“A lot can happen in any given year, but 2020 has taken it to another level,” admits CRO-MAGS founder and bassist Harley Flanagan. 2020 saw the NYC based crew release the critically acclaimed album In the Beginning (their first in 20 years) and now, before the year ends, the new EP 2020, and its eponymous video.
CRO-MAGS were scheduled to go on tour in support of the album In The Beginning in the summer of 2020 and were booked solid in Europe, UK, Japan and South America. All was set to kick-off with a show at Webster Hall (NYC) with Body Count on March 15 – when all of a sudden the Coronavirus quarantine went into effect (March 13 in NYC) and the year of madness began. In response, CRO-MAGS pivoted and did one of the very first live stream shows, “The Quarantine Show,” from the historic (and now defunct) SIR Studios in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
As Flanagan recounts, “(Drummer) G-Man was stuck in New York for seven months because of the travel ban, so we started writing songs, and as soon as we were able to get into the studio we started tracking.” Recorded at Steve Zing’s (Sam Hain, Danzig) newly launched Trick or Treat Studio, they brought back Arthur Rizk who produced In The Beginning.
Rocky George had just managed to get out of NYC before the lock down in March and tracked his guitars in Los Angeles. Guitarist Gabby Abularach remained in Guatemala during the travel ban and decided that both personally and professionally he was in need of a change and to move in ‘a different direction.’
Aware of the quarantine and travel ban, CRO-MAGS asked long-time friend Joseph Affe (M.O.D, Maximum Penalty, Harley’s War) to play The Quarantine Show. Joe had just toured Europe and the U.K with CRO-MAGS in late 2019 when Rocky couldn’t make the trip. Harley had played with Joe on and off since 2003 in different projects and it was a perfect fit, so CRO-MAGS brought Affe on to do the EP. After all the years, playing the entire catalogue and having so recently filled in for both Rocky and Gabby, it was seamless.
The 2020 EP 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. Flanagan explains, “Just by coincidence we recorded 20 minutes and 16 seconds of music, so we simply added a few seconds of real-world chaos. The album cover is meant to look like a calendar – 7 squares across, with one picture from 2020 per day. Corona Virus, quarantine, empty streets, brutality, burning buildings, violence and destruction: 2020 is a year none of us will ever forget.”
2020 Track Listing
1 – Age Of Quarantine
2 – 2020
3 – Life On Earth
4 – Violence and Destruction
5 – Chaos In The Streets
6 – Cro-Fusion
“Fast punk and thrashy breakdowns” – DECIBEL
“The founding band of hardcore punk” – ROLLING STONE
“Fast-paced, raw, blazing and blistering” – CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND
“This one’s gonna snap a few bones and blacken an eye” – NEW NOISE
“A two-stepping salute to four-chord classic hardcore” – METAL HAMMER
“Heavy grooves, impressive depth and really powerful” – DOWN FOR LIFE
“A hybrid of ‘80s and ‘90s anthemic hardcore full of underlying anger” – BLABBERMOUTH