|Formed in 1984, New York's Cro-Mags were one of several bands that represented a shift from hardcore towards an aggressive, mosh-inducing punk/thrash hybrid. Bassist/bandleader Harley Flanagan and original vocalist John "Bloodclot" Joseph were members of the Hare Krishna sect, and the group's lyrics often reflected his spiritual and philosophical views; the remainder of the Cro-Mags' original lineup included guitarist Parris Mitchell Mayhew and drummer Mackie Jayson.
The band's debut, The Age of Quarrel, was released in 1986; Joseph and Jayson subsequently departed, the latter to join Bad Brains, with Flanagan taking over the vocalist slot, ex-Murphy's Law member Pete Hines taking the drum chair, and former Kraut guitarist Doug Holland augmenting the instrumental attack. This lineup recorded the more metallic Best Wishes in 1989, and further personnel shifts followed, with guitarist Rob Buckley replacing Holland and drummer Dave DiSenzo taking over for Hines. This lineup began work on Alpha Omega, but label difficulties resulted in the album being shelved and the rest of the band walking out on Flanagan.
With the support of Century Media, the Cro-Mags re-formed in 1991 with a lineup consisting of Flanagan, Holland, DiSenzo, Joseph, and new guitarist Gabby. Alpha Omega was finally completed and released in 1992, but internal band problems would cause Flanagan to leave immediately after the follow-up, 1993's Near Death Experience. With most of the members no longer on good terms, the Cro-Mags appear to be finished as a working unit. They released Revenge in mid-2000. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide