As one of Metal Blade Records’ newest acquisitions, Battlecross shares the roster with some of heavy metal’s most celebrated acts on a label crafted over decades of diligence. Unlike many of the bands that Metal Blade hosts, Battlecross is a younger band in the early stages of their career. The band’s debut record “Pursuit of Honor” was released in 2011, and since then Battlecross has toured the world, performed at Orion Music + More and are currently engaged in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.
Over a span of three years the band has promptly released two albums on one of metal’s most respected labels and has toured worldwide. But has Battlecross earned the attention that they’ve generated in such a short time? The only way to tell is to listen to “War of Will”, released earlier this year.
“War of Will”- a first look: 10 tracks, a 36 minute listen. Thrash metal, brief, to the point. Plug in headphones? Blast for the neighbors to hear? Either way, listeners cannot escape the blasting battalion of sound that is ‘Force Fed Lies’. The track quickly becomes a demanding frenzy of riffage and drumming within the first minute and later earns its elegance through a soaring guitar solo. Melodicism is on the forecast as ‘Flesh & Bone’ begins, but sharply twists into aggression within a few seconds. Time is not wasted at all in “War of Will” and ‘Flesh and Bone’ is prompt in asserting itself through Kyle’s screamed vocals.
A little more than ten minutes later, “War of Will” remains musically-rampant with the unrelenting ‘Ghost Alive’. Placed at the start of the second half of the album, ‘Ghost Alive’ adds even more energy to an already intensive album. Double bass is plentiful and Shannon Lucas’s drumming expertise is particularly notable in this track for its constant force. Just when listeners didn’t think the music could get any faster, ‘The Will To Overcome’ proves listeners wrong with unrestrained riffs, blistering drums, and commanding vocals. Kyle’s vocals are easy to discern throughout the album, and for that reason each song becomes stronger as listeners can grasp the meaning behind the lyrics. Closing the album off on a catchy note, ‘Never-Ending Night’ holds a memorable chorus and fun riff, sure to be a concert favorite of audiences.
Apart from being a strong sophomore release, “War of Will” welds influences from both 80s thrash and modern music in a constructive manner. Battlecross’s music holds a sound similar to that of Testament’s but is also undoubtedly influenced by metalcore breakdowns, placing a modern touch to the music. In addition, ”War of Will” is not overly saturated with guitar solos, contrasting them from their 80s musical counterparts where minute-plus guitar solos are often present. Consequently, Battlecross holds strong energy without any hesitation. For both the attention deficit and thrash intolerant, the album’s short length is appealing and may provide listeners with a new band to listen headbang to. Although the lyrics could stand to be less simplistic at times, Battlecross’s “War of Will” is a delightful listen with a structure that allows room for musical experimentation in the coming future.
- Force Fed Lies
- Flesh & Bone
- Never Coming Back
- My Vaccine
- Get Over It
- Ghost Alive
- Wage A War
- The Will To Overcome
- Never-Ending Night