Hot Cross

Hot Cross


Level Plane

I have to confess that I originally got my hands on this CD for a friend of mine, Pete — he’s a big Hot Cross fan, but I’ve always been a bit cautious. It’s not that I don’t trust Pete’s taste — it’s impeccable — but when I listen to a band he likes and I don’t dig it, I always feel like I’ve let him down. He’s just so on the money when it comes to music that I almost resent him for it.

Well, I’m an idiot. Firstly, Pete’s not getting my copy of Cryonics (it turns out he has his own, anyway). Secondly, the fact that he’s cooler than me doesn’t mean that I should avoid some of his more obscure recommendations — actually, if this album’s anything to go by, I’m going to get out of that habit right now.

You might hear a better hardcore disc than Hot Cross’s Cryonics this year, but I doubt it. It’s restored my faith in the genre’s ability to be absolutely beautiful. Totally devoid of pretense or self-defeating “artiness,” it contains some of the most accomplished guitar interplay I’ve ever heard; blisteringly poignant vocals and screaming; and an earnestness and honesty in its production that highlights the sweat and pain that obviously went into the album’s creation. The more frantic moments are the counterpoint to some of the most sublime mellow hardcore I’ve ever had the privilege to hear. What makes things even more impressive is the fact that this is Hot Cross’s debut long-player.

Cryonics is for speeding down freeways at two in the morning — chances are, I’ll still be doing just that in several years’ time, wondering just what it is in the music that makes me want to cry. (That’s not a very hardcore thing to say, is it?) Maybe by then I will have been able to swallow my pride and thank Pete for the tip, too.

Level Plane:

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