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Cross: The Thrill of Nothingness

It's been five years since 2004's Playgrounds, but Sweden's Cross are back with The Thrill of Nothingness, an album that was intended for release in 2007, but due to band leader (and head of Progress Records) Hansi Cross coming down with a bad case of tinnitus and hyperacusis (sensitivity to sounds), this delayed matters a few years while he recouped enough to finish the CD. Here we are in 2009, and The Thrill of Nothingness is finally complete and available to prog fans throughout the world. Thankfully the rest of the band remained patient while Hansi overcame his illness, as this CD is a fine example of 70's inspired modern progressive work, and features the able talents of Goran Johnsson (keyboards, harmony vocals), Lollo Andersson (bass), and Tomas Hjort (drums) alonside Cross, who handles guitars, vocals, and additional keyboards.

Tunes such as "Universe Inside" and "Animation" simply scratch that itch for mid-late 70's period Genesis (when Phil Collins took over the vocal slot), as well as IQ, complete with soaring vocal harmonies, layers of vintage keyboard sounds, acoustic and electric guitars, tight rhythms, and memorable arrangements. The near 12-minute "Innocence" features some splendid drum work from Hjort, as well as plenty of engaging synth work from Johnsson. Add in the Hackett-esque lead work from Cross, some dreamy vocal sections, and moments of complex interplay, and you have what is basically a killer track. Hansi's aggressive guitar lines open up "Hope", a short instrumental on which the guitarist really focuses on some emotional lead work over atmospheric synths from Johnsson. The band mixes some melodic pop melodies with symphonic prog on the lengthy "Chameleons", and delivers a quirky instrumental in the form of "Magnifico Giganticus", complete with wild guitar lines and synth passages. The CDs epic finale, the near 13-minute "Eternity", kicks off with pastoral acoustic guitar & keyboard melodies before Hansi's majestic vocals come into play. From there the song morphs into a symphonic rocker featuring a wide array of keyboard textures and some stunning guitar solos, finally ending with a grand crescendo that quickly drops to a tranquil calm that will leave a big smile on your face.

There's a well trodden saying that goes something like 'this one was worth the long wait', but I think in this case, it's well worth repeating that worn out statement. The Thrill of Nothingness is a welcome return from Cross, and one of 2009's best symphonic progressive rock albums. Lovers of Trick of the Tail & Wind and Wuthering era Genesis will eat this up in a big way.


Tracklist:
1 Universe inside 7:44
2 Animation 4:47
3 Innocence 11:46
4 Hope 4:20
5 Chameleons 9:01
6 Magnifico Giganticus 5:00
7 Eternity 12:20

Added: November 30th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Progress Records
Hits: 4071
Language: english

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