The opening track in “Exits and Trails” shows how intense Hot Cross can really be. The style of music that they play cannot be easily categorized. Of course, there are hints of Rise Against and Bauhaus present, but there are also hints of hardcore and metal that are strewn throughout tracks like the aforementioned “Exits and Trails”.
The thing that Hot Cross first introduces to their listeners on “TRisk Revival” has to be the extended track length of the songs on this disc. This means that instead of being like Agoraphobic Nosebleed or acts of their ilk, Hot Cross comes up with longer tracks, allowing the band to really tell a story where other acts have not. The band is able to change up their style in mi-stream while not wrecking the flow of the track. Just listen to the end of “Exits of Trails” for this, as the multiple-person chorus gives the track a level of catchiness that is strong. The guitar during the beginning of “Turncoat Revolution” is similarly catchy, while the vocals occupy a much more Thought Riot-like place. Again, there is a high level of energy while Hot Cross brings the power and the fury at all points. “Fire the Foundations” is a track that slows things up slightly. It is almost as if Hot Cross has picked up some Replacements and Husker Du albums and blended them together with some Pere Ubu and Black Flag to come up with the exotic style that is common during this track.
What is something that individuals will like about Hot Cross is the fact that on “Risk Revival” that they are able to craft such a diverse sound between and within tracks while still having enough in the way of threads linked through each track to give the whole of the disc a cohesive sound. Perhaps the strongest track on this disc has to be “Kill the Name”, where the band moves between pit-worthy hardcore-influenced punk and stoner rock riffs, all while traveling 120 miles per hour down the road that is “Risk Revival”. Hot Cross is an act that I had not heard much about before picking up this CD, but their travails will be something that I pay attention to after hearing this disc. This act is right up there with acts like Righteous Jams and Coheed in sheer talent levels. Give “Risk Revival” a few spins.
Top Tracks: Kill the Name, Fire the Foundations
Hot Cross – Risk Revival / 2007 Equal Vision / 13 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/hotcross / http://www.hopedivison.com / Reviewed 24 February 2007