Before the Cro-Mags made it happen, the idea of combining hardcore punk and heavy metal seemed far-fetched. However, hardcore metal was born after the Cro-Mags released their album, The Age of Quarrel, in 1986. While the band has been through countless lineup changes, their influence on hardcore has remained unrivaled.
The blend of metal guitar figures and hardcore velocity was evident in their definitive release, The Age of Quarrel. However, they pushed their sound back into thrash metal territory with the release of Best Wishes in 1989. Their 2020 release, In the Beginning, gave fans a more muscular version of their classics.
Harley Flanagan is the band’s leader, bassist, and singer. Many musicians played alongside Flanagan before the best Cro-Mags lineup was created, with John Joseph on vocals, Flanagan on bass, Mackie Jayson on drums, and Parris Mayhew on guitar. With shows at CBGB, it didn’t take long for the band to build a rabid following.
Cro-Mags recorded a 13-track that landed them a record deal with Rock Hotel label. It was also around this time that the band was closely linked with the Hare Krishna faith. After releasing their debut album, The Age of Quarrel, the band expanded their audience significantly when they went on tour with Megadeth and Motorhead.
In the early 90s, the band released two albums under Century Media, Alpha Omega (1992) and Near Death Experience (1993). Joined by new members Dave di Censo (drums) and Gabby Abularach (guitar), the band released Hard Times in an Age of Quarrel, their double-live album. Unfortunately, the band split up after.
Mayhew and Flanagan revived the band for touring in the late ‘90s with Dave di Censo on drums and Rocky George on guitar. The lineup released the album Revenge in 2000, and the group fell apart again soon after. In 2008, Joseph and Jayson put together a new band and toured under the Cro-Mags name.
This led to a legal and personal conflict between Flanagan and Joseph over the rights to the band name. Eventually, Flanagan was granted the rights to the Cro-Mags name. After two decades, the band released another studio album, In the Beginning. This was quickly followed by another EP called 2020.