Less than two seconds have passed and my ass has just been booted up to the ceiling, such is the impact of Black Cross' opening title track on their debut album. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Black Cross were originally called Black Widows, and it was under that name that they were signed to New York’s influential hardcore label Equal Vision. One forced name change later and they’ve produced what may well be one of the rock records of the year.
Think Black Flag, Swiz, early Dischord and Dead Inside, and you’re only half way there. ‘Art Offensive’ is more aggressive than a pit bull on Prozac and petroleum, but contains moments of tunefulness that are oddly reminiscent of Rocket From The Crypt or Hot Snakes. Any rock band that can switch from the intensity of ‘Black Market Cigarettes’ to the slow-burning mini-epic ‘Gift to the Sea’ within three songs, and that can blast through 12 tracks in just over 26 minutes, has got to be worthy of your attention. And with J Robbins (he of Burning Airlines and Jawbox fame) on production duties, could you really ask more of an album of this ilk?
No, not really.
8Mike Diver's Score