Band Website: www.progressrec.com/cross/discography.html
Label: Progress Records
Label Website: www.progressrec.com
Release Date: 2009
The path to this latest release from Cross has been a tortured one involving a great deal of physical and mental pain having to do with hearing loss and tinnitus. But the good news is that band founder Hansi Cross appears to be on the mend and has completed the bandís ninth CD entitled The Thrill of Nothingness. And fans of Cross will not be disappointed. This time around the band is made up of Cross (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Goran Johnsson (keyboards, harmony vocals, tambourine), Lollo Andersson (bass) and Tomas Hjort (drums, percussion). Assistance on some tracks comes from Bruno Edling (vocals), Tomas Bodin (Mini Moog) and Kent Kroon (acoustic guitar).
The promo material announcing the release of The Thrill of Nothingness says itís a logical continuation of the previous two releases Secrets and Playgrounds with a focus on a slightly more 70ís sounding production. Now I really liked those two releases and after listening to this new disc thatís a fair assessment. The seven compositions on this release stylistically have their roots in the Trick of the Tail era of Genesis. The sound is crisp, clean and bright; symphonic prog at itís finest. Thereís a nice mix of three short [as short as 4:20] and four long [as long as 12:20] compositions, two of which are instrumentals. The music is complex featuring songs made up of many parts and many changes. Nothing is hurried about the music here. As prog should do, time is devoted to creating just the right musical mood. If a tune requires a minute or two of acoustic guitar or keyboards to introduce the next segment, so be it. Itís a very organic feel, as the music quite literally evolves before your ears. Moods change as does tone and tempo and yet melody pervades throughout. Cross craft some very catchy musical hooks that are quite memorable and pleasing to my ears. One minute a song will be rolling along with the emphasis on major chords and then the next minute it suddenly it flip-flops and becomes dark and dramatic with powerful minor chords. This then opens up to grand flourishes and huge swells of keyboards, guitars and bass pedals.
Iíll freely admit that the style of symphonic prog created by Cross is my favorite. I love the grand epic nature of these pieces of music and Iím willing to bet if you love the music of Genesis, Flower Kings IQ et al this new release from Cross will spend many hours on your CD player. The Thrill of Nothingness is a must purchase for symphonic prog fans and gets an unqualified recommendation from me.