Growing up in Cleveland I was more than spoiled when it came to hardcore bands: Integrity, The Spudmonsters, Committed, Ringworm, and countless others. I always found it odd that I rarely heard of hardcore bands from other cities in Ohio. Those that I did hear about were few and far between, not to mention they usually broke up by the time I got word of their existence. Regardless, when I hear about a new band from Ohio, I check them out because I take pride in my state. The most recent band that I can boast about is Cincinnati's young upstarts Still Crossed.
After releasing a demo, Still Crossed quickly teamed up with Indecision Records, putting the straightedge hardcore act alongside likeminded visionaries of past and present. On their debut release, Love and Betrayal, Still Crossed have meshed together their influences to form a solid mixture of youth-crew, punk, metallic hardcore, and the occasional morsel of melody. The album opens with the face-paced intro "Go it Alone" which is highlighted by Robbie's phenomenal drumming. "Still Crossed" is a prime example of hardcore done right. While guitarists Zachary and Rich piece together speeding guitar riffs and excellent breakdowns, there are also numerous opportunities for sing-alongs to the inspiring lyrics. But everything isn't standard hardcore for Still Crossed. "Lines in the Sand" opens with a brief yet beautifully written and arranged instrumental, showcasing a side of the band that isn't normally equated with the genre. However the moment quickly passes and the band doesn't waste any time getting back to basics with the ensuing track "Bloodwork." Despite the occasional experimental venture, Still Crossed sticks to old-school hardcore that bands like Gorilla Biscuits popularized. Tracks like "For Old Times Sake" and "All We Got" could have easily been written as part of the youth-crew revival that took place in the mid-90's. Lyrically, Still Crossed is fairly similar to fellow posi-core outfit With Honor. On "Faded" vocalist Tony states sincerely "I stand the strongest when I stand on my own two feet / this is all I have / myself, my family, my friends." The album closes with a hidden instrumental that flows in an epic yet atmospheric rock tone, another example of the band straying from the stereotype of hardcore music. It's with experimental moments that Still Crossed saves them from a monotonous album. Otherwise, I would have quickly become bored midway through the album.
The 24 minutes that Love and Betrayal logs is definitely not for someone craving breakdown ridden metalcore. But if you are listening to a classic like Chain of Strength's One Thing That Still Holds True or something a bit contemporary such as Down to Nothing's Save it For the Birds, this will be a nice addition to their collection.
7.5 / 10
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