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Black Cross



Members
Rob Pennington vocals
Ryan Patterson guitar, vocals
Evan Patterson bass, vocals
Sean Johnson drums

Formed over the summer of 2001 in Louisville, Kentucky, Black Cross rose from the ashes of two of the city's most well known bands, By The Grace Of God and The National Acrobat. One loved for their positive, political hardcore, the other notorious for mind bending, sarcastic noisecore, the melding of the two bands seemed an unlikely union. Yet, when The National Acrobat guitarists Ryan and Evan Patterson joined By The Grace Of God singer Rob Pennington (also of Endpoint notoriety) and drummer Thommy Browne, a bond was immediately formed. United in their love of DC hardcore, a coming of age through the early 90's hardcore scene, and a desire to emphasize the aspects of hardcore and punk that they held dear, they formed Black Widows.

The result was a scorching sound that wore its influences on its sleeve - landing somewhere in the middle of Black Flag's aggressive early years, Swiz's frantic guitar work and Drive Like Jehu's mathematic noise-rock. They quickly recorded their debut CD EP, Black Widows Stops A Beating Heart, and released it on the label Ryan co-runs, Initial Records, in May 2002 (it was also released on 10" vinyl on Reflections Records from The Netherlands). They hit the road soon after, awing receptive audiences at every stop, filling a void that many had apparently desperately needed. Touching equally upon personal and political issues, Black Widows didn't just dictate a message, they attempted to communicate and share their ideas with those in attendance, joining together in their quest to find answers and take the next step in life and within the hardcore community.

Black Widows signed with Equal Vision Records in late 2002, and shortly thereafter found that another band held the rights to the name 'Black Widow(s).' As they were completing writing the songs that would comprise their debut album, they finally decided to change their name to Black Cross, a moniker as ambiguous as it is ominous. In December 2002 they entered a Louisville recording studio with Washington DC musician and famed indie rock producer J. Robbins behind the board. Known for his musical output in the bands Burning Airlines, Jawbox and Government Issue and his recording/production of indie/emo figureheads Jets To Brazil, The Promise Ring and Braid, Black Cross chose Robbins based on his work with lesser known post-hardcore acts like Kerosene 454 and Bluetip.

The outcome was Art Offensive, a twelve song album that shows Black Cross stepping away from their collective influences and finding a voice all their own. Alternately more melodic and at times far more chaotic and destructive than their previous efforts, the songs contained within still draw inspiration from DC hardcore and arty mathrock while funneling early punk rock and even a wide variety of indie rock. It's catchy, devastating, personal, political, inspiring, foreboding, anthemic and back again, all within a scant 26 minutes.

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