Blue collar thrashers Battlecross have now been around the block and in the past few years they’ve certainly picked up the pace since their sophomore effort `War of Will’. They were handpicked for the Orion Festival by Metallica; they have toured with a mighty list of bands and have graced our shores appearing at the Download Festival and alongside Trivium and Killswitch Engage.
`Rise to Power’ is Battlecross jumping back into the studio with the impresario Mr Jason Suecof who has helmed this effort and they say your 2nd album is the most important and highly anticipated but after the whirlwind from `War of Will’ surely 3rd time’s the charm for Battlecross?
`Rise To Power’ is 10 tracks of pure metal madness, not quite full thrash metal but certainly shows a modern metal band including influences further afield so they can cherry pick from other types of metal as Battlecross has certainly done and done it well. All ten tracks, you getting a mixture of the metal elements, from the thrash speed riffs, through to Kyle’s more death metal vocal styles and onward to the guitar solos which have a tinge of the power metal about them, very melodic and catchy but still maintaining that too point ethics of a thrash solo.
`Scars’ and `Not Your Slave’ really personify how Battlecross have taken their sound and blended in those extra elements and you have 10 tracks that are quite simply fresh. Take `Scars’, it has such a cool and the best way to really describe it is bouncy which perfectly matches the pounding drums, the solo seems to add a little sprinkle of Van Haleness in too.
What’s also noteworthy for `Rise To Power’ is the furthering of musicality within the band, now I’m not sure if after spending a few days with Metallica but the cogs started to turn but the inclusion of opening acoustic guitars are heard on `The Path’ and `Blood & Lies’ and makes a welcome addition to Battlecross’s bag of tricks, certainly this is something that could be more prevalent on the next album? Who knows?
Now this is certainly a solid effort and one that shows a clear evolution in the band’s abilities, yet the issue here is not that this `Rise To Power’, in fact it’s a cool album showing how metal has evolved. The issue is with Thrash itself, personally thrash metal is a live entity, raw, powerful, in your face animal. So listening to a CD in a quiet living room doesn’t quite cut the mustard to really showing how powerful thrash can be, so I guess we will have to see how good these tracks fair in a darkened, sweaty, smelly underground pit, surrounded by other creatures known who have been bonded by blood.
Stand out tracks:
`Scars’, `Spoiled’ and `The Path’
8.5/10- The evolution of Battlecross.
2. Not Your Slave
5. The Climb
6. Blood & Lies
7. Bound by Fear
10. The Path