Cross - Secrets

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Progress Records
Catalog Number: PRCD 007
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:13:00

Cross at Progress Studios, July 2000The bottom line is this: if you like Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, Marillion and basically any other like prog rock bands, you will like Cross, Hansi Cross' band. These comparisons are mainly in the music - the instrumentation, the open arrangements and Spock's Beard is the best comparison. No, that's not true, because throughout I kept thinking of "Alien Afternoon" off Genesis' last (final ever?) release Calling All Stations. There are none of the angular edges that the Spock's Beard take or the choppy, start/stop effect that I find characteristic of Messrs. Morse and crew. But as I mention later, Cross isn't a stranger to angularity. So, just a few whiskers of the Beard, a few petals of the Flower Kings, a few shards of Marillion ... but several (late) chapters of Genesis. In other words, this is smooth symphonic rock all around.

Perhaps it's because Cross sings a bit like Ray Wilson that I thought of latter day Genesis. No less during the first track "Bleeding In Silence." Cross has a slightly husky voice. Rounding out the trio is Lollo Anderson on basses and Taurus pedals and Tomas Hjort on drums and percussion. Guests include Olov Andersson on mellotron and synthesizers on all but two tracks, vocalists Tai and Lizette von Panajott, and Lars Borgström on cello for a couple of tracks each.

The music on here is fantastic - bright, colourful, with the just right the edge. I wouldn't quite call Cross a prog-metal band, but there is an edge to the music - here I would have to say like Arena. Keys take the lead on the instrumental "Awakening," though the guitars are hardly shortchanged. Cross is equally adept at both, though being more a guitar fan than an keys fan, it's the guitar I tend to follow more closely - so, yeh, Cross is getting close to be added to my list of guitar heroes.

If you read Bobo's review, published here a couple of weeks ago, you have noticed two things - one, we both thought of Genesis, though of different eras, and two, he felt the "The Core" was a Crimson like track. I don't disagree; I hear it more right at the beginning than anywhere else. I personally also thought a bit of Marillion (mainly the vocal delivery here, as the phrasing is bit like Steve Hogarth's).

"Pall Of Illusion" is a slight play on words - one at first thinks of a hall of illusions, the room of mirrors at the carnival perhaps. The word pall has a very dark connotation, as it is a covering used on a coffin, or any dark and gloomy covering. Well, one might suggest that illusion, which is used to conceal the truth, can be thought of as a cover, and if what it hides is equally dark ... well then it would be the pall of illusion. Deep bass notes over sparse instrumentation underscore the verses, though over all the arrangement is far from dark as the guitar and keyboard solos are up...and even Cross' vocals are bright.

The album closes with the 14-plus minute "Welcome To Utopia." High pitched (but not too high) Tangerine Dream-like keyboards lead us in, parping over a synth wash that take the lead only, after some slightly militaristic percussion comes in. By about two and half-minutes, it's the singing of Cross' guitar. "Utopia" goes through several moods, my favourite parts being the harmonizing vocals - von Panajott guests on this track

If there any minuses here it is that I don't think Cross has the strongest of voices - a few flattened or off notes here and there - but then I'm rather picky about vocals, so your mileage may vary. I'll keep listening to it for the music and his wonderful guitar.

Bleeding In Silence (8:05) / Little One (1:43) / The Core (8:21) / Awakening (5:26) / Changed Reality (8:33) / Pall Of Illusion (3:29) / Welcome To Utopia (14:16)

Hansi Cross - guitars, synthesizers, vocals
Lollo Andersson - basses, Taurus pedals
Tomas Hjort - drums, percussion
Olov Andersson - mellotron, synthesizers (1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
Tai - vocals (3, 7)
Lizette von Panajott - vocals (4, 7)
Lars Borgström - cello (1, 5)

Uncovered Heart (1987)
2nd Movement (1990)
Changing Poison Into Medicine (1993)
Gaze (1996)
Dream Reality (1997)
Visionary Fools (1998)
Gaze (remastered) (1999)
Secrets (2000)
Playgrounds (2005)
Secrets (remastered) (2008)
The Thrill Of Nothingness (2009)
Wake Up Call (2012)
De Capo (2014)
Gaze 2015 (2015)
Visionary Fools - mmxv (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: October 29th 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 2032
Language: english


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