AlbumsNovember 29, 201111,115 views

Hot Cross Risk Revival

01. Exits and Trails 02. Turncoat Revolution 03. Resent Resist Rebuild 04. Fire the Foundations 05. Cardiac Silence 06. Kill the Name 07. Silence Is Failure 08. Fatefully (MP3) 09. Existence 10. Rejoinder 11. Finance Fuels the Sickness at Heart 12. Blame Truth 13. Scrape Wisdom
2007 Equal Vision Records, Hope Division
Our score 8

by Cory

After the inevitable implosion of the volatile punk and hardcore movements of the 80's, post-hardcore was born. These musical evolutions represented a more melodic and musically thoughtful direction from artists and scenes that had outgrown their primal aggression. Similarly, when members of Saetia, Neil Perry and You and I (among many, many others) banded together to form Hot Cross, their output took a step forward in the evolution of the genre those bands helped establish. While the acts from which the band was formed may have been more than a bit removed from early hardcore, Hot Cross takes many of their musical cues from that first wave of post-hardcore acts like Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu and Quicksand. The songs are aggressive and melodic but the chord progressions and arrangements often defy the conventional standards by which those terms are measured. Risk Revival is the band's second proper full-length album and their first in almost four years. Fans of Cryonics shouldn't be disappointed by the direction the band has gone in this time around, as Hot Cross has stuck in many ways to the formula that made that album a success. There's very little gloss or studio sheen on Risk Revival, in keeping with the band's past approach to recording, but there is a bit more depth to the sound captured here. The sound is just as genuine but somehow fuller and it's evident when comparing the two albums side by side. Former guitarist Josh Jakubowski helmed this recording and his familiarity with the group definitely seems to have paid off. While the album had apparently been recorded with Mike Hill (of Anodyne and Versoma), it was apparently re-done, largely for performance reasons, and that decision seems to have been a good one as well. Unlike many bands that play this fast-paced chaotic brand of rock, Hot Cross have recorded their latest album with equal amounts of charisma and precision. Guitarist Casey Boland's work admirably fills the potential void from the departure of Jakubowski. Billy Werner's vocals remain distinctive, even if there aren't as many immediately memorable lyrics this time around. The disc begins with a Spanish-style guitar interlude before blasting into opener "Exits and Trails." The track perfectly embodies what Risk Revival is all about with its sensibly continuous guitar themes playing out over varying tempos and unassumingly powerful melodic vocals accenting Werner's always-intelligible shouting a la Ian MacKaye. "Turncoat Revolution" kicks things up a notch in intensity and supplies some of the disc's most thought-provoking lyrics. What especially stands out about Risk Revival is its ability to sound cohesive without ever settling into a predictable groove. It's a record that won't let the listener forget that it's on and demands one's attention. Carefully placed drum hits, new riffs and off-time backing vocals, as in "Cardiac Silence," can be jarring but always ultimately fit and make sense in the song. The only real shortcoming to be found in Risk Revival is the apparent refusal to step outside the band's comfort zone. I'm not surprised to hear a dozen great songs from Hot Cross after four years. I am surprised however that in four years the band's members haven't pushed themselves a bit farther. They may not have needed to fix what wasn't broken, but logically, this album doesn't quite have the impact that Cryonics did when it was released. "Silence Is Failure" might sound drastically different than the rest of the album with its crawling pace and layered tracks, but its ultimately just a slower version of what Hot Cross has done before. Bottom Line: Hot Cross' Risk Revival is another in a line of great releases and a suitable follow-up to Cryonics. Strong performances, fitting production and generally high quality songwriting make up for the stylistic complacency the band exhibits on their sophomore LP. This record was one of my most anticipated releases for years and it didn't disappoint. Risk Revival is one of the first truly exciting albums of 2007.


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heavenbelow_ 3/16/2007 3:09:36 PM

first post. Great album!

notbroodle enuff_ 3/16/2007 3:09:57 PM

First post horrible band worse CD No care ever

anonymous 3/16/2007 3:21:58 PM

first post!

b_a_ 3/16/2007 5:19:42 PM

good cd.

hannah_ 3/16/2007 5:55:50 PM

8/10 is fair, good album.... hot cross recording> hot cross live sadly :/

anonymous 3/16/2007 6:04:54 PM

way to not describe the sound at all, you pretentious gay

panzer_ 3/16/2007 6:57:37 PM

i have a couple friends that are really into this album but the guys pinched vocals just rub me the wrong way.

metalcore_ 3/16/2007 8:22:34 PM

This record is definitely the band's best. some care sometimes.

frank_ 3/16/2007 10:24:26 PM

WHY the f*ck are cory's reviews ONLY bearable to read from the bottom up?

Pat_McRoch_ 3/16/2007 11:39:39 PM

Great band with a great pedigree with another great album. Go listen to your new album from Facedown or Victory, you (unappreciative) whiners.

ryu_vs_ken_ 3/17/2007 4:09:14 AM

i love this band forever

yeahdude_ 3/17/2007 7:48:33 AM

what happened to this band? shit record, f*ck what you guys think.

steve dave_ 3/17/2007 2:53:41 PM

way to know your shit about the bands you review

Cory_ 3/17/2007 3:15:04 PM

fair trades and farewells was technically an EP, despite it's 35 minute running time.

mikecole_ 3/17/2007 5:33:03 PM

by far the weakest release. cryonics> fair trades > risk revival we wont include a new set of lungs. probably could not be more off on the comment about how this band is staying to their comfort zone. there has definitely been a change in sound and if we include a new set of lungs its a completely different band. mediocre release from a band that used to be my favorite. bummer.

xtroyx_ 3/17/2007 5:36:19 PM

every release from hot cross has been worthwhile. when i first got risk revival i was listening to it straight for days on end.

ronniefuckingdobbs_ 3/19/2007 9:22:08 PM

good album, pretty good review Cory.

badaxe_ 3/20/2007 12:50:02 PM

Shit review. Cory, just stop, you have no idea what the f*ck is going on.

thereapersson_ 3/21/2007 12:40:58 AM

I don't know what you gays are looking for, this f*cking CD is great.

crucifucked_ 4/11/2007 7:52:30 PM

quality record