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CROSS

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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Cross biography
The career of this Swedish band spans over 8 albums (including a mini-symphony cd) released between 1988 and 2004. Their music has evolved from smooth, floydian like to dark, almost Crimsonesque proportions over the years. Their style could generally be described as heavy, complex neo-prog with a strong emphasis on melody. The band was founded by ex-VON LYX guitarist Hansi Cross whose highly emotional guitar work (sometimes reminiscent of Steve Hackett's) gives the band a sound approaching that of IT BITES. As for Cross' vocals, they are slightly reminiscent of Dave GILMOUR's.

Their first three albums - which are grouped on the compilation disk "Dream Reality" -offer a mixture of long epics interspersed with a few pop songs; they are mostly reminiscent of PINK FLOYD and TWELFTH NIGHT, and perhaps to some extent GENESIS circa "Wind and Wuthering" but with a heavy approach. The following four albums (starting with "Paradox") are heavier, darker, and somewhat akin to RUSH, ECHOLYN or ANEKDOTEN. They feature long melodic guitar solos with spacious keyboards but also bear enough time signatures to remind you of KING CRIMSOM. Their latest release, "Playgrounds", is a bit more tame and spacey.

Not essential but the first three albums may interest you if you're into GALLEON or GRAND STAND. The heavier sound of their later albums will appeal more to fans of ANEKDOTEN, LANDBERK and MORTE MACABRE.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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CROSS discography


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CROSS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 16 ratings
Uncovered Heart
1988
3.13 | 18 ratings
Second Movement
1990
3.14 | 16 ratings
III- Changing Poison Into Medecine
1993
3.29 | 20 ratings
Gaze
1996
3.09 | 19 ratings
Visionary Fools
1998
3.55 | 27 ratings
Secrets
2000
3.54 | 35 ratings
Playgrounds
2004
3.90 | 44 ratings
The Thrill Of Nothingness
2009
3.81 | 74 ratings
Wake Up Call
2012
3.79 | 28 ratings
Da Capo
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
Halfway to Somewhere
2017
3.92 | 7 ratings
Opus Eleven
2020

CROSS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CROSS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CROSS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 10 ratings
Dream Reality
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Visionary Fools (Remixed and Refixed)
1998

CROSS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 6 ratings
Paradox
1995

CROSS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Halfway to Somewhere by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Halfway to Somewhere
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars When I opened the envelope and discovered two Cross albums inside, together with press releases, it was something of a shock and I actually had to sit down. The reason being is that Hansi used to be a friend of mine, and we swapped numerous emails when I was running Feedback in the UK, as I not only reviewed five albums by his band but also many other artists he released on his label. I lost touch with him when I attempted to drop out of the music scene on moving to New Zealand in 2006, but I was fully aware he had passed away far too young in 2017 as he approached his 57th birthday. Now here I was with two Cross albums being released on a label I also thought was no more.

Which one to play first? Oh well, whichever comes to hand, which was this one. One of the things about Cross the band, was that at times it was just Cross the person, while at others it was a full band and at others it was a small band with guests, so many musicians were involved over the years. This album is credited to Hansi on vocals and guitars, along with Olle Siljeholm (organ, synthesizers), Robert Iversen (drums, percussion) and Thomas Christensen (bass), so basically the 'Visionary Fools' line-up from 1998, apart from Thomas who played on the previous album 'Gaze" (1996) ? this latter just happened to be the first Cross album I ever reviewed, 25 years ago! This release was viewed as to be a "best of" compilation, but half of the songs are previously unreleased versions while the other half are previously unreleased at all. When looking at the CD cover, I noticed that eight of the songs were recorded in 1997, which got me thinking and that infernal computer in my brain started chunking out information, which led me over to Discogs to see if my memory was correct ? I wish I knew why I am seemingly unable to remember important information but when it comes to music, it just sticks! Back in 1996 Cyclops Records released 'Gaze', which was the fourth Cross album but the first to be released in the UK, with the other three albums already deleted. That went so well that Cyclops agreed to release a compilation of material from the first three albums, but Hansi being Hansi decided to either remix, remaster, or straight-out re-record some of the songs, and these were all then released as 'Dream Reality'. So, the Cross line-up on this album is actually the 'Dream Reality' line-up from 1997 and looking at that album I can see that most of the alternative versions included here also appeared on that release, although that is not to say they are the same versions.

But what about the music? I do not know if my views have changed over the years, or if it is the album itself, but to me this feels far fresher and interesting than the albums Cross released at that time. This is solid neo-prog, very much in keeping with the music being released at the time, yet Hansi often came across as more of a rock singer than one from prog, with far more edge and aggression in his voice. The band are incredibly tight, really locked in, and there are long instrumental passages where Hansi takes the lead with some wonderful rock guitar, complex with plenty of widdly but also with stacks of aggression. There are also times when he links in strongly with Olle in complex duets, and the end result is something while obviously somewhat dated due to the style and time it was recorded, is still really enjoyable and a load of fun. I must confess that it is some years since I last played a Cross album, but I am going to get them back down off the shelves and reacquaint myself with a band who these days are certainly not as well-known as they should be. Well done everyone for getting behind this and making these recordings available.

 Opus Eleven by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 7 ratings

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Opus Eleven
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Here is the final album from Cross, containing five songs (one an instrumental). Although much of the recording had been completed at the time of Hansi' death, it was still down to his bandmates and friends to complete the album as fitting tribute and memoriam to him. I do not know what had been finished, or even if it had been agreed that Nad Sylvan would be involved as although Hansi had used other singers in the past it was also not unusual for him to undertake all the vocals himself. But to be honest none of that really matters, as this does sound very much like a Cross album, and not one which was completed after his passing. Playing this reminded me very much of Harry Chapin's 'The Last Protest Singer' which was released in almost identical circumstances, with the band completing the album after Harry had died in a car crash, yet that sounds as if it fully belongs in the canon and is one of my favourite albums of his. The same is true here.

I am sure that one of the reasons behind that is the dedication of those involved to ensure they were producing a worthy tribute to their friend. They were determined to produce something which would accurately reflect what Hansi would have wanted, to the best of their knowledge and ability. Hansi provides vocals, guitars, and keyboards, but there is also another singer, another guitarist, and another keyboard player, yet it is not possible to hear the join. All those involved have ensured everything has been completed in the way Hansi would have wished, yet also kept it bright and fresh. The result is something that still has neo-prog roots, yet also moves into a more symphonic style. There are times when we get more harmony vocals than I would have expected, but they are tasteful and not out of place with the album as a whole. The guitar is still providing that choppy lead, with keyboards right behind, with his old friend Thomas Christensen providing wonderfully warm bass.

This is a great tribute to Hansi, who stares up at us from the rear of the booklet and is also a really enjoyable album. Many progheads will not previously come across Cross, so use this album to discover a great musician and band, with an album which is really enjoyable throughout.

 III- Changing Poison Into Medecine  by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.14 | 16 ratings

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III- Changing Poison Into Medecine
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Unfortunately at a time when Hansi Cross was dreaming for a career within the prog community, his main collaborator Benny Hadders was thinking of quiting not only from Cross but actually from music.Under these circumstances the third album, and this was going to be a really long one, started with Hadders as the drummer, but had to be completed with a couple of guests sitting on the drum stool plus some programmed percussion.By 1993 Cross listed himself and Tai as the only regular members of the band and ''Changing poison into medicine'', the new album, featured several guests on keyboards, guitar, bass and voices.LyxVax was again the running label, on which the album was released.

At least the direction of the band was the proper one, I guess that the emerge of a few full-blown Prog acts from the area (Sweden was one of the greatest contributors in Prog Rock's 90's revival) had something to do with the fact.Of course Cross had no intention to sound like a Retro Prog band, but they had now refined the familiar influences and decided to divide the album in long and emphatic proggy compositions and some Pop tracks, which still hold interest from a progressive point of view.''Changing poison into medicine'' can be properly labeled as a Neo Prog album, there are some strong insprations from 75'-77' GENESIS throughout the album to go along with the modern qualities, plenty of synthesizers, propulsive rhythms, instant melodies and a slight AOR/Hard Rock pomposity.But the tracks sound pretty well balanced, the material is memorable, some keyboard and guitar passages are trully fascinating, while the symphonic elements begin to become clearly detectable in several tracks.Hansi was always a talented man and by producing a 75+ min. album he secured that some of the material would be really great, cause this work is not extremely consistent as a whole.But the longer pieces are cool with dramatic atmospheres and dreamy instrumental parts, even if a richer sound is missing, while the short ones contain some nice ideas and rockin' themes.

Period Prog by Hansi Cross on this one, more or less a Neo Prog album with melodic, light symphonic and pompous orientations and an evident AOR essence.Still an improvement over the pair of Cross' initial works, featuring series of impressive melodies and a few enganging instrumental leaks.Recommended, especially if the poppier side of Prog is your thing.

 Second Movement by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.13 | 18 ratings

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Second Movement
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Hansi Cross along with Benny Hadders opened a new studio, the Progress Studio, to work on Cross' albums.For their second work ''Second movement'' Christian Andre received a full-time membership on keyboards and Jonas Olson returned to help on bass.While all tracks were more or less finished, Cross and Hadders met Tai, a singer who played in the past with Andre, and he was given the chance to sing about half of the written material.The recordings were finished with Idde Schultz on backing voices and Egba's Ulf Adåker guesting on sax.Another private CD by the group, which was released in 1990.

During the first half of the album the main weakness of Cross' early days is again apparent.Despite their love for Prog music, the group insisted on delivering Hard Rock/AOR-oriented material with minor progressive values, fronted by the raw vocals of new singer Tai, the either melancholic guitar lines or the dynamic riffing and the cinematic keyboards.Typical sound of the time, often with an Arena/Glam Rock attitude and characterized by full energy, compact songwriting but no evident signs of personality.Very standard material for fans of the style.Towards the end the album will be saved from falling into total cheesiness.''Fanfare song'' is all instrumental, featuring a great combination of symphonic and orchestral synthesizers with a couple of nice guitar solos and the long ''Fire'' eventually sees Cross trying to come up with a real Prog Rock composition.The general atmosphere recalls ENCHANT or Belgians NOW, a nice piece of Neo Prog and FLOYD-ian textures, passing through very melodic soundscapes, catchy grooves, surprising breaks and light symphonic orientations in the keyboard/piano lines, featuring also some good singing and flashy keyboards, although the production is far from great, as during the whole release.The closing ''Yearning'' comes as closest as it gets to PINK FLOYD, a cinematic instrumental outro with DAVID GILMOUR-like interrupting guitar soloing and spacey effects.

Decent material, but not exactly that good to be warmly appreciated.Cross seem to reach the right path at the end of the album, but there is still some distance to go.Recommended to fans of AOR-friendly Prog...2.5 stars.

 The Thrill Of Nothingness by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.90 | 44 ratings

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The Thrill Of Nothingness
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Gaze by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.29 | 20 ratings

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Gaze
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by proghaven

5 stars This album was reviled immediately on release and is still being reviled. Reviled by all together, in the yo-heave-ho mode. Try to find a positive feedback about this album, and you will seek very long. And it's not too hard to understand why. Gaze is too experimental for neo-prog. I don't mean experimental rhythms (though yes the rhythm is changing unexpectedly, unpredictably and even absurdly from time to time), or arrangements, or instrumentation, but experiments in melody making and musical theme constructing. Cannot say exactly whose manner all those illogical, discording, sometimes almost ugly sequences of accords, all those 'dissonances in consonance' could remind. Maybe a sort of Penderecki, Shchedrin and Ginastera rebuilt for neo-prog. Gaze is not typical for Hansi Cross and far from what he did before; on the other hand, it is discomfortable for most of listeners' ears (otherwise it would not be criticized so much). But perhaps it may serve as a sort of experimental base, most likely on subconscious level, in the 'listened - disliked - rejected from memory - took a lesson' mode. This album can widen a musician's idea of what actions upon musical sounds are allowed. Of course Hansi Cross himself took all possible lessons from his own work, and what was illogical and absurd in Gaze turned into a logical and harmonious form on the later (and rated much higher) albums from Cross. But I also heard some echoes of Gaze, not obvious of course, in a few 2000s - 2010s releases from other artists, for example in Glass Hammer's Ode To Echo and Valkyrie, and in the late albums from Moongarden. Though there's a chance that the members of Glass Hammer and/or Moongarden never listened to Gaze before, but I think there's a greater chance that they did...
 Wake Up Call by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.81 | 74 ratings

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Wake Up Call
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What an incredible album! I can't think of enough to say about this band and their off-kilter style of prog rock. Sure, it's psychedelic and melodic; it's rockin' and a little weird, too. Yet, it remains one of my favorites for 2013!

This band has been around for a long time, but that doesn't keep them from bringing the modern prog sound. They seem to have influences such as Pink Floyd and the Beatles, as well as neo-prog in general. Those are just guesses, but you can pick them out pretty easily. It doesn't matter, though, because these guys have their own sound. Imagine the beautiful harmonies of the Beatles mixed with psychedelia and the strong guitars from neo-prog bands. That is Cross in a nutshell, and it's a great combination. This band deserves more attention, and I think this album will end up as one of my favorites for the year.

 Wake Up Call by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.81 | 74 ratings

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Wake Up Call
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by robbob

4 stars Well.

Cross: a swedish prog. band.A mix of symphonic and neo prog rock music.

Long time composing and playing.

We can feel that in this album:Wake Up Call

This is now a band with experience,solid ,credible.

Maybe in comparison to modern prog rock (the music of Big Big Train,Gazpacho,Anathema for example) today's Cross music is not very original....but is nice,well composed,good arrangements....good songs..solid.

This album shows a mix of concepts :Symphonic prog of Genesis (Phil Collins era -75-80) with mostly Neo-Prog of their fellows of Sweden GALLEON and British Pendragon.

Long beautiful songs.

Falling Beyond and Waking Up my favourite songs.

A very enjoyable album.

4 to 4,5 stars.

 Wake Up Call by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.81 | 74 ratings

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Wake Up Call
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by Ursa Minor

4 stars There is no doubt that Hansi Cross can write catchy tunes, take the opening track "Human Resolution" and track three "Falling Beyond" on this CD, both tracks are over nine minutes in length but both possess choruses that are memorable and appealing which are enhanced by Hansi's fine vocals, which is a great rock voice with no accent These two tracks are divided by the short and pleasant instrumental "Remembrance" which features initial acoustic guitar and then quiet keyboards. The fourth track "Racing Spirits" is also an instrumental which sounds mysterious and sinister in parts. This leads into the longest track on the album, the 18 minute piece "Waking Up" which is a mixture of all things that is good about prog music, there are quiet sections dominated by acoustic guitar which give way to excellent keyboard and guitar solos, there is also some nice violin thrown in for good measure before a long run off leads into the bonus track "Now". I understand this track dates from 2001 and was written by Hansi Cross for the Swedish band Spektrum and now appears as a bonus on this album. Guests on the album are Jock Millgardh (lead and harmony vocals), Mats Bender from Introitus (keyboards), Lizette Von Panajott formerly lead singer with Spektrum (voices), Stefan Damicolas from Brother Ape (harmony vocals) and Hannah Sundkvist and Sabina Cross on violins. The album is symphonic in parts but has its rockier moments and is certainly more raucous than "The Thrill Of Nothingness", no doubt a fine album worth a solid four stars. My only complaint about the album is the artwork, green writing on a green background makes it almost impossible to read the lyrics and the credits and has given me some eye strain, but never mind about that, buy the product and enjoy another album which continues the high quality that is expected from Swedish prog bands.
 Second Movement by CROSS album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.13 | 18 ratings

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Second Movement
Cross Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars This second I work of the Swedish band CROSS entitled "Second Movement", it pleased me even certain point, because, although it cannot consider a "masterpiece." the disk pleased in the sense that in spite to be classified in the category Nep-Prog, and to really have plenty elements of the style, it presents some variations, at least interesting, in relation to other styles of progressive as for instance the keyboards presence (eventually in duets with the guitar) playing in a timbre that simulates a brass orchestra, as in the case of Track 1 "Emergency" and still of Track 7 "Fanfarre Song" that approximates them of Symphonic-|Prog. Besides those two tracks it would like to highlight the Track 8 "Impregnable eyes" that presents a brilliant opening in the best style of Heavy-Prog or Prog-metal , however , there is no continuity in the development of the theme, although the track is very good. However, the disk left me with the clear impression that they could have conceived a more elaborated work in the sense of taking advantage of this easiness in "flirting" with other styles and in that way to please more fans of other styles of progressive music . My rate i 3 stars.
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