††† (Crosses)

†††

Written by: PP on 25/02/2014 23:06:32

Throughout the years we have come to expect great things from Chino Moreno projects, whether it be the almighty Deftones whose consistency is frightening or from his more experimental side projects such as his other side project Palms. Alongside these two projects he has also been running ††† (Crosses), which contains elements of Deftones' experimental alternative metal soundscapes, but primarily displays a softer and a more electronic side to Chino Moreno than what we've heard before (Palms, for instance, was of the post-metal variety).

The self-titled debut album contains remastered versions of all songs from "EP1" and "EP2", which were released in 2011 and 2012 respectively, as well as five new tracks (which could have been released as "EP3", I suppose), bringing the total up to a mammoth 15 tracks and 58 minutes of music. If you haven't heard those records before, then you should know that Chino's trademark prolonged vocal croons are in a heavy role here as well, though he rarely delivers screams on any track like he does on Deftones tracks. It's a dreamy, contemplative soundscape that's backed by electronic ambiance with hints of industrial rock every now and then, meaning that the songs creep forward slowly in echoing atmospheres that focus in generating as much texture as is possible from what is essentially minimalistic music. Chino's vocals, gentle guitar plucking, bass used mainly as a means for lower-range, vibrating ambience, and heavy usage of electronic sampling are the elements used throughout "Crosses". On few tracks, like "This Is A Trick", "Bitches Brew", "Thholyghst", and "Bermuda Locket" (all stylized using †'s instead of regular t's), Moreno's captivating vocal ability drive the songs home and push them from minimalism into full-blown grandeur in a manner that only he can do it.

Elsewhere, the heavy electronic element and the relative absence of normal instrumentation (or rather, its relegation into a supporting as opposed to a leading role) leaves this scribe scratching his head while wondering what exactly has been the end goal here. The songs feel like they float around you and, occasionally, impress whenever Moreno sings, but is this meant to be his solo project where we are to worship his voice only? I hardly doubt that, because we can do that on the Deftones releases already, while also enjoying intricate instrumentation at the same time. Keeping that in mind, "Crosses" often seems to be stuck in a lullaby, in a place where the songs just float around without really going anywhere. Of course, this being a Moreno project there are plenty of brilliant tracks on display as well, but at fifteen tracks there's just too much material that's not quite filler due to its experimental nature but which nonetheless doesn't match with the strongest material on the disc. It's an interesting opportunity to awe over Moreno's ability to shift chameleon-like between such a wide array of genres from Deftones, but comparisons between the two in terms of quality of songs should end there.

7

Download: This Is A Trick, Bitches Brew, Thholyghst, Bermuda Locket, Blk Stallion
For the fans of: Deftones, Palms, Nine Inch Nails, Team Sleep
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.02.2014
Sumerian Records

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