blend of slashing Hardcore passages seamlessly merged with Thrash that you disregard dissection of the union of styles. I’m no connoisseur of Hardcore, although throw in some Minor Threat no and then, this album probably was the impetus to foray into what Hardcore I do listen to.
While many bands like ANTHRAX and NUCLEAR ASSAULT were obviously heavily influenced by Hardcore, D.R.I. stood out as a band that, well for lack of a better term, crossed over from Punk to Metal and keeping a foot in each technique created a genre on its own. Certainly other bands at the time made a similar shift, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and SUICIDAL TENDANCIES being the obvious other two. But, D.R.I. on “Crossover” made that leap for me in a far more coherent and pleasing way. Chock full of cracking Metal like the opening to “Probation” which then progresses to a speedy Thrashing, though slower than Hardcore, of social angst. Politically motivated lyrics were commonplace in Hardcore and early Punk, but there wasn’t much degree of it in Metal at the time. The few bands in Thrash who were politically charged, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, SACRED REICH and a few more then only legitimized D.R.I.’s ability to straddle the Metal/Punk fence.
Ultimately, all musical and political ramifications aside, “Crossover” is one infectious, punchy album. A testament to that is 18 years after I first got my hands on it I still slip it once in a while not just to recall memories of High School (yes, I’m old!) but to hear a cracking album (Online January 18, 2006)