Black Cross Hotel – Hex (Review)

Black Cross Hotel - HexThis is the debut album from Black Cross Hotel, an industrial band from the US.

Hex initially caught my eye due to Black Cross Hotel containing a member of Stabbing Westward. On closer inspection it seems there are also members of The Atlas Moth, Corrections House, Minsk, and Broken Hope in the band, all of which attracted me further. All very intriguing. However, the singer is from a band called Whipped, who I don’t know, and Black Cross Hotel’s Bandcamp page states that this is for fans of Killing Joke, Ministry, John Carpenter, and Wesley Willis. All of which means that this is definitely a style of music that I’m not too familiar with. So, what did I find when I delved into Hex?

Well, we get 38 minutes of industrial metal with a punk edge. Due to my limited exposure to industrial over the years my reference points for this are limited, but I’ll say that parts of Hex remind me a little of acts such as Marilyn Manson, Aborym, Pitchshifter, and Årabrot in various places. Make of that what you will. Regardless of how accurate these reference points might be, Hex ultimately offers a charismatic and enjoyable collection of tracks.

The music is rhythmic and catchy. I like that the bass has a good presence, and these are songs which I can easily imagine making people move in a dark nightclub. The melodic and synth augmentations work well to enhance the core of the songs, and there’s a lot of satisfying moods and atmospheres created as the tracks unfold. The album has a horror theme, and the synths in particular reinforce this powerfully, with an 80s feel that manages to avoid sounding stale.

The album has a cinematic presence and benefits from a good singer who ties everything together with a solid performance. The album flows well, from one song to the next, and I find that it holds the listener’s attention well. At 38 minutes in length it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and there’s enough variation to provide a satisfying listen. There’s also an unexpected cover of a Misfits song, which features an equally unexpected guest spot from the singer of Lamb of God.

So, Hex may not be my normal listening fare, but it has hit the spot for me quite nicely. The band have created an enjoyable album that works well and keeps me nicely entertained while I listen to it. I can also imagine it being very good live.

A recommended listen for fans of the style.

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