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4 stars The Thrill of Nothingness marks the latest chapter in the Cross saga, and I would say this is the strongest Cross album to date. Its funny, I dont think frontman Hansi Cross realizes just how good they are when they go acoustic, because it is so rare and brief when they do. But those brief and rare moments are wonderful.

For the most part, the album is heavy, with big chords, and emotional melodies. Hansi's electric guitar playing is excellent, with touches of Andy Latimer and Allan Holdsworth. The one thing that would make this album stronger is a great vocalist. Hansi's voice is probably similar in quality to Steve Howe's. However, much of the album is instrumental.

The first six tracks are very much in keeping with the high quality of 'Secrets' and 'Playgrounds'. No complaints there, (especially 'Innocence' with its powerful chord progressions.) But, then comes.'Eternity', which is easily my favorite Cross song to date. This is a wonderful track, carrying an almost magical Genesis-type feel. A wonderful way to close the album.

The limited edition includes a disc 2, 'The Thrill of Somethingness', which is just about as good as disc one. A bit more variety on this one perhaps, and like the first disc, quite consistantly good. My only complaint is that music of this calibre needs a singer to match.

Report this review (#260012)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
4 stars It can be a bit of a discouragement when certain bands just don't get the attention they deserve. It's so frustrating, I'll admit. I'll try and try to support and share a band, but sometimes people just don't pay attention. Or maybe they don't connect. Like I said, it's frustrating.

Cross is such a band. I've tried at every opportunity to get some chatter going about them, but to no avail. Cross' 2012 album "Wake Up Call" is simply of the best that year, and there were many reasons why. I feel that this 2009 album "The Thrill of Nothingness" also captures those same feelings I had. Cross is band that utilizes some rather unique ideas. They combine a psychedelic, airy atmosphere of keys with hefty drums, strong bass guitar (seriously amazing stuff), and very pointed and direct lead guitar. The guitar, especially, is very deliberate and strongly performed. However, all of this is mixed with a vocal style that is reminiscent of The Beatles. I'm not sure that is the correct correlation, but it's the first one that comes to mind. The harmonization is what really spurs that in my mind, I think.

So, then, Cross, having existed since the late 80s, has a firm foundation. But they are always experimenting with backwards-sounding riffs and melodies, spacey elements, and downright freaky structures. I think that it what caught my ear, as they are just different.

"The Thrill of Nothingness" is not as good as their newest album, for sure. However, it's close. The album has a bit more of a "sameness" between tracks, but that may just be because "Wake Up Call" features such different compositions. That said, this album is fantastic. It is fast paced, synthy, and lyrically profound. It is delicate, lush, and hovering, if you will. The instruments are definitely the focus on this release, but that's just fine as the instrumental passages feel rather inspired for the most part.

So, while this release is not as catchy or as perfect as their newest release, it still contains amazing hooks, as in "Chameleons"; excellent instrumental passages, as in "Innocence"; and a pensive, delicate nature, as in "Eternity". Do yourself a favor and listen to anything from this band. Cross is an exceptional band that is criminally unknown.

Report this review (#1078417)
Posted Sunday, November 17, 2013 | Review Permalink

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