1. Living In Hell 2. Eagle Fly 3. Tear Down The Wall
Man, I love those Germans. I don't know of another country on the planet that breathes and lives heavy metal every day of their lives. It is such a special place, deeply regarded by bands and musicians worldwide as the heavy metal homeland, that mecca of all things denim and leather. With Germany hosting entire soccer stadiums dedicated to the heavy, the US, Canada, and Mexico are lucky to pack a club. The other day I was watching the Blind Guardian "Imaginations Through The Looking Glass" DVD and it was simply amazing to see watch that huge crowd packed into that stadium. I saw Blind Guardian the same year barely pack a thousand seat club here in the States. The irony of it all.
Well, now that we have my love of Germany out of the way, let's move on to the country's newest little gift, an obscure demo by the band Fifth Cross. I stumbled on this gem while surfing Hell Bent For Records, a neat little shop that offers up a ton of indy stuff. I've always enjoyed the power metal underground, with bands like Reactor, Steel Preacher, Embargo, Scanner, and Gladiator always finding a nice warm spot near my CD player. I've never understood if it is simply the "underdog" aura those bands possess or simply the disregard of all the rules. Those bands never had the big pushes saved for more trendy metal hopefuls, instead those acts simply carried on in the fine metal tradition. They played pure heavy metal from the heart with little care for anything else. That is what really makes up Fifth Cross, that is the internal element that really reaches out and grabs me. With this three track EP, these Germans really display a passion and love for the metal game, creating memorable hooks based on speed and finesse, right on target and right on time.
Guitarists Jurgen Kimmel and Stefan Haum gallop along in fine traditional style. Heaven's Gate, Embargo, and early Scanner come to mind on "Living In Hell" and "Tear Down The Wall". A frenzied pace is created here, with vocalist Dietmar Bundschuh smooth and calculated in his delivery. Bundschuh is not a great singer by any stretch of the imagination, but he fits in well with this speedy assault, reminding me of Death SS vocalist Steve Sylvester a bit. Drummer Norman Weimer and bassist Bernd Munz create a fine battery barrage of thumping power. Both "Living In Hell" and "Tear Down The Wall" are quick riff monsters while "Eagle Fly" could be looked at in the same light as early Brainstorm or Eidolon.
This demo of course is a low budget recording with plenty of room for improvement. In my opinion the band is right where they need to be at this stage of their career. They are creating a good solid foundation from which to build from. This is their first release, but it is a very good start. Metal fans who love traditional German fare should fair well with this. Don't expect a huge chorus or fancy production job here. Instead pick this up and enjoy some fine metal straight from the heart, no gimmicks, no facade, just simply good music performed by talented musicians. I'm looking for bigger and better things from Fifth Cross, but right now this will suffice just fine.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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