Hot Cross - Cryonics (Cover Artwork)

Hot Cross

Cryonics (2003)

Level Plane

Frenetic. Abrasive. Unabashed. [Adjective]. Do these words describe your favorite band? If so, then you should already own Cryonics by our friends from Level Plane, Hot Cross. Just so things aren't awkward, I'll introduce the band: Hot Cross is a five-piece that's heavy on the ex-member status (Saetia, Off Minor, Neil Perry, and You and I are some of the bands members have previously been in), but that's not the only thing they're heavy on! To someone who has never heard of this band, imagine fret-burning riffs, chaotic drum beats, and insane vocal dynamics (sometimes three people sing at once!). By the way, they go by the names of Greg, Josh, Casey, Billy, and Matt. Hey guys.

Hot Cross is hardcore, but in no way the chugga-chugga, growling/whining way that seems to be the thing to do as of late. I could say something cliché like they are breathing a fresh breath of air into the hardcore scene, but I won't. What they're doing isn't new or unheard of, but it's a little different from the norm and whatever it is, it really works. One highlight track on the album, "Pretty Picture Of A Broken Face," exemplifies the three descriptions I touched upon earlier. The guitar interplay is amazing on this song, as are the vocals. Listening to three people each shout/scream/yell/sing something different, but still have it flow melodically is just breathtakingly awesome. The drums make me want to have a seizure, in an acceptable way. There is a certain element of danceability to Hot Cross' songs on Cryonics, as well. "Dissertation: 14" is a prime example: the driving beginning will make you want to do that snake thing with your arms, and at the half-minute mark you'll be pretending to get shot (the drums sound like machine guns!). The rest of the song you'll spend just seizing all over the place.

What I'm getting at is most of this album is insane and spastic, like a seizure. Fear not, epilepsy victims, however, for the dynamics on this album allow for quiet, soothing moments too ("A Tale For The Ages" is a spaz-free, relaxing jam). There's even a nice instrumental ("Frozen By Tragedy") towards the end of the album. Speaking of instrumentals, the lyrics on this album aren't too shabby, either. One of the best lines on the album appears in the first song, "Fortune Teller": "Fuck not lest ye be fucked." Simple, yet they hit you in the face when spat from the mouth of vocalist Billy Werner. The lyrics aren't poetry, but they're leagues ahead of some of the current crap that passes (A Static Lullaby what?).

Cryonics is a great album, one that I think was overshadowed by Shai Hulud's release this year (they were both released on the same day). If you like radically killer guitar riffs, totally wacky vocals (with up to three singers!), and spastic drums, then I'd say this album is for you. Oh yeah, seizures too. If you're into seizures, get this.