Mark Morton // Cross Off - Featuring Chester Bennington [Single Review]

Song: Cross Off

Artist: Mark Morton (ft. Chester Bennington)

Release: Single

Area: Richmond, USA

Date of Release: 09/01/19

Genre: Groove Metal

For Fans Of: Dead by Sunrise, Lamb of God, Linkin Park, Trivium

‘So, black out and hide behind the lines,

Keep staring down the sun and hope the

Light will finally blind your eyes from seeing,

Cross off the days gone by…’

Cross Off’ is the second single to be revealed from Mark Morton’s solo album ‘Anesthetic’, featuring the late Chester Bennington in one of his last recorded performances, and it is gloriously heavy! Anticipation arose in April of 2017 when Morton took to Twitter, sharing a photo with Bennington alongside the caption: “Sounds KILLER too!”. After all this time, it’s safe to say the eagerness has been killing me; but believe me, the wait was worth it because this song is incredible!

The track begins with some low-fi guitar riffing and ambient vocals, Bennington repeating “Cross Off the Days Gone” as Morton lays down some speedy, technical guitar chops. Before you know it, the song transitions into an explosive amalgamation of two iconic sounds; Morton’s absolute groove metal finesse, and Bennington’s signature, brutally unhinged screams. Quickly progressing into its first verse, ‘Cross Off’ wastes no time to deliver a sure punch to its listener, and everyone involved serves this fact, especially guesting Trivium members Paolo Gregoletto (bass) and Alex Bent (drummer), providing an incredibly tight rhythm section, packed to the brim with short tremolo blasts.

Melodically, Bennington is as flawless as ever, constructing a contrast that manages to fit so perfectly within the sheer, Lamb of God-esque brutality the rest of the ensemble is producing. Think ‘Embers’ from Lamb of God’s 2015 LP ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’ which featured an amazing guest performance by Deftones’ vocalist Chino Moreno. Now times that by a hundred, add some rad screaming, and this is what you get.

A short pre-chorus establishes some soft juxtaposition before jumping back into the heaviness; but with the addition of an amazing, melodically catchy chorus that simultaneously maintains a thrillingly ominous vibe, Bennington revolving to the line “Cross Off the Days Gone By”.

Later in the track during the bridge section, Bennington lays down some awesomely harsh, almost rap-like vocals that are sure to please any old school fan of Linkin Park. Its catchy, yet brutal enough to appropriately coincide with the heaviness being brought on by the instrumentals. The ensemble then transitions into another chorus before concluding the song with a very short instrumental outro in which the band gives us one last dose of Morton’s groove metal flair!

Cross Off’ is an absolute banger and if you haven’t already, get your ears around this shit, ‘cause it’ll blow your mind! ‘Anesthetic’ is set to release on the first of March 2019, and it cannot come any sooner!

Vocals: 10/10

Guitars: 9/10

Bass: 8/10

Drums: 9.5/10

Lyrics: 4/5

Would You Go And See Them? 5/5

Mixing: 8/10

Production: 18/20

Structure: 19/20

Overall: 91/100

Personal Enjoyment: 10/10

#ChesterBennington #LinkinPArk #MatthewBortolin #GrooveMetal #LambOfGod #Trivium #DeadBySunrise

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