Great Metal Albums of 1986: The Cro-Mags- The Age of Quarrel

Like Voivod, my introduction to the Cro-Mags came when I saw both bands together in New York in 1986. BTW, Venom was the headliner that night so one can imagine what a massive mosh the evening was. So much so, that one mad individual executed a balcony dive into the crowd. What I remember from the Cro-Mags’ performance was an onslaught of thrash to the extreme, I spent most of their set in a mosh pit.

What I didn’t know back in 1986 was how much of an influence their debut album, “The Age of Quarrel,” would have on the East Coast post punk scene in the late 1980s. Many hard core bands in the 1990s would cite this album as a major influence. Actually, I can see why, “The Age of Quarrel” is just one massive hardcore thrash album. Fifteen songs on an album that lasts just over thirty-three minutes! Some of these songs go so fast, that if you’re not careful, you might miss them.

While “The Age of Quarrel” has influenced many a hardcore act which came after, I get the feeling that the Cro-Mags, themselves, were influenced by the likes of Suicidal Tendencies and their fellow New Yorkers, Stormtroopers of Death. I hear snippets of both on the album whether it’s speeding blink and you miss it jams like “Show You No Mercy” or where they slow it down a little on “Malfunction.” However, both of those influences blend in very well on my choice for best track, “Street Justice.” “Face the Facts” comes a close second.

Some heavy metal ‘purists’ at the time pooh-poohed thrash bands like the Cro-Mags stating that it was just one chord with a lot of screaming. True, I won’t class lead singer John Joseph with the top vocalists, nor would I include lead guitarist Doug Holland with the great shredders but what these five can do when they get together is just mind blowing. Each member of the band performs their roles superbly and the result is just over a half hour of mad hardcore thrash. Saying that, Harley Flanagan does lay down some cool bass lines, especially on “Do Unto Others.”

Track Listing:

  1. We Gotta Know
  2. World Peace
  3. Show No Mercy
  4. Malfunction
  5. Street Justice
  6. Survival on the Streets
  7. Seekers of the Truth
  8. It’s the Limit
  9. Hard Times
  10. By Myself
  11. Don’t Tread On Me
  12. Face the Facts
  13. Do Unto Others
  14. Life of My Own
  15. Signs of the Times
The Cro-Mags

John Joseph- vocals

Parris Mitchell Mayhew- rhythm guitar

Doug Holland- lead guitar

Harley Flanagan- bass

Mackie Jayson- drums

The thrash scene in New York back in 1986 was starting to turn lots of heads, it definitely turned mine. There were a lot of cool bands coming out as was the case in San Francisco. The Cro-Mags, with this debut album was definitely the tip on the spear.

Next post: English Dogs- Where Legend Began

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20 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: The Cro-Mags- The Age of Quarrel”

  1. I listened to this just the other day. Had it for years but forgot about it until recently . Good album, sad I slept on it a bit.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That concert line up sounds friggin’ epic.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gotta admit they scared me a bit! Tough looking group.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thought this was the Megadeth greatest hits disc with a similar cover when I saw it in Lebrain’s recent likes of rock (title was cut off) and was wondering if that was possibly that old. Evidently not.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Don’t know much about Cro-mags, but would have loved to have seen that show with them, Voivod and Venom!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Proper crossover music – not quite up there with DRI for me, but it is a corker. Vinyl copies of this one sell for silly money – wish I had one.

    Liked by 2 people

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