Cross are one of the most spectacular, and, at the same time, seemingly one of the most underrapreciated bands on the modern progressive rock scene. The Swedes have been around now for quite some time, delivering one solid album after another, and this latest release Wake Up Call is certainly no exception. Band leader, and Progress Records boss Hansi Cross once again handles the guitars, vocals, and bulk of the keyboards, along with drummer Tomas Hjort, bassist Lolio Andersson, and a few guest musicians who flesh out the songs with additional keyboards, vocals, and violin.
The somewhat heavier approach of the last few releases is again evident here, mixing quite well with their symphonic prog sound. Opener "Human Resolution" is a gorgeous song, kicking off with thunderous guitar riffs that wouldn't sound out of place on a Dream Theater album, before the sumptuous keyboards and catchy vocal harmonies settle in, as the band show their vintage Genesis and Marillion influences. After the short instrumental interlude "Remembrance" (again, reminded of classic Genesis here), the band offer up the upbeat and quite symphonic "Falling Beyind", an 11-minute track littered with tasty keyboards, lyrical guitar solos, and lush, understated vocals. On "Racing Spirits", the band again pile up the crunchy guitar riffs alongside some splendid keyboard passages, while the haunting 17-minute epic "Waking Up" is a must hear for lovers of atmospheric, adventurous prog rock. The lovely violin lines work quite well next to the soothing keyboards and tasty guitar solos, and the vocals are simply intoxicating. The CD also includes a bonus track, the song "Now", which originally was supposed to be a Cross song back in 2001, but the events of 9/11 led the band to cancel the recording of their album and instead the song was donated to the band Spektrum to use. Hansi and the band now have recorded it themselves, and it's a good symphonic rocker. For those who know the Spektrum version now can compare the two versions and see which was one more successful.
Wake Up Call comes in a nice digipack with glorious green tinted artwork, though the lyrics in the booklet are extremely hard to read. Overall this is a lovely work from a band that never fails to deliver melodic, adventurous, and symphonic progressive rock of the highest quality.
1. Human Resolution (9:02)
2. Remembrance (1:10)
3. Falling Beyond (11:08)
4. Racing Spirits (4:33)
5. Waking Up (17:28)
6. Now (Bonus Track) (10:02)