Crossover The Edge: Where Hardcore, Punk and Metal Collide – Alexandros Anesiadis (Cherry Red Books)

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The first “Hardcore” record that I heard, and fell in love with, was a Crossover record. I didn’t know it at the time and it was another three or four months before I found out that Cause For Alarm, Agnostic Front’s sophomore album, was more closely aligned with the burgeoning crossover movement Hardcore and again, that only happened by accident after I discovered The Accused, Nuclear Assault, The Crumbsuckers and D.R.I. and realised that, completely by accident, I’m stumbled across a scene that would not only irrevocably change, but also help to define, my life. So, it’s fair to say that I’ve got some history with Crossover, having had a three decade and some change obsession with the bands and labels that fuelled, drove, exemplified and characterized it.  That said, I always thought I was at the very least incredibly informed about, and at best something of an authority on, everything Crossover related, but after spending a weekend completely immersed and submerged in Alexandros Anesiadis’s hugely impressive Crossover the Edge: Where Hardcore, Punk and Metal Collide I realised that I actually knew next to nothing about the genre that was, is and always will be close to my heart.

Oh sure, I was intimately familiar with the major players, movers and shaker who pushed Crossover into the mainsteam, but that was about it. I didn’t know anything about the smaller fish, the bands who played night in and night out, who toured the world and released a succession of largely unheard of devastating records on long forgotten labels and who didn’t make music with any hope or illusion of financial reward, but did what they did because they had to, because their music came from the heart and who made music because it was an integral part of who they were.  I didn’t know the awe inspiring underground history of the scene, didn’t know that its roots lay in the sixties and that it gradually started to coalesce, form and find its voice during the late seventies.   But I do now.  And that’s entirely thanks to Crossover the Edge, which has filled in the, admittedly huge, gaps in my knowledge and in doing so, made me fall in love with the Crossover scene and the bands and music that made it what it was, and is, all over again.

As a body of work, Crossover the Edge is staggering; the amount of research and investigation that has gone into making it a reality is mind-blowing. As a study, and the story of the history, of a scene that was, and is, essential to the evolution of the modern Hardcore and Metal scenes is it absolutely indispensable to any fan of either. Written with an overriding passion for, and fervent dedication to, his subject matter,  Anesaidis leaves no stone unturned as he explores the where, why and how Crossover took shape and developed, examines the impact that Crossover and the bands had on him and their own, and the larger, scene and documents their individual musical journeys in this frankly amazing book. If you’ve ever thrashed, slammed or skanked your way through a pit, traded tapes by bands who seemingly mattered to no one but themselves and a handful of underground obsessives, chased and sought out obscure records released by equally obscure labels and devoted far more time than you should pouring over the minutia of fanzine interviews, flyers and album inserts, then you don’t want this book, you need it. It’s that simple. Tim Cundle

Having been very much influenced by the Crossover scene in my mid-teens I was excited to finally get my hands on this debut book by Alexandros Anesiadis and I’m pleased to say it’s lived up to my expectations. Emulating the format of Ian Glasper (who provides the foreword to this book) in his brilliant trilogy analysing UK Punk and Hardcore, and his subsequent book on UK Thrash Metal, Crossover the Edge covers pretty much all the main players such as Suicidal Tendencies, Discharge, COC, DRI, Crumbsuckers, Ludichrist, Gang Green, Nuclear Assault, English Dogs etc. along with some of the lesser known acts from the genre such as Travesty, Social Decay, Ardkore, Subvert and Hell’s Kitchen. Each piece contains a succinct history of the band with anecdotal comments from current/former members, and the author’s recommendations of which releases to check out. The book also includes a veritable cornucopia of photos and flyers from the period.  There’s obviously one or two bands missing although Anesiadis being the completest he is manages to at least get in honorary mentions for most of the bands not fully covered (e.g. Hirax & Voi Vod).

 I also respect the author’s decision to include some of the more controversial bands from the Crossover genre such as The Mentors, At War and Carnivore and call them out on their questionable lyrics. Thoroughly well researched and written (particularly given that English isn’t the author’s first language – kudos), Crossover the Edge positively bristles with enthusiasm and passion. For people who have discovered Crossover/Thrash via newer bands such Municipal Waste this is an ideal primer on the history of the genre and details many of the essential releases from the pioneer Crossover Punk and Metal bands. For those of us who remember this stuff from the first time around it’s a fantastic reminder of how exciting it was to discover these life changing bands. Excellent work, and I look forward to Alexandros’ follow up books which I’m reliably informed he has already started working on.  Ian Pickens

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