After being introduced to these guys at Metallica's Orion Fest, I knew I had to check out their new album War Of Will. Lucky for me, they were selling it on-site in advance of its release, and signing copies as well. I made sure to get one and had the band sign it before the fest was over. Their live performance that day was so full of power and kinetic energy that I couldn't wait to pop the CD into my car stereo and hear what the rest of their music sounded like.
If you're a fan of high-speed thrash metal, hardcore/death metal style vocals, and power-metal style melodic grooves, then I have found the right band for you! Battlecross are a relatively new metal band from Detroit, Michigan who describe their sound as 'Blue-Collar Thrash'. Though they have been touring nationally for just under 2 years, they have indeed worked very hard to get there. The vibe of their music reflects this same attitude: full-force, all-out, never let up, never quit. Each song is packed with relentless power and technical prowess that demands to be recognized as a new force to be reckoned with in heavy metal.
War Of Will, is released today on Metal Blade Records, and it is sure to satisfy the craving of any extreme thrash metal fan for aggressive and technical metal. 'Force Fed Lies' is the first track of this all-out thrash-fest, and it starts the album off at a break-neck pace. Guitarists Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala assault your ears with furious fretwork, driven by classic thrash-metal tonality. Vocals are screamed straight into you eardrums by Kyle "Gumby" Gunther. Tight grooves are maintained throughout by Don Slater on bass guitar and Shannon Lucas on drums. The tempo subsides slightly at the choruses to allow a catchy melody to guide the ferocity, then it's back to business for the next verse.
The next song 'Flesh and Bone', while still aggressive as hell, has a very impressive dual guitar solo at the midpoint of the song, showcasing the priceless talents of Deraniyagala and Asta. They complement each other like seasoned veterans, and why not? They've been jamming together since they were in their teens. Throughout the album they repeat this masterful teamwork while still taking the time to awe listeners with several top-notch guitar solos by each guitarist. In many ways Battlecross are the band that thrash purists have been waiting for for years.
Lyrically Battlecross are a band that focus on themes of empowerment, individuality, justice and self-betterment. Another favorite track of mine is 'Beast', where Gumby takes a few minutes to tell us of the virtues of working hard to better one's self instead of settling for the easy path or flat-out giving up. These themes can be found in many songs throughout the album, but they save the biggest epiphany for last with 'Never-Ending Night'. This song is about self-sacrifice for the benefit of the next generation. To learn form one's mistakes and pass on strength and knowledge to the younger generation is the take-home message. If you truly must fight a War Of Will, then this album will show you the path to victory, with plenty of headbanging along the way!
My favorite tracks from War Of Will:
-Force Fed Lies
-Flesh & Bone
-Never Coming Back
-Wage a War
-Beast (Guest solo by Jason Suecof)
[Battlecross are supporting Rob Zombie and Five Finger Death Punch on Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Fest this summer. Check them out at a city near you!]