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Hot Cross - A New Set Of Lungs (Cover Artwork)

Hot Cross

Hot Cross: A New Set Of LungsA New Set Of Lungs (2002)
Level Plane Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This ain't your grandpa's hardcore. Stale. Bland. Boring. Those are the adjectives I most frequently use when describing hardcore over the last few years. Everything has been done, and overdone, and done on top of it. Tough guy, mosh metal, metalcore, is all that populates hardcore music today. E.
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This ain't your grandpa's hardcore.

Stale. Bland. Boring. Those are the adjectives I most frequently use when describing hardcore over the last few years. Everything has been done, and overdone, and done on top of it. Tough guy, mosh metal, metalcore, is all that populates hardcore music today. Every trend has been driven headfirst into the ground. True, there are a few bands, love them or hate them, like the Blood Brothers, that are doing things differently, and setting trends rather than follow them, but for the most part, all the inventiveness and innovation has been completely sapped of the music. All we have are countless clones of Terror, and every other band on Bridge 9. I'm not exactly ready to hand out the 'saviors of hardcore' label, but these guys are doing their damndest to change the landscape of things. Cryonics and Fair Trades And Farewells have shown the band's ability to fuse new ideas with old, and make captivating, interesting music, but this is where it all started.

One look at Hot Cross' lineup reads like a screamo supergroup. Boasting members of defunct screamo bands Saetia, Joshua Fit For Battle, and Niel Perry, these are guys who've been around for a while. Lead singer Billy Werner was singer for the band that was widely regarded as being the originators of screamo, Saetia. Immediately upon the start of this record, you'll notice the vocals are no longer the shrill, shrieking screams that made Saetia so distinct. Don't be fooled, however; they've lost nothing in the way of intensity.

There's so many places to start with this record. The amazing lyrics, the frentic guitar, the multi-layered vocals - it's all a solid package. This record seems more urgent, and has somewhat less calculated of a feel than than the next two records, but where this is so impressive is the raw energy and fury. It doesn't relent at all during the album's 14-minute duration. The guitar work is full of rage, and it's intricacies are nothing that can be overlooked. The guitars are the driving force behind every song, and Billy's vocals can truly build on that background, and as a result sound all the more passionate and heartfelt. "Born On The Cusp" starts out pummeling you with ridiculous drum beats and guitars that just won't quit. "History Fell And The Heart Broke Open" has a different feel so it, as the bass interrupts the relentless guitars for Werner to chant "Unconscious, unfolded, unspoken," several times. The closing track, "Finger Redux," starts off slowly, and immediately picks up to a frantic pace. Halfway through, the chaos momentarily dies down for some guitar plucking, then restarts right where it left off, really showcasing the talented guitarists, moreso than any other point on the record. But as always with Hot Cross, lyrics are an integral part of the music and the message.

Socially conscious and poetic at the same time, Werner's lyrics provide an amazing base for the layers upon layers of music put on top of them. Werner is obviously an intelligent man, and one with a politically and socially aware consience. "Lend Me Your Brain (I'm Building An Idiot)" is about those people we all know, who preach about changing the world, but don't know the first thing about doing it, and don't care to learn. "You can lead the punks to reason / But you can't make them think / And lifelong trouble with the burning fists / And angry hearts of America's young / Is a fear of the new and the narrow outdated tunnels / They see the world through / And where to turn / But up one's own ass where the answers are free / But shit nonetheless." Hot Cross shows that intelligence does have a place in hardcore, and not everything has to be about straight edge, moshing, or brotherhood (gasp!). Werner just has an obvious way with words, one that makes everything flow so beautifully, without sounding forced or contrived; "I've stopped drawing that scene / And started speaking in tongues / A new state of mind is long overdue / It's time I inhaled with a new set of lungs." Lyrics like that are found all thoughout this album.

If you're a fan of Hot Cross, pick this up to see where it all began, even though it's not their most acessable release due to a lack of studio polish and more rage than in following releases. So if you've yet to hear anything of theirs, start with Cryonics or Fair Trades, and save this for last. But for the majority of us, this is absolutely a good listen, and some people like this album better than any of Hot Cross' other releases as it is. In any event, for $7 from the Level Plane distro, you'll be doing yourself a large favor to purchase a copy of this.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anchors (January 3, 2005)

BSD, have you been to Syracuse?

Trust me, there's nothing of that sort here. We've got Ed Gein, and that's about the only band from here I'd ever brag about. The largest contingent of kids here love tough guy and metalcore, I can't tell you how many fucking times It Dies Today played here last year. It's pathetic. Eighteen Visions is coming soon, and that's been hyped to all hell. We don't get anybody decent to come through. Don't believe me? www.syracuseshows.com

I'm not much for crust to begin with, but I'd surely take it over what we have if there was any remnance of a scene here. Sadly, it's not the case.

Anonymous (December 29, 2004)

"Tough guy, mosh metal, metalcore, is all that populates hardcore music today."

You obviously only have one hardcore scene in your town... What about crust/grind hardcore? Or thrash? Hardly "macho"... But oh well, feel free to make up some stupid excuse for your ignorance.

-BSD

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

even more scene credit: honeywell sucked

Anchors (December 27, 2004)

Yeah let me run out an get a copy of Rolling Stone or Spin, because those publications are just the beacon of good writing. Anyhow, I said plenty about this cd, plenty. Maybe you didn't notice, but the majority agree, as you conveniently skipped over the 5 or 6 people who said good review.

And who are you to try and pigeonhole my musical tastes. I listen to everything, absolutely everything. From ambient to jazz, doo wop to metal. I discriminate against bad bands, not genres as a whole. But I'm sure if I posted a review of a John Coltrane or Chuck Berry album, 95% of the assholes who frequent this site would tell me how un-punk I am. Like their styles of music would even exist without Chuck Berry.

But with exceptions given to Against Me!, Avail, and a few others, I really prefer screamo/hardcore and indie over punk, so my reviews reflect that. If that's not your thing, cool, but don't bitch about how I write my reviews unless you're willing to do some of your own. You only looke like a clown.

Anonymous (December 27, 2004)

Ohh wow you like Superstitions of the Sky!!!! Thats so un hardcore of you, especially how its Josh of said band in this review.

And in response of your smart ass comment, the point of a review is to get people to go and listen to the cd or not listen to it. Not annoy them by bitching about other type of music. Go pick up a magazine and read a review in it. You will notice how none of them go on and on bitching about bands that got nothing to do with the review.

Anchors (December 26, 2004)

Yeah, I'm pretty partial to screamo bands like Knapsack, The Appleseed Cast, and Superstitions Of The Sky. That's all I review! Caught me there, sleuth.

I've got Cross My Heart and Explosion In The Sky reviews queued, maybe those will make you bitch a bit less. I don't mention anything about tough guy hardcore in them. And, you know, it's kids like you I'm aiming to please with my reviews.

In the meantime, I'm terribly sorry this didn't appease your taste in reviews. Here's to hoping you'll accept my most humble of apologies!

In all sincerity,
Jordan

Anonymous (December 26, 2004)

While I do love this cd, and this band, I cannot stand this reviewer. All he does is bitch in all of his reviews. What is his beef with 'tough guy hardcore'? He says thats all that is around anymore, but the only bands I ever hear anything about are bands like 18 Visions, Atreyu, Bleeding Through etc etc.

Maybe if Anchor spent less time bitching and more time knowing what he was talking about his reviews would make more sense. Until then, they will all read like some fanboy who hates everything that isnt Screamo.

Anonymous (December 26, 2004)

"Extra-scene-credit: Honeywell invented screamo in 1992."

heroin was around before honeywell.

Anonymous (December 26, 2004)

It's hard to draw a line where emo/hardcore-emo stopped and screamo started. To me Indian Summer and Portraits of Past were still among the original emo bands and screamo didn't start until around 98/99 bands started rediscovering the sound coined by early/mid90s emo bands.
So seeings bands like Saetia, Spirit of Versailles or Portrait as the starting point of screamo is perfectly valid IMHO.

Extra-scene-credit: Honeywell invented screamo in 1992.

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

Overrated band!

Anchors (December 25, 2004)

Thats was me below.

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

And to add to both lists, since I always, without fail seem to forget them:

Spirit Of Versailles.

And my bad on neglecting Indian Summer when talking about POP preceeding Saetia.

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

great record. good review, too. i like this way more than cryonics or that new one. theyre still good live, though. sometimes. "screamo" bands that should be heard by all:
indian summer
angel hair
clikitat ikatowi
ordination of aaron
policy of 3
spirit assembly
amber inn

slippy (December 25, 2004)

I dont think that's true.

hobbitcore (December 25, 2004)

actually if you talked to someone who actually knows anything about screamo who started the genre, the last thing they would respond with would be Saetia...that's what people who got into screamo 2 months ago and don't know crap about it say. Not that there's anything wrong with that, we all were there once, but it ain't true. Indian Summer and yes, Portraits of Past were around looong before Saetia.

Anchors (December 25, 2004)

More often than not, if you were to have a conversation with a fan of screamo, or hardcore, and you were to ask them who started screamo, Saetia would be their reply. I've experienced this myself, sorry I don't have any cool statistics or pie charts for you!

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

Widely regarded by whom, then? Where are your facts? The so-called opinions someone includes in a review more often than not reflect their own. Anyway, you come off sounding like just another one of those pompous Pitchfork-types.

-BSD

Anchors (December 24, 2004)

"Widely regarded."

You made presumption of fact on that one, I didn't say I thought they started screamo.

I'm a big fan of Portraits Of Past, and I realize they were around in '94-'95, thus preceeding Saetia. Just read more carefully next time, rather than bring the statements into question.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

"Lead singer Billy Werner was singer for the band that was widely regarded as being the originators of screamo, Saetia"

maybe you should listen to some Portraits of Past before making statements like this.

Anchors (December 24, 2004)

I read through that review, and found two typos.

Frentic rather than Frantic, and acessable rather than accessible.

And as always, I invite you to try your hand at a review.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

wow what a piece of shit review. lots of typos and shit.

-punkpirate

kenjamin (December 24, 2004)

Nice review. Lot's of good stuff reviewed this week that i was curious about. cool.

Anchors (December 24, 2004)

A bit late? Probably, but this was the only Hot Cross album not reviewed on this site, so I figured it needed to be done.

And to add to SilentStorms' list:

Jerome's Dream
Joshua Fit Fot Battle
Love Lost But Not Forgotten
A Day In Black And White
Love Like... Electrocution

Speaking of Yaphet Kotto, their new album is incredible, and I'm probably going to review that in the next week or so.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

isnt this a little bit late? i'm pretty sure most people are sucking the dicks of hot cross at this point

SilentStorms (December 24, 2004)

Great review. Great record. Great band. If anyone is interested the other half of Saetia formed Off Minor, who kick major ass. Some other good stuff along this line are:

Welcome the Plague Year
Transistor Transistor (already mentioned below)
Yaphet Kotto
Neil Perry
Envy
City of Caterpillar
Amanda Woodward
This Ship Will Sink
The Now
Ruhaeda
Raein
Funeral Diner
You & I

Most can be found through interpunk and level plane. If you live in Canada though I would suggest www.ohnono.com cuz he carries lots of this stuff with cheap shipping.

slippy (December 24, 2004)

Very well written review....great great band.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

i didn't really say they are similar but i figured most people who liked them would like the other two bands i mentioned. i could be wrong though wouldn't be the first time.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Great review.

"if you like this band you should also listen to light the fuse and run and transistor, transistor."

I had the split with LTFAR, and I don't hear the similarities.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

he was giving background. although he may not have went about it in the best way im sure it's helpful to other people who have never heard hotcross.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

the reviewer spent the first half of the review genre-dropping and bitching.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

if you like this band you should also listen to light the fuse and run and transistor, transistor.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

nice reiew. hot cross is great

-i12e

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