Maximum Metal Rating Legend
5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
1.5-1 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.
Fifth Cross
Fifth Cross
1/1/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Fifth Cross 2004 Demo - 2004 --EC

Track Listing
1. Living In Hell
2. Eagle Fly
3. Tear Down The Wall
Man, I love those Germans. I don't know of another country on the planet that breathes and lives heavy metal every day of their lives. It is such a special place, deeply regarded by bands and musicians worldwide as the heavy metal homeland, that mecca of all things denim and leather. With Germany hosting entire soccer stadiums dedicated to the heavy, the US, Canada, and Mexico are lucky to pack a club. The other day I was watching the Blind Guardian "Imaginations Through The Looking Glass" DVD and it was simply amazing to see watch that huge crowd packed into that stadium. I saw Blind Guardian the same year barely pack a thousand seat club here in the States. The irony of it all.

Well, now that we have my love of Germany out of the way, let's move on to the country's newest little gift, an obscure demo by the band Fifth Cross. I stumbled on this gem while surfing Hell Bent For Records, a neat little shop that offers up a ton of indy stuff. I've always enjoyed the power metal underground, with bands like Reactor, Steel Preacher, Embargo, Scanner, and Gladiator always finding a nice warm spot near my CD player. I've never understood if it is simply the "underdog" aura those bands possess or simply the disregard of all the rules. Those bands never had the big pushes saved for more trendy metal hopefuls, instead those acts simply carried on in the fine metal tradition. They played pure heavy metal from the heart with little care for anything else. That is what really makes up Fifth Cross, that is the internal element that really reaches out and grabs me. With this three track EP, these Germans really display a passion and love for the metal game, creating memorable hooks based on speed and finesse, right on target and right on time.

Guitarists Jurgen Kimmel and Stefan Haum gallop along in fine traditional style. Heaven's Gate, Embargo, and early Scanner come to mind on "Living In Hell" and "Tear Down The Wall". A frenzied pace is created here, with vocalist Dietmar Bundschuh smooth and calculated in his delivery. Bundschuh is not a great singer by any stretch of the imagination, but he fits in well with this speedy assault, reminding me of Death SS vocalist Steve Sylvester a bit. Drummer Norman Weimer and bassist Bernd Munz create a fine battery barrage of thumping power. Both "Living In Hell" and "Tear Down The Wall" are quick riff monsters while "Eagle Fly" could be looked at in the same light as early Brainstorm or Eidolon.

This demo of course is a low budget recording with plenty of room for improvement. In my opinion the band is right where they need to be at this stage of their career. They are creating a good solid foundation from which to build from. This is their first release, but it is a very good start. Metal fans who love traditional German fare should fair well with this. Don't expect a huge chorus or fancy production job here. Instead pick this up and enjoy some fine metal straight from the heart, no gimmicks, no facade, just simply good music performed by talented musicians. I'm looking for bigger and better things from Fifth Cross, but right now this will suffice just fine.

--EC 01.25.05

Fifth Cross
Eric Compton1/1/2005


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