Behold the Cross

Iron Cross/Holocross

This 3 CD set is a fine opportunity to know this quartet's evolultion.
May 29, 2024

In Human Sciences (especially History), it’s not hard to use Karl Marx’s ideas to understand some events of the past, especially because the things are studied under an economic insight. It means that things happened (and still happens) due economy, and besides it’s not the only insight that exists, it’s enough to understand some events. In the first half of the 80s, a shift happened: the bands weren’t looking for greater labels to release their albums anymore, because the number of bands and their focus was on the commercial success of Glam Metal acts, so they did things on independent labels. This is how acts as THE RODS, MANILLA ROAD, METALLICA, SLAYER, ARMORED SAINT, MÖTLEY CRÜE, LIZZY BORDEN, BITCH, RUTHLESS, OMEN and others begin their careers, and it’s what explain why many albums weren’t known until this moment, hidden under a flood of releases on those days. And three pieces that were lost were “Warhead”, the only release of the North American quartet IRON CROSS, and “Holocross” and “Hypercaustic”, the two albums of HOLOCROSS.

Jimmy Wilson worked on the recordings and mixing of “Warhead” on 1985 at Micro-Mix Studio (Pittsburgh, PA), and it was mastered at World Records in Canada. The sonority is what one can expect from an independent label back then: rough and poor, but that allows the band to be understood on its musical expressions. “Holocross” was recorded and mixed at Pyramid Sound (Ithaca, NY) with engineering by Alex Perialas, and “Hypercaustic” was engineered and mixed by Rocky Grisez at Private Island Trax, (Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA), with mastering of Mike MacDonald. All the three albums were remastered by Jamie King Audio in Winston-Salem, NC, boosting the volume and giving a better idea of what the band was playing. All the three have their own values and fails on their sonorities.

The explanation for a review of three albums from two different bands is simple: IRON CROSS was the initial name of the band that changed it to HOLOCROSS due the existence of another act with the same name. It’s the same band, besides IRON CROSS sounds as a mix between US Speed/Power Metal of the first half of the 80s with charming melodies inherited from Hard Rock, and a very good melodic appeal. It seems that some youngster view was guiding the band on those days, because in many moments they’re pretty aggressive, and on others more accessible and with a Hard Rock/Glam Metal appeal (as heard on “Chain Gang”). But’s a depiction of what they’re were back then, and it’s really good. HOLOCROSS, in other hand, is a Thrash Metal act in a more aggressive outfit full of Hardcore and Crossover influences, but with the same melodic care. In other words, the band changed the name and evolved to a more aggressive musical form.

“Warhead” sounds as a solid wall, or in other words, all the songs are very good. But pay attention on “Set Your Sites” (a true US Metal song with fine melodies and good dose of aggressiveness on the guitars), “Waiting for the Axe” (a great flux of energy appears on this one, with very good screams of the vocals), “Warhead” (that has the same features of the previous, but with a better melodic work, and a thunderous work on bass guitar and drums), “F.K.Z.” (here one can hear the importance of JUDAS PRIEST on the core of US Metal), “Send for the Cross” (and here as BLACK SABBATH’s guitars are a reference to the US Metal as well), “Chain Gang” (here the Hard Rock/Glam Metal side of the band’s music becomes evident), and “Crucible”.

On “Holocross”, it’s aggressive and nasty, but that needed some improvements to defy the reigning bands of those days (what was not a simple thing to be done). But songs as “Wolf Pack” (a slower paced tempo with nasty and aggressive guitar riffs id filled with very good vocals), “Warpath” (a thunderous work on bass guitar and drums can be heard), “Seizure” (that starts like a ballad, then explodes into a fast and massive song, with clear Crossover traces and fine melodies), “Manslaughter” (here the melodic side of their music becomes evident and traces a parallel between it to IRON CROSS’ days), and the triarchy formed by “Drill”, “Ptomaine” and “Battle Stations” depicts the quartet’s potential.

Released after 17 years of absence, “Hypercaustic” depicts on its songs as the band was more aggressive than before, but keeping its melodic core. And taste moments as “Painful Reminder”, “Guidance in Violence”, “Deadbolt”, “Hollenlarm/Death Rattle”, “Body Bag” and “Hypercaust” to check how they evolved. It sounds bit primitive in some moments due the lack of a producer helping the band to sharp in a better way their efforts. This pack shows a good North American band with potential that wasn’t polite at its best due the lack of a producer, and a better chance. But IRON CROSS and HOLOCROSS inheritance is always very good to be heard. So it’s your chance to have the three albums in one shot. But one can buy them separately as well.

8 / 10









"Behold the Cross" Track-listing:

CD 1 - Iron Cross - Warhead

  1. Set Your Sites
  2. Slaughter House
  3. Waiting for the Axe
  4. Warhead
  5. F.K.Z.
  6. Send for the Cross
  7. Come and Get It
  8. Chain Gang
  9. Cold Steel
  10. Crucible


CD 2 - Holocross - Holocross

  1. Wolf Pack
  2. Bombardment
  3. Warpath
  4. B. Hive
  5. Seizure
  6. Manslaughter
  7. Murder Cycle
  8. Drill
  9. Ptomaine
  10. Battle Stations


CD 3 - Holocross - Hypercaustic

  1. Painful Reminder
  2. The Bludgeoning
  3. Guidance in Violence
  4. Intro
  5. Deadbolt
  6. Incoming
  7. Hollenlarm/Death Rattle
  8. Body Bag
  9. A.I.M.
  10. Hypercaust
Iron Cross/Holocross Lineup:

Char R.G. - Vocals
P.J. Kacin - Guitars
Max Uzax - Bass
B. Dillon - Drums (on disc 1)
Ed DeMio - Drums (on disc 1)
Ray Molinari - Drums (on discs 2 and 3)


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