Blind Cross – Merciless Time (Pure Steel Records)

Friday, 5th July 2019
Rating: 7.5/10

A new melodic power metal project with members from Germany and the United States, Blind Cross features vocalist Juan Ricardo of Sunless Sky and Wretch joining ex-Mind Odyssey guitarist Rocco Stellmacher, rounded out by the Double Action rhythm section of bassist Mathias Hörold and drummer Andy Korte. Merciless Time as the first album showcases a sound that is highly infectious and hook-oriented, keeping up a traditional scope in its hard rock and power metal tendencies.

Rocco often uses twin harmonic/rhythm tones in his work, setting up reference points to classic Judas Priest or Accept when you hear songs like “Blind Nation” or the speedier “Material Law”. Dynamic twists of a calmer, reflective nature take place during “Bioluminosity”, Juan’s upper register traversing memories from classic Geoff Tate to even a bit of the much-missed David Wayne of Metal Church. The choppy guitar/drum interplay during “Tear It Down” makes this cut a second half standout, while Andy lets you know straight away his thunderous fill mechanics in the opening burst of “The Hammer and the Nail”. Occasionally a simplified chorus like “Doublecross” can present a double edge love it or hate it element to the band – as it comes up so much in the song that you can’t help but careen it safely into your brain, but for others it could be a tad irritating for the same reason. Precision and tightness keep Blind Cross solid and in the pocket – an old school heavy metal ethic overrides the recording, almost as if you could step back 35 years and not miss a beat outside of modern/digital production maneuvers.

Time will tell if this will be a one-off project or long-term recording entity, but for now Merciless Time delivers twelve tracks of potent, old school power with equal affinity for the UK and German finesse and fire that put those scenes on the map.

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