Along with the first couple DRI records and Suicidal Tendencies’ self-titled debut, albums like Animosity helped give rise to the “crossover” subgenre. Alas, if it’s DRI, not COC or ST (many would even cite SOD, for that matter), who are considered the godfathers of crossover, it’s largely because they stayed the course whereas Corrosion of Conformity went off in a different direction. Oh, and the fact that their ’87 album was called Crossover probably had something to do with it, too.
But I’m not writing about Crossover in the specific sense—this post is about Animosity, and the trio of NC punksters who got back together recently, producing a much more mature effort in the process. For their second full-length album, first issued by Metal Blade back in ’85, is nothing if not young, loud and sloppy.
Boasting five songs a side on the original (and for that matter, the reissued snot-yellow) vinyl, Animosity flies by in a Slayer-like 26 minutes. Album-opener “Loss for Words” is one of the only songs to exceed four minutes, along with the bookending title track. This one is certainly more metal than punk, somewhat akin to Razor—who had, incidentally, unleashed Evil Invaders around the same time. That said, if there’s anyone who could make Stace “Sheepdog” McLaren sound like a classically trained tenor, it’s Mike Dean, who vomits his outraged, virtually-indecipherable bile all over this effort.
“Mad World” chugs along as a mid-paced thrasher, less than two minutes in all, with a simplistic, anthemic chorus stating the song title in pure punk rock fashion. “Consumed,” on the other hand, will blast your face in, a steady crossover (for lack of a better term) attack, its demented surf-rock bassline begetting some serious shredding courtesy of one Woodroe Weatherman. Reed Mullin also offers up a speedy, skin-pounding assault, one that would rarely resurface on future albums until, well, their 2012 comeback effort.
For my money’s worth, the gang choruses on “Holier” don’t really work, they just sound a tad too processed for my tastes. But “Positive Outlook” ends the A Side on a, erm, positive note, perhaps the most “metal” guitar riff of the first half—if you consider the Dayglo Abortions to be a metal band, that is. (Hey, they kinda had the crossover thing going on at the time, too—Here Today, Guano Tomorrow, anyone?) They also slow things down to half-time (and then some) at the end, a harbinger of things to come, I suppose…
“Prayer” comes moshing out of the gate to open Side B, Mike Dean at his stark-raving best (I can’t understand a fucking word he’s saying!) overtop some vicious punk-rock riffage. This one also offers the best shout-along moment at the end… “Pray for Power!” “Intervention” is another sludgy, sloppy, punky mess, the production seemingly sounding muddier once you turn the record over. Like its predecessor, it clocks in at exactly 2:24 and offers another chorus that’s easy enough to sing along to. (Hint, it’s in the song title.)
The next two tunes, “Kiss of Death” and “Hungry Child” each check in well short of the two-minute mark. Forget crossover, you can almost hear the origins of death ‘n roll buried deep within the muck here. Something tells me that Nicke Andersson and co likely owned this record. The title track, oddly enough, is an instrumental—and a 4+ minute one, at that! This one explores some of the sludgier, swampier territory in the early going that the band would trawl through on later efforts, though it really sounds more like death metal (or at least what was considered death metal circa 1985) than what would become known as sludge. It does eventually pick up speed, however, throwing in a coupla time changes to remind us that this is, after all a hardcore thrash crossover record.