Cross - Da Capo

(CD 2014, 46:13, Progress Records PRCD 060)

The tracks:
  1- Fire(13:56)
  2- Dream Reality(9:08)
  3- Changing(1:36)
  4- Visions(7:06)
  5- Courage(14:25)

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The band Cross has always been one of my favourite Swedish progressive rock acts. Their latest studio album Wake Up Call (2012, see review) got the highest score possible and therefore the expectations for their next release ran high. Could they impress me again with an album that has majestic layers of keyboards and marvellous solos on the guitars and the synthesizers? Well, they probably felt the same about their latest release as I did. So once again they recorded an album that has a more symphonic sounds like on former releases. A kind of Wake Up Call II you might say!

But not completely! Even though you can hear music on Da Capo that sound wise moves into the same musical direction, it doesn't mean you will hear a copy of their former release. On the other hand you also won't hear any new compositions on this album. The album title gives you sort of a hint of what the album is all about. Those who know that 'da capo' is an Italian musical term and know that it means will right from the beginning be are aware of the fact that something old is getting back into the spotlight. They are the compositions the band recorded at the start of their career. A time when everything was recorded on 16 channel tape recorders and therefore not the high tech top notch recordings we can hear nowadays. Most of the time it is a terrible experience for musicians to go through their older stuff when they listen to their back catalogue. Most of them wish they had better equipment in those days. To solve this problem many are thinking about rerecording those old compositions with modern day technology. This was in a way also what Hansi Cross (guitars, keyboards and vocals) thought since 2005. Another reason to record some of the old tunes once again was that the earlier albums aren't available anymore. He asked Thomas Christensen (bass and bass pedals), Tomas Hiort (drums and percussion) and guest Mats Bender (Introitus, keyboards) to work with him on the new recordings of those old pieces of music.

As one of the few people who has heard all of the old material I must say I am very delighted about the way the new versions of those older compositions turned out on this album. Four of the five tracks are originally from Changing Poison Into Medicine (1993), their third studio album. While listening to the earlier versions of Dream Reality, Changing, Visions and Courage from this album you realise that they already had a rather dominating keyboard sound. The same can be said about Fire. This comes originally from the band's second album Second Movement (1990). But all of the songs now have more layers of keyboards then on the original versions. If I would have told you they were all leftovers from the Wake Up Call sessions you would have believed me right away, nobody would have known that they were already released in the early nineties.

I guess fans of the early days might not be as content with the release of Da Capo as those who discovered the band the last couple of years. It's not that they don't like what's on this new album, but they have heard it all before. That's the only thing I can say that might come across as being negative about this fine new Cross album. I have all of the earlier releases, but it doesn't mean this album will be played less then all of the earlier released Cross albums. No way! I liked it all the way!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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