Released: 2003, Verikauha Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The legends are back… Maple Cross used to be an integral part of the past Finnish metal scene from the mid ´80s to the mid ´90s; a relatively odd and strange band full of crazy Finns in the line-up that didn´t hesitate to mix f.ex. some piano and saxophone parts in to their progressive Speed/Thrash Metal – and constantly releasing original yet killer demos plus one self-financed album, THE EIGHT DAY OF CREATION after splitting up sometime around in 1994.
As reunions seem to be some sort of a "fashion thing" these days, one could have guessed that Maple Cross also would return back to the scene with brand new ideas on a silver plate. And, indeed, they did… 7 years later in 2001. Only having one original member left from the past line-up, Marco R.J. still on vocals, has gathered a little army of skilled musicians around himself and with this line-up, the band did 2 demo-CDs during the first couple of months in 2002 before releasing their 2nd full-length (the 1st with this particular line-up) through their own Verikauha Records.
In NEXT CHAPTER Maple Cross have stripped down their sound rather radically compared to their past releases. Neither saxophone nor piano can be heard any more; they even haven´t tried to experiment with their new stuff at all, but rather have tried to concentrate on keeping their song structures relatively simple, aggressive, but overall catchy and "honest"-- trying to avoid the most obvious and stupid clichés in this comeback album. Maple Cross in 2002 have adopted a sound that fairly could be said is a mixture of both Rock and Thrash Metal elements; in other words, ´rockish´ Thrash Metal probably best describes them, I guess.
The songs are absolutely a fresh breath of air in today´s metal scene. The Maple Cross–dudes are their best in such songs as “World Wide Mystery”, “Simply Simplicity”, “Victim of Life” and “Nothing Starts from the Beginning” in my opinion when a basic aggressive and even, may I say, in a way somewhat ´primitive nature´ of their songs start losing ground for more melodic parts in the songs. These particular 4 songs are ´the real ace stuff´ out of the album for sure even if I also have to say when I saw the band live here in Helsinki just a short while ago, the most aggressive and thrashy stuff from them seemed to work out the best way for them. That´s what such songs as “The Spirit of Northern Brotherhood”, “Au Revoir”, “Last Steps of Joe” and “The Chosen People” primarily represent for in their own unyielding class on this warmly welcomed comeback album of the band.
Also, when the production is very good on the album, I really can't do much else but to recommend you give them a listen. Absolutely a very promising new start from the Maple Cross–camp! And welcome back to the scene, too!