RSS Feed

Metal Cross

Horror (2014)
Rating: 7.5/10

Horror Records has most certainly one of the most impressive rosters around at the moment and responsible for some cracking new albums from the likes of Hands Of Orlac (Figli Del Crepuscolo) and Evil Spirit (Cauldron Messiah).

Well, now may I introduce to you another fine metal mess in the form of Metal Cross; a somewhat cult 80s bunch of metal maniacs from Denmark who released two demos – Crucifying The Virgins (1986) and M.A.D.H.O.U.S.E. (1988) – while sandwiched in between these was an appearance on the Metal Outlet (1987) compilation album which also featured fellow Danish bands Royal Flush, Apocalypse, Gain and Marion.

Horror Records has done a fine job of collating everything that Metal Cross recorded and the result is this bulging double 12” album anthology, available in black vinyl and limited edition silver / black vinyl versions. LP1 features both of those demos and the two Metal Outlet compilation tracks, while LP2 contains material recorded live at the Kulturhuset in Randers, Denmark on 16th December 1989. There is also a bonus 7” featuring two additional live tracks.

The band reunited in 2014 with a line-up of Henrik Kjellerup (vocals), Michael Hartmann and John Lybæk (guitars), Ole Quist (bass) and Peter Mogensen (drums), and so it only seems right that this self-titled opus should get released; a release that will no doubt appeal to those with a penchant for creaky traditional metal. Although Metal Cross is a different beast to the doomier strains of Evil Spirit and Hands Of Orlac, there is such a fusty cult air about these guys that they seem to be the perfect addition for this impressive record label.

And so, we come to the tracks and it’s pretty much standard heavy metal fare to be honest, featuring warbled vocals and enough dark tales to keep you company through the night. Metal Cross are certainly not the hardest band you’ll hear in your life as they churn out an almost sparse New Wave Of British Heavy Metal-styled gallop, the result being some rather middle of the road and yet catchy as hell metal that gets stronger through each recording.

The studio tracks (all featuring Henrik Flohr on bass) such as ‘Crucify The Virgins’ more than make up for the flaws of ‘With Heart And Honour’, which comes across as rather lightweight in spite of the vocal snaps. Elsewhere we have the stuffy ‘Waiting For The Dawn’, an eight-minute epic featuring a sizzling introductory solo and numerous subtleties before building into a buzzing gallop. And then we have another favourite of mine, the chugging ‘Circus On Fire’ which featured on the M.A.D.H.O.U.S.E. demo and boasts extra bite in the rhythm. Indeed, the tracks from the second demo suggest a more progressive act that would have no doubt matured into a fine combo if they’d gotten round to releasing a full-length opus.

And before anyone starts to moan about the production, please be aware that these are the original demo tracks taken straight from cassettes (apparently the original studio master tapes no longer exist), so please do appreciate them in their primitive glory. So while the vocal harmonies may be a tad dubious, we are hearing a band in a naïve infancy, and yet as showcased on the rare live cuts on offer this is clearly a band made for the stage.

When you’ve carefully worked your way through the numerous tracks you’ll find yourself bangin’ along to those crunchy riffs and even shedding blood to the likes of ‘Vernal Equinox’ because there is no doubting the primal, sweaty charm of this collection of seemingly long-lost gems.

Metal has never sounded so pure and sincere, and so snap yourself up a copy of this Metal Cross anthology, but be quick if you want the limited edition silver / black vinyl version because only 150 are in existence.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories