Battlecross - Pursuit Of Honor (Metal Blade) 2012
Detroit’s Battlecross is part of a new generation of neo-thrashers. Describing themselves as "blue collar thrash" I was anxious to check out Battlecross and "Pursuit Of Honor" was my introduction to the band. The Voivod-ish cover art and classic thrash metal logo helped built the anticipation. Musically this band is packed full of vicious riffs, speed, aggression, a melodic sense and some fairly progressive songwriting. However, while the band is for the most part a thrash band, they aren't straight forward thrash metal and their vocalist is far and away not a "blue collar thrash" vocalist. Vocalist in Kyle "Gumby" Gunther shrieks and growls, reminding me of Randy Blythe of Lamb of God fame. His style helps pulls the band closer to more modern styles of music. As well, the music itself often crosses over into death metal heaviness. Though a song like "Rupture" features some Metallica "Kill 'Em All"-style riffing, it also boasts some fast and furious blast beats. Likewise the opening moments of "Push Pull Destroy" and "Leech" sound more like death metal than thrash metal. Once "Leech" kicks in its become double-bass driven thrash metal assault on the ears. Battlecross at their base might be "blue collar thrash" but it is jumbled up with a big 'ol helping of technical death metal and snippets of metalcore. Yes, the band does incorporate some breakdowns and gang vocals, but really those elements have always been a part of thrash metal.
I was initially disappointed when I spun this CD due to my expectations. I was expecting something akin to Havok or Bonded by Blood but what I got was closer to Shadows Fall style hybrid thrash. Is that a bad thing? Not at all, but it wasn't what I was expecting. It only took a couple more spins to really begin to appreciate Battlecross' hrybid mix of thrash and death metal. Many bands attempt to combine influences and styles only to sound mixed-up and confusing. Battlecross manage to cross boundaries successfully.
Went to see Diamond Plate, Battlecross, 3 Inches of Blood and Death Angel on Friday, November 8th in Albuquerque. Great show! Battlecross were impressive live and gave me a new appreciation for this CD. The guys in Battlecross were really cool. Had them sign my copy of "Pursuit of Honor". Guitarist Tony Astra also gave me a guitar pick