Wow. Much like Huntress a week or so ago, I just discovered Battlecross. Actually, it’s because of Huntress’ posting about them on social media that I felt compelled to pick up not only the just released War Of Will, but also their debut Pursuit Of Honor. This is a band that you can’t clearly put into one category or sub-category for that matter. There are elements of thrash, punk, and metalcore, and it sounds like they’ve been run through a blender, with awesome results.
“Force Fed Lies” opens things up in particularly brutal fashion, the band off to the races while singer Kyle Gunther lets it rip both on the high shrieks and the guttural growls. You can feel a definite Slayer influence here. “Flesh and Bone” is another speed demon, with guitarists Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala attacking their fretboards with speed and precision. Your jaw should drop somewhere around the 1:53 mark because the dual harmony solo is out of this world! Drummer Shannon Lucas kicks things off with some outstanding tomtom work on “Never Coming Back” before leading the sonic charge once again.
My personal favorite song is “My Vaccine”. It’s dark, it’s meaty, and has some of the best riffs, vocals, and really showcases how tight these guys are, what with the time changes, stops and starts. Bassist Don Slater is all over this one, too. The rhythm section of Battlecross is just insane. “Get Over It” is another kickass number that made it increasingly hard to pick just a handful of songs as my standouts, although this is surely one of them.
There are growls aplenty in “Ghosts Alive”, a song definitely not for the faint of heart. The intro to “Wage a War” provides a brief respite from all the craziness, but it is short-lived, as the band buries the needle once again. “The Will to Overcome” is another favorite. It’s just so friggin’ aggressive, and chock full of attitude that chiropractors everywhere might have to be called immediately after listening.
Another false lull starts “Beast” before the beating resumes, and “Never-Ending Night” closes things in true metalcore style. My only real knock on this record is the inclusion of a cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile”. It’s no secret that I hate that band, and hearing someone else do one of their songs doesn’t change that. Overall though, this is a great effort and one hell of an addition to the Metal Blade family. Expect this album to be on many Top 10 lists in 2013.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “My Vaccine”, “Get Over It”, “The Will to Overcome”, “Flesh and Bone”