Hot Cross - Risk Revival (Cover Artwork)

Hot Cross

Hot Cross: Risk RevivalRisk Revival (2007)
Hope Division

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

Hot Cross is one of the most widely respected screamo bands in existence today, and a few spins of their newest album, Risk Revival, will show you why. This release is the band's first on their new label, Equal Vision imprint Hope Division Records. Although you could hardly say this means they've go.
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Hot Cross is one of the most widely respected screamo bands in existence today, and a few spins of their newest album, Risk Revival, will show you why. This release is the band's first on their new label, Equal Vision imprint Hope Division Records. Although you could hardly say this means they've gone mainstream, it is a small step up the commercial ladder from their long-time home at Level-Plane (who is handling the vinyl release of this album).

There has been a fair amount of controversy circling the Internet regarding the production values of this album. Anyone who heard the rough demos posted on the band's MySpace page prior to the release of Risk Revival will notice the finished product sounds much more polished than those preview tracks. Whether or not that's a good thing is going to be a matter of personal taste. While this is by far the best sounding Hot Cross disc to date, I do miss the raw feel of past albums like Cryonics and Fair Trades and Farewells.

It matters little in the end though, because the songwriting here is absolutely top-notch. Anyone who has ever listened Hot Cross before should feel right at home with Risk Revival; their songwriting style now is essentially the same as it has ever been, only more polished. After the faintly Egyptian-sounding intro of the album opener "Exits and Trails," guitarist Casey Boland blasts off a series of blazing licks almost recalling the hyper-technicality of the Fall of Troy. Hot Cross mixes intricate musicianship with turn-on-a-dime dynamics better than just about anyone, and they rarely let up the intensity.

The level of aggression in frontman Billy Werner's urgently emotive vocals has been toned down ever so slightly, and he sounds much cleaner and clearer than before. That doesn't mean he's lost his balls though, and it's impossible not to be moved when he shouts on "Fatefully," "fuck off / fuck off / because I don't need you." In a time where so many poppy, trend-riding mall-screamo bands are writing hopeless songs about lost love and sucking at life, Werner's confidence behind the microphone is a breath of fresh air.

There's going to be some long-time Hot Cross fans who are going to shit all over Risk Revival based solely on its polished production, spouting baseless claims about how they've sold out now they've left Level-Plane or something else equally ridiculous. It's their loss if they don't want to listen to Risk Revival though, because underneath its shiny exterior lies a passionate and well-written album worthy of your hard earned cash.


People who liked this also liked:
Converge - Jane DoeDillinger Four - Versus GodRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComePoison the Well - VersionsThe Bronx - The Bronx (2006)Cancer Bats - Birthing the GiantThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartDillinger Four - Situationist ComedySaetia - A RetrospectiveHot Cross - Fair Trade And Farewells

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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.
IAmLosingx (November 4, 2012)

Just found out about these guys A few months ago, shame they are no longer around. Great band and album. love the vocals.

MattS (October 30, 2007)

album of the year

GlassPipeMurder (March 12, 2007)

this is my first introduction to Hot Cross and i'm very impressed. much more punk than i was expecting. definitely worth the price.

xtomhallx (March 12, 2007)

from the little Hot Cross i've heard, i really liked them. i'll have to get this cd, and the art is awesome.

treos (March 12, 2007)

whoops, that would be A* Restrospective

treos (March 12, 2007)

screamo is a pretty all-encompassing genre used to describe a bands sing/scream attributes, but some people use it when they talk about converge, cuz converge is mad hadrcore but their lyrics are kinda emo, about girls and shit like that, if anyone calls ed gein screamo then their just plain ignorant, ed gein is straight up grind
this hot cross album s pretty badass,
In Retrospective was one of the greatest screamo albums ever
props to mitch hedburg for "all encompassing"
score is for the review

Anonymous (March 12, 2007)

this is a band that matters. fuck epitaph/volcom/soundclash/leftalone. they have been involved with many rapes not just one. fact assholes.

Anonymous (March 12, 2007)

"A New Set of Lungs" is baby puke compared to this. best album of the year by far. game's already over.

Anonymous (March 12, 2007)

This band isn't that good but Saetia was much worse.

davebrave4 (March 11, 2007)

I like the album art. It's different than what most bands use for album art; I think it's pretty original.

BenAndThieves (March 10, 2007)

It's all good, Kursk. I understand where you're coming from, and I mostly agree with you. I've always thought of Hot Cross as a screamo band though, and didn't know what else to call them. If I said they were post hardcore, or emocore, or any of the other labels I've heard applied to this band, I'm sure that'd bother a lot of people too.

And to the person below me here, if you're going to be a douchebag on the Internet the least you could do is grow a pair and not post anonymously. Yes, I know Fair Trades And Farewells is an EP, and no, I did not feel it was neccessary for the sake of the review to point that out. I could have said records, discs, releases, or something else, but instead I chose to say albums and I didn't think about it much.

Anonymous (March 10, 2007)

Fair Trades and Fairwells is an EP not an album. If you're going to pretend you've liked a band for a long time, please do a bit of research first.
This review is awful.

Anonymous (March 10, 2007)

I've heard bands like My Chemical Romance and From First to Last called screamo, and I've heard bands like Converge and Ed Gein called screamo. The term is so overused.

And what's up with the whole rape thing being put up in every review?

Anonymous (March 10, 2007)

saetia was so much better

branden (March 10, 2007)

the cover art is fugly

Kursk (March 10, 2007)

As much as I do like the rough sound of Cryonics like you mentioned in the review, this album just blows it away. Yes, it IS much better produced but that coupled with how incredible the songs already are just makes this album incredible. And to Mr. BenAndThieves, I know you're using "screamo" in a good sense as in comparing them to the Gravity Records heyday, but nowadays I hate that word and it should no longer be used to describe a band like Hot Cross because it just draws wrong comparisons to them considering what people think of "screamo" as today.

This is my album of the year so far as well.

Anonymous (March 10, 2007)

this album is good. i approve, yeah.

- Borat

Anonymous (March 10, 2007)

kill_whitey and Elvis K-I-S-S-I-N-G in a tree

AnalCabbage (March 10, 2007)

This album fucking kills.
Let it sink in a bit if you can't stand bands not mass-producing the same sound.
Speaking of mass-producing the same sound, why does everyone jock Saetia's nuts? Not to take anything away from what they accomplished, but they don't warrant the same kind of attention as Orchid or plenty of other screamo acts.

BenAndThieves (March 9, 2007)

I meant to say screamo "band," not album.

BenAndThieves (March 9, 2007)

"please don't call hot cross screamo. especially if you mean it in terms of today's bastardized "screamo." kids that use that term these days have no idea who bands like Saetia even were."

I listen to Saetia, I know what real screamo is, and I don't believe I referred to Hot Cross as being of one of these "bastardized screamo" bands most kids are into.

Also, I really don't care if Hot Cross is technically a screamo album anymore, and I am not interested in splitting hairs over who fits into what genre. The point is this is a great album.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

This cds really just alright. I love me some Hot Cross but this lacks everything that was amazing about them. One of the guitarists left so the guitar is toned down a bit. Also the vocals are really tamed. It really changes the sound of hot cross in a bad way.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

please don't call hot cross screamo. especially if you mean it in terms of today's bastardized "screamo." kids that use that term these days have no idea who bands like Saetia even were.

Inspection12e (March 9, 2007)

I think they listened to that Holy Shroud album as much as I did.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

I have no idea what this kill_whitey and Elvis/Left Alone exchange is about, but could someone please explain?

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

Sorry for my compete ignorance, but what does this have to do with this record?

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

I think stuff like that definitely warrants boycotting a band or blacklisting them from underground media (As if Left Alone or Warped has anything to do with underground media in the first place). And Kevin deserves to be punished up there with the rapist for helping to cover up the crime. That is so entirely fucked up.


Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

it seems that all you would need to do to clear your name is to give a DNA sample...you should have done this back when there was an investigation if you were really innocent

yeah, but what if they still have his DNA on sample for all the rapes he DID commit

kill_whitey (March 9, 2007)

In response to the Elvis/Left Alone...i hadn't heard about this before...so i did a little research...i came across this interview with the girl...the whole thing is really fucked up...it seems that all you would need to do to clear your name is to give a DNA sample...you should have done this back when there was an investigation if you were really innocent

I was somewhat disturbed when I read the mention of a rape swept under the table. Can you elaborate on that?

Yes. We had a day off before the Calgary show. Everyone from the tour was hanging out and drinking. I was drinking a little bit, but I can never drink a lot because it dries out my vocal chords. So I have a rule that when Iā??m out I will never drink more than two drinks. Thatā??s just my way of keeping tabs on myself so I never blow it and end up not being able to sing the next day. Any vocalist will tell you they do that.

I was sitting on the steps playing guitar and around 11:00pm I went inside to go to the bathroom. When I was going back Hector from Epitaph waved me in to the bar and offered me a drink. I took it but I remember drinking it very slowly because that would be my last drink. I was also leaving it at the table and running around to talk to a million people, like an asshole. I was sitting at a table with a bunch of people from the tour who I was just meeting for the first time.

All of a sudden, I started to get sick and dizzy, and feeling like I couldnā??t stand. I remember being worried about how I was going to get out of there and get back to Kristina. I donā??t remember anything else. I woke up the next morning with pain and blood in my vagina. The tour had left, so I called a cab and when I got there, I told Kristina and we went to the hospital. I got a rape kit done, they found semen, hairs and 4 inch lacerations in my vagina. They were concerned and I was too, because a predator on the Warped Tour could hurt so many people.

They called in sex crime detectives, who were wonderful. I spent the next week trying to find out what happened subtly. I found out that sometime around 12 or 12:30am I was seen in the room belonging to Bedoin Soundclash, whom I was friendly with and thought they were good kids. In the room with me were most of a band called Left Alone. I was told by the people who saw me, Patrick from Bedouin Soundclash and Elvis from Left Alone, that I wasnā??t drinking, seemed out of it and was complaining of my stomach hurting. I also found out that the room I had slept in was Elias and Sobeā??s, who worked for Volcom. I never found out how I got from the bar upstairs and who had brought me there.

A week later my detectives called the production office looking to get statements from the people I found out had seen me. When that happened, Kevin Lyman, got involved and promised me that it was the most important thing and he didnā??t tolerate rape and he would going to find this person. I told him everything I knew about the night.

Then he talked to Elvis from Left Alone, who apparently told him that I was wasted, and trying to have an orgy with his band when he saw me, and that I was sitting on his bed wear a short skirt being provocative. Elvis told everyone on the tour that I wanted it, in addition he refused to serve any of my friends at the nightly barbeque. The one time I tried to confront him about his lies, he cursed at me, spit at me, and told me if I didnā??t shut my mouth, I would regret it.

After he did that I left because I was really truly scared of what they would do to me. I never felt safe. I never felt like is something else happened to me, beyond being raped, that anyone would step up and stop it. I lived in constant anxiety, nightmares, agoraphobia, and panic, which is normal for someone who has suffered rape, but was extremely exacerbated by the total lack of support from everyone except Dana and Kristina.

When I tried to go to the people I had thought were my friends for help, (Patrick and Eon from Bedouin Soundclash, Kurt and Hector from Epitaph, and anyone from Elvisā?? band) they ignored me. Sobe who had been with Kristina the night I got raped, told us that his boss told all of them not to speak to any of us or answer any of our questions. He was scared to be seen with us.

Kevin Lyman also never talked to me once after our initial meeting. Because of that I assumed that the gag order had come down from him. But later he told me that it hadnā??t. At the very end of tour, when I finally approached him, he told me that he had known the whole summer I was terrified and that I thought that he ordered everyone to not talk to me, but he waited until I asked him flat out to tell me that it wasnā??t him. Even though he had known. After our initial meeting he never once contacted me or supported me in any way. At the end of the summer, he told me he didnā??t do anything because there was nothing he could do. It was just a matter for the police. Never mind that it was a traveling tour and the crime happened in Canada.

To get the production office to cooperate with my detectives was like pulling teeth. When I left the tour after Elvis threatened me, one of Kevinā??s assistants called me and told me that I owed it to Kevin to come back and not make a big deal about it because Kevin had paid me in room and board all summer. I eventually did go back because if I left and had taken the man power of my band with me, the Shira stage would not have made it through the summer.

Twice during the rest of the tour I arranged for police to come take blood samples from people on the tour. They took samples from every person whose name was in the report. But unfortunately since someone had told all of them not to talk about what they had seen, or who they had seen me with, we were unable to get blood samples from anyone that was actually considered a suspect. That was completely heartbreaking to me.

At the end of the summer, when Kevin heard me talking to a girl who worked in catering about what had happened, he came over and told me that I should know he really cares because in 4 years his daughter will be 14, and he is a feminist, that I should admit that he did everything he could to help me, and that if I am still feeling bad about it I should go see a psychiatrist when I get home.

If I were to truly explain to you how that made me feel, you would be left bleeding heavily in a bath of salt. That pain is something MY father has felt, my mother has felt when she still wakes me up from my nightmares weekly. It is a burden that will never ever be lifted from my beloved boyfriend, and my best friends in my band who have born the fallout.

I blame Kevin Lyman because unlike the person who drugged and raped me, he knows the difference between right and wrong, And unlike that person, Kevin was in a position of power. I definantly blame the rapist for his crime, but more than him I blame Kevin and Volcom and Epitaph, and everyone else who put money, and business over human decency. I blame everyone in a position of power who looked the other way and let the criminal get away with it.

Kevin Lyman claiming his concern for me on the life of his daughter has burned me since the words came out of his mouth. And if anyone asks me why I waged war on the entire United States of America over this issue, I will tell you right now. It is for her. Because her father was too weak.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

Another great album by HC!!

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

Yeah, the previous albums were fucking amazing, but they deffinately stayed consistent with this one. It's really fucking good.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

"such a huge let down. i don't want this to be hot cross. what the fuck happened to the band that recorded "a new set of lungs"?"

they changed their sound almost immediately after that release about seven years ago? pretty sure that's what happened.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

so. i had NEVER listened to this band (maybe at the most one mp3 of the week if there ever was one, but i dont really remember)

anyway, when this came out, i saw it in best buy and bought it on a whim since i read how much this band is liked on this site and i was hurtin for new music.

its a fuckin great cd. the production sounds great to me.

i dont know if its because i have never heard their "good" records, but i dont get the complaining, this cd is pretty rocking

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

I wonder what the other version of this album sounded like.....before they re-recorded the whole damn thing

colin (March 9, 2007)

biggest fucking disappointment of the year so far.

the production is awful.
the vocals are terrible.

such a huge let down. i don't want this to be hot cross. what the fuck happened to the band that recorded "a new set of lungs"?

don't call it progress, this is just terrible.

Archangel (March 9, 2007)

Then why a score of only 8?

Also -- Hot Cross is considered screamo? I know all the members' original bands qualify, but I must be a little out of touch.

bryne (March 9, 2007)

So good it hurts.

canaandrumz (March 9, 2007)

Spot on review. This album has so much intensity and ferocity behind it.

Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

I know that everyone thinks that I'm the guy responsible for raping Calentura's singer at Warped last year, but someone in the comments section of the review of our latest split said that, actually, the rapist was "Sobe" of Volcom Entertainment, and that he's been tried and "locked up." Can anyone confirm the validity of this statement? Anyone?

Review in question: http://www.punknews.org/review/5712


Anonymous (March 9, 2007)

Pretty good review. One of my favorite reviews in a long time.

This CD kicks ass. Especially "Finance Fuels the Sickness at Heart". That song is so awesome.

Their best album to date, IMO. They changed a little, but the production value and the overall change make it be much better than it was before.

Best screamo record in a long time.

inagreendase (March 9, 2007)

Not quite what I was expecting but still pretty fucking good. Mostly spot-on review. Boland just tears through this thing. Track 7 can barely be considered the "let-up;" it's just unrelenting.

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