The Cross – Act II: Walls of the Forgotten (Pitch Black Records)Friday, 3rd June 2022
Recognized as Brazil’s first doom metal band, The Cross’ origins date back to 1990 – developing a couple of demos before a twenty-year hiatus stalled momentum. They’ve been active on the recording and live show front since 2015, releasing a series of EP’s, a live album plus their debut, self-titled full-length record in 2017. Gaining two new members in lead guitarist Daniel Fauaze and bassist Leandro Kastyphas, the second album Act II: Walls of the Forgotten delivers six lengthy tracks in that classic style, featuring a few special guests well established in this niche.
Slow, somber riffs at a snail’s tempo pace become a staple of The Cross sound – while the vocals of Eduardo Slayer possess more of that morose semi-growl/ semi-talkative passion that keeps things more down to earth and underground. Twin guitar harmonies and fluid lead breaks allow certain songs a bit more melodic engagement – check out “Behind the Stone Gate” in that regard, a song that traverses older Candlemass/ Solitude Aeturnus textures. The twists of drummer Louis accenting his snare and cymbal hits behind the main riffs for the title track convey a deeper sense of impending despair – Leandro also taking a bit of the lead in a pulsating bass movement. As epic songs that clock in at an average nine-minute plus range, its also nice to hear a relatively shorter cut such as the 6:31 “Umbral” – getting its point across rather succinctly, featuring some beautiful clean instrumental parts towards the final minute that provide nice aural contrast to the heavy proceedings. Add in some quality guest vocal spots from Aaron of My Dying Bride, Leo and Albert of Forsaken, and Acharf of Aeternam among others and you can clearly understand these musicians possess clear command of their craft.
For the uninitiated, The Cross has a sound that is not for the faint of heart – truest doom that tugs at the deepest recesses of those black, cavernous holes we all find hardest to bare. The epic followers of this movement will champion Act II: Walls of the Forgotten most – and it will be interesting to hear a third record hopefully down the road.