Review Summary: A promising, but overall rough effort from a band that would later show genius.
Most people would think that Billy Werner's next project after Saetia, would be far more melodic, and even less chaotic than Saetia. But, at least on their first record, they were wrong.
On A New Set of Lungs
, Hot Cross build up intensely, and become more chaotic with each note. The problem is, they crescend downwards, into breakdowns, in a very sloppy way, that leaves the listener puzzled, and almost annoyed at the way the band is playing. At it's best, it comes off almost as a long jam that rips violently at it's targets. At it's worst, however, it comes off rather unorganized, at times, without melody. Hot Cross, however, managed to pull it off, with some exceptional tracks and exceptions to chaos that ensues elsewhere. History fell in the Heart Broke Open
is actually one of the bands best tracks, with a deep and almost moaning bass, and a very good, and frenetic vocal performance by frontman Billy Werner.
Billy actually has the best performance on the record. His days of screaming his heart out in Saetia has not damaged his still scathing voice one bit. His lyrics may not be up to the point of demonstration as they would be on their masterpiece Cryonics
, but with lines such as Blood burning bright upon ripped lips tastes like the end of inertia and the start of our lives
, found on the otherwise sloppy track Born on the Cusp
, it doesn’t matter. The "dueling" guitar work, however, is disappointing. Guitarists Casey Boland, and Josh Jakubowski, do not live up to the beautiful, and seemingly out of nowhere riffs of Cryonics
and Risk Revival
. Instead, sloppiness overlaps the true talent of guitarists found in previous bands, such as Joshua fit For Battle
, and The Now
, and the bands aforementioned efforts. They carry out basic leads, but when they try to bring virtuosity in, they fall short.
The rhythm section of Greg Drudy (drums) and Matt Smith (bass) is actually quite effective, especially for their almost introspective work on History fell in the Heart Broke Open. In fact, they actually are more often than not, the most unfrentic on the band, which is a change from later works, especially on Cryonics. On Cryonics, they follow the now incredible guitar work carefully, and come out just as frantic. But, except for a few noise breakdowns, they melodically plow through on this Ep.
Chaotic beauty is the nature of emo, and is what it's supposed to be. If beauty overlaps chaos, or chaos overlaps beauty, the result is sub-par, sometimes awful. But it's been proven that one's trash is another's beauty (or something philosophical like that). Bands would love to come off as good as Hot Cross does on their debut. Despite the fact that this Ep is rough around the edges, and often mediocre, it's a very promising, and overall effective debut from a band that would later delve into sheer greatness.