"Cross Off" is the first track on Mark Morton's debut studio album, Anesthetic. It features posthumous vocals and lyrics by Chester Bennington. The song was scheduled for a January 8, 2019 release as the second single from the album, but it was mistakenly released on December 18, 2018 through digital stores.
On April 11, 2017, Chester Bennington posted a couple of clips on his Instagram story showing himself at Energy Studios with Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton and long time Lamb Of God producer Josh Wilbur. Later on his Twitter, Chester confirmed he recorded a song with screams with Mark Morton, saying it was "sick" and he couldn't wait for fans to hear it. It has been confirmed by Mike Shinoda that the song was recorded for Morton's solo album.
Amidst Randy Blythe's (Lamb Of God's frontman) trial for manslaughter in 2012, Mark Morton started working on solo music with some friends. That year, he released the instrumental "Make Sure" for free download, which was followed by two more tracks in 2016 titled "SnowBound" and "Love Heals". The songs differ a lot from Lamb Of God's metal sound, having influences that range from hard rock and blues to jazz fusion and progressive rock.
Following Chester's death, Josh Wilbur posted a picture from their sessions together saying, "This pic was taken after an absolutely great session. I left that day raving about what an amazing talent and person Chester was. We talked about music, family, life, struggles, and our musical journeys (oddly that had crossed paths back in NYC when hybrid theory was being made). He was just an incredibly nice person. He personally picked up the phone and called me just a few weeks ago to share his excitement about some music. If you're from my hometown you remember the tragic loss of Mark Meattey. I guess this is part of why this hits so hard. Chester reminded me a lot of Mark. The loss of people so young leaves us with so much hurt, ironically as we are reminiscing about wonderful times. But this….. why…. why like this? Chester, I barely knew you, but you left a lasting impression. My heart aches for those who were truly close to you. If I have any friends who have ever contemplated suicide. Please, pick up the phone. Call me, or anyone. I promise, you are loved."
In September, Mark Morton took part on Ryan J. Downey's Speak N' Destroy podcast where he talked about their time together: "I didn't know Chester very well but I have worked with him and I did know him a little bit through that. And I had the opportunity to work on some music with him, you know. And, in that experience, it was interesting because we didn't really know each other really well, we had mutual respect. And to have the opportunity to work a creative project with him, it takes a certain amount of like trust. You have to sort of have with somebody to actually get creative and to really, if you're really doing it and you're really putting yourself into it, you gotta trust. That that other person's not gonna turn on you and that they're not gonna, you know what I mean, you have to feel safe, I guess. And I found for me it was very easy to feel that way with him and to really just give in to the process of trying to make something cool happen creatively, because he was just so open and so honest and so clearly clearly excited about music. And just a really good dude, man. Just an easy person to be around… And I feel really fortunate to have had the chance to spend some time with him, and to talk about music and to talk about parenthood, to talk about, you know, so many other things that surround the music industry. And it was a real special moment for me. I'm glad I got to have it."
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed revealed during his podcast, The Jasta Show, the track was originally meant for him, but he took too long to work on his version and Mark Morton eventually gave the track to Chester. Jasta said Chester's version ended up a lot better than his own.
During a Q&A on Twitter in October 2018, Mark Morton confirmed the track with Chester Bennington was still going to be released and updates on his solo album would be coming soon. On December 12, he posted, "Hey y’all. So… I’ve been quietly working on a solo album for the last couple of years and I am stoked to announce that it will be released in 2019! I’m beyond proud of this project and so grateful at having had the opportunity to work with so many amazingly talented friends, new and old. The album is called “Anesthetic”, and we’ll be debuting the first song all day tomorrow on @SXMLiquidMetal… stay tuned!" The debut single, "The Truth Is Dead", was officially released on December 14th and features vocals by both Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God and Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, bass by David Ellefson from Megadeth and drums by Roy MayorgaConta from Stone Sour. Pre-orders for the album started on the same day, revealing its artwork and tracklist.
On an interview to Kerrang!, Mark Morton explained how "Cross Off", his collaboration with Chester Bennington, came together, "Like many songs on this album, this came from pieces and parts just sat around collecting dust in my files of ideas. As I’d go through, I’d evaluate them and see if they were usable for Lamb Of God – obviously that’s my main band. A lot of the music was the stuff I compiled out of things I liked but in no way could ever end up in my band. Cross Off started kinda on the fence, there are parts I could have fed through the LOG machine and it would have worked. When me and Josh Wilbur, my producer, initially started working on this project, this was one song we both gravitated to right away. It felt pretty hot, had a good groove, was both heavy and melodic… but it went through a lot of changes. That’s how him and I write, we’d sit on things for a few days and move things around a bit like Lego, seeing what we could build together. There’s a couple of party tracks on this album, this is definitely one of them. I was heavily involved with the lyrics, it was when I was coming out of a pretty heavy time in my life. I was thinking about rebirth and a fresh start… so the lyric references all of that, with a bit of ‘Fuck you!’ in there too, which mainly came from Chester!"
Track descriptions on Last.fm are editable by everyone. Feel free to contribute!
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.