Agitated Atmosphere: CROSS - Die Forever

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as CROSS.

The legend of Warmer Milks grows more mythical on the strength of Ma Turner’s latest turn as CROSS. The legend of Sophomore Lounge grows with each powerful experiment is gifts to the world.

The symbiotic relationship of Turner and SL hits its stride with Die Forever, a heavy hitter of bent psychedelia and classic metal (think Sabbath and Zeppelin, not 80s perversions). Punch after punch of deep rumbling bass, matter of fact vocals and melodious guitar hooks collide with an ancient aesthetic long buried under mainstream tastes. The truth is Die Forever is catchy and rightfully so. It cuts to the chase, producing an album’s worth of simple but effective rock and roll.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, we are in desperate need for rock and roll.

CROSS delivers it in many variants. The brooding build-up of “Fall,” kicks off an album happy to adapt along the way, like a tight band in a practice space eager to play loud. “Inhumane Nature” inhabits the pocket of 80s/90s overlap where hair metal was slowly fading and the Pacific Northwest’s brand of grunge and sludge had yet to explode across the rest of North America. “Forever” is the triumphant celebration of that moment, embracing alterna- ethos without drowning CROSS’ own brand of heavy psych. The result is a strong A-side that only teases the rabbit hole rock of the B-side.

Die Forever exists on a plane only Broken Water had found. CROSS hoards the legends of rock and tosses them out like die to decide what to play. The results are loose threads of histrionics tangling with CROSS’ need to just play hard, fast and tight. Die Forever is what you’ve been dying to hear on the radio and though it won’t happen anytime soon, you know have an excuse to finally rip it out of your dash to build anticipation during the ride home to drop the needle on this record.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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