Here we have Cross's final album, titled Opus Eleven. When Hansi Cross passed away in August 2017, he had done most of the recordings and it was now up to the remaining band members and some of his friends to step up to the task of finalizing this very fine piece of work. Taking part in finishing the album were among others Nad Sylvan and Änglagård keyboard player Linus Kåse. Their presence proves to be positive.
The first track, Light's Out, is the one sounding typically like Cross. It is a bouncy rocker with a moody sound and at first a bit tortured sounding vocals. Halfway through the singing becomes more relaxed, which is better. Even better, however are the complex and dissonant sequences that close the piece. On the second track, Million Billions, the relaxed singing is continued (thank you). Overall, this is a song that takes a poppier and light-hearted direction which is a nice change from Cross's often somewhat dark sound.
Looking for Silver is one of two ten-minute pieces on the album. Both are highlights. It starts very well, reminding of The Flower Kings. The vocal help from Nad Sylvan seems to help here. The mood shifts around 6 minutes into the piece and it turns out that it is a very varied piece.
Towards the New is an instrumental led by a soaring guitar. Reminds me somehow of Jeff Beck, I think the sound of the guitar does that. Another reference is, again, The Flower Kings, and maybe a dash of Flying on A Blue Dream's Joe Satriani. Bummer that the keyboard solo halfway through is rather thin. Apart from that this track is a highlight too.
Closing track Reversing Fate opens in a way of Genesis' Dancing With The Moonlit Knight. Very fitting with Sylvan's Gabriel-like voice here!
Nad Sylvan's vocal contributions lift this album significantly compared to previous work. One wishes that Cross enlisted someone like him before. Well, at least this makes Cross's swan song a very positive one.
***+ Carsten (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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