Hot Cross CD review [Level-Plane]

Music Reviews
Hot Cross CD review [Level-Plane]
Jun 8, 2004, 06:01

HOT CROSS Fair Trades and Farewells CD

Mixing hardcore with metal isn't easy. Just listen to all those thick-skull moroncore bands who play Cookie Monster chunk-thrash but think they're hardcore because they have some name like Strive for Tomorrow or Integrity of Truth. Sure, yeah—and Metallica was a punk band just because it covered Anti-Nowhere League. (“So What?” is exactly right, dammit.) Hot Cross screws together a more successful hybrid machine, offering both the hearty vocals of HC and the hammer-on guitar hysterics of metal. It works because the vocals' emotional force provide the weight that carries the songs, with the fretwork pyrotechnics adding mere flash, instead of vice-versa. Lyrically, the listener has to pick through the word-scraps to discern whatever meaning can be gleaned from lines like “it's times like these in the midst of sink or swim that I've enfolded nouns and verbs in nights I seek to forget.” So, okay, we're talking frenetic and poetic suburban angst-kore that injects acid metal and post-punk guitars into much the same vein as At the Drive-In or a less-screamy Blood Brothers—both of whom, it should be noted, are also admirable hardcore and metal margin walkers. Grade Hot Cross on the same curve. [Level-Plane]

-J Graham

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