SQUEALER, the fifth. The German band has really established itself in the German Metal-scene by now, strong longplayers like "The Prophecy" and "Made For Eternity" made sure of that. With "Under The Cross" Henner and co. are back in the year 2002 and come over more varied than ever.
Foundation still is the rough Power Metal, here and there bordering on Thrash (but not as much as the info tries to suggest), with catchy choruses and melodies, but they do not only rely on the full-speed-ahead button, but nicely vary the tempo. You will find great double-bass-breakers like "Facing The Death", the strong "Thinking Allowed!" or "Down And Out" with its strong chorus just as well as rather mid-paced tracks ala "My Last Goodbye", and as "Rules Of Life" proves, ballads are no weakpoint either.
Especially Henner's rather rough roar gives the song-material its very own charm, no matter if thrashy or surprisingly melodic. After "Enjoy The Silence" aund "People Are People" off their previous two efforts, they have taken on a rather unusual cover-version again on "Under The Cross", Johnny Wakelin's "In Zaire" has been the one this time around, re-arranged a little, good one!
But with all of this I just cannot oversee one thing: "Fade Away". For itself the track isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but this song, which is strongly leaning towards the Gothic-genre and could without any problems be on an album of HIM or so, is absolutely out of place on "Under The Cross". Surely an experiment, but not suited for this album!
Production-wise you cannot complain about anything, the names of Andy Sneap, Mikko Karmila, Tommy Newton and Mika Jussila should be explanation enough, eh? Visually, too, the record can satisfy, a nice difference from the colleagues, so overall not a genre-defining release for sure, but good quality-stuff!