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David Cross

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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David Cross Testing To Destruction album cover
3.40 | 37 ratings | 5 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Learning Curve (6:33)
2. Calamity (8:59)
3. Welcome To Frisco (Live *) (6:49)
4. The Affable Mister G. (4:14)
5. The Swing Arm Disconnects (Live *) (7:15)
6. Tripwire (4:44)
7. Cycle Logical (Live *) (3:43)
8. Testing To Destruction (1:56)
9. Abo (12:22)

Total Time: 56:35

* Recorded at Flz Club in Berlin, Oct 1993

Line-up / Musicians

- David Cross / violins

- Sheila Maloney / keyboards, vocals
- Paul Clark / guitar
- John Dillon / lead vocals, bass
- Dan Maurer / drums

Releases information

Artwork: John Dillon

CD Red Hot Records ‎- CDR 107 (1994, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DAVID CROSS Testing To Destruction ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DAVID CROSS Testing To Destruction reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars All KING CRIMSON fans should know about David CROSS, as he was once the violinist and keyboardist in the band in the early 70's. He played on many of the classic KING CRIMSON albums such as "Lark's Tongue in Aspic", "Starless and Bible Black" and "Red". On this solo album from 1994 you can hear many reminiscences to KING CRIMSON. David's electric violin is always in the forefront of the music without being dominating: swirling, floating and sometimes it hits you right in the face. Five tracks are studio recordings, and four are recorded live at Flz Club, Berlin, October 1993. When you're buying a David CROSS album you'll never get disappointed. This album is as highly recommended as any other David CROSS release is. Go buy!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an excellent album from ex violin player of King Crimson. Nope, don't ever guess that the music is very close to KC. It's totally different, my friend. I can't help you in identifying the similarity of this album's music with any other bands. Yes, it has all violin sounds but it does NOT seem to close to ESPERANTO or KANSAS or GENTLE GIANT. It's just different. It's powerful! Here is my details .

"Learning Curve" is the kind of track that I fell in love with at first spin! It's a unique music. How unique is unique? I could hardly identify what sort of influences this composition has. It's so different with any other rock music I have ever heard; it' perfect. It has many shifting tempos in an upbeat rock scheme but with relatively stable tagline melody as its main structure. It's rocking and so stunning. Amazing music. The vocal line is unique (and again .. I fail to identify the similarity of vocal line with other singers of rock band.)

"Calamity" is another excellent track with more exploration of electric violin and keyboard with great melody. The other noticeable thing is the way the singer fills the vocal line. I would consider this track as ballad progressive rock. The sounds the play of violin accompanied by keyboard are really good. Yes, the style of violin may sometime close to King Crimson but I don't think that it's influenced by KC as it might be the this is David's style in composing violin-based lines.

Another excellent track is "The Affable Mr. G" with an upbeat tempo, it is a projecting an "energy" to its listeners. It has unique singing style with relatively stable musical rhythm to accompany the singer. This track is the most rocking one of the album! "The Swing Arm Disconnects" is an avant-garde kind of arrangement with violin exploration accompanied by percussion. "Tripwire" is a happy rhythm track with an upbeat tempo and jazzy style voice. It's nice.

The concluding track "Abo" (12:22) is probably the only track that you may claim as similar with King Crimson, even though it's not really close as the way keyboard sounds composed and singing style is totally different. This track is really excellent. It may be too long at intro but when the music flows, I is fascinating! The other thing that needs to be mentioned is the drumming style is similar (not the same) with BRUFORD's. Rating 4/5. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars David Cross is the lone bearer of the sound/tone of Larks Tongue era King Crimson. Heavy, brash, and powerful. Cross assembled a fearless group to perform this off- shoot of the KC family tree. Vocalist/Bassist John Dillion sounds like a cross between John Wetton's strained baritone and Roger Waters' manic delivery, which can at times, be either pleasant or grating, depending on the tune. Paul Clark, on guitars, is the perfect foil for Cross's fierce violin excursions. Razor sharp leads intertwine on nearly every track giving the solo spots a fusionesque edge. Sheila Maloney's keyboards add depth to the rhythm section with colorful chording and repeating motifs. Sheila rarely takes the lead, her sonic space fleshes out the overall textures. Dan Mauer keeps everything on track and consistently shifts between powerhouse bashing and odd metered grooves.

The opening track, Learning Curve, makes a strong statement. Cross wastes no time in bringing his violin to the forefront over an interesting bass/drum combo. Great lyrics and scorching vocals pull you right in. Calamity shifts and slithers between sweet ambience and spiraling solo workouts. The first two minutes of Welcome to Frisco are rather torturous. A violin can be melodic, soothing, exciting or downright ear-rippingly painful. Think; cats in the throws of passion. The tune does turn around and become more listenable further on, but those first moments cause my trigger finger to hit "skip." The Affable Mister G is another study in patience. Dillion's voice is filtered through device creating a sinister effect. This song my also cause the same automatic response as "Frisco." The Swing Arm Disconnects reminds me of the slowly evolving instrumentals of Fripp & Co, without the overwhelming crescendo.

Tripwire is the most accessible song on the album. Thirty-five years ago it would have garnered a lot of airplay. Almost Asia sounding with heartfelt vocals, catchy hooks and strong melodies. I added this track to my workout MP3 player. You can work up a sweat to this one. Cycle Logical sounds like they edited the ending of The Swing Arm Disconnects and made it a seperate track. The title track is a sound collage that really never takes off, disappointing. Abo follows the slowly building blueprint, drawing in an aboriginal drumming sequence and African vocal styled repeated phrase. The song proper begins at about 5 minutes. I get a strong John Wetton vibe at this point. A fine finish to an above average album. David Cross' best work will soon follow.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Calamity, my friend

My first experience with David Cross (outside of King Crimson) was his solo studio album Exiles and the live album Alive In The Underworld (the latter credited to The David Cross Band). The present album came just before Exiles and one of the tracks here, the opening Learning Curve, was also featured on Alive In The Underworld. It is a great track in both the studio and live versions. The highlight of Testing To Destruction is however the second track called Calamity. This is an excellent nine minute, progressive composition which tells the story of a shipwreck in a clever way. David Cross himself on violin and the band backing him up really shine here. Had the rest of the album been as good as the first two tracks we would be looking at a much higher rating from me, but sadly nothing of what comes after matches these first two tracks. The instrumental Welcome To Frisco functions like an extended coda to Calamity and may be seen as following the ship down to the bottom of the sea with its haunting cries and ghostly laments.

The Affable Mister G is an up-tempo track with a raw, almost Punk-ish feel. Not impressive. Next up is another instrumental, this time of an improvisational nature. The Swing Arm Disconnects goes nowhere and is much too long to keep my interest. Not my cup of tea. After this comes a track that on the first listen made me wonder if Spotify had shifted to another album altogether. Trip Wire is a bad Pop song that doesn't fit in here. This is then followed by another couple of aimless instrumentals, with the short title track being close to unlistenable. The final track, Abo, runs for 12 minutes. It is not bad, but it takes much too long to get off the ground and then there is not a lot of interesting things happening.

Testing To Destruction is recommended for Learning Curve and, especially, the excellent Calamity, but sadly the rest of the album is just not up to the same high standard which bring the rating down to two stars. Shame.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Two years passed since the previous album, and it seems in these two years not enough material was made for a new one. I'm guessing, of course. To me Testing to Destruction is a big disappointment compared to The Big Picture. About twenty minutes of its time are filled with instrumentals, recorde ... (read more)

Report this review (#78606) | Posted by LittleMan | Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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