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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Battlecross Rise To Power – Review
BATTLECROSS
RISE TO POWER

METAL BLADE RECORDS
Release Date: August 21st 2015



Every once in a while I come across an album or a band in the underground that grabs my attention and hooks me in immeditately, the kind of stuff that bands like Metallica or Slayer did back in the day or what Devildriver and Lamb Of God did later on. There is no greater feeling than to hear an album for the first time that simply blows you away. Battlecross has been one of those bands and their latest album "Rise To Power" is simply one of the best albums I have heard in some time. The combination of an unbelievably tight groove, hooks that are beautifully infectious and in addition to having a sonically pleasing production are the ingredients of what make a great metal album.
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While the band are for the most part known as a thrash metal band, there is a lot more to their music than just thrashy riffs and fast tempos. Tracks like "Blood And Ties" contains a killer doom part toward the end and "The Climb" while a fast track in itself, is more along the lines of what you may hear on a Black Dahlia Murder record with blast beats and breakdowns here and there. Even some punk infused thrash sits on the album with the song "Shackles" so diversity is certaintly something that this album has. "Bound By Fear" is a highlight on the album, a galloping song with a nice double kick behind it but it's the hooky breakdown that the song gets into that really stands out. The bass is right in the pocket and it has a killer riff that literally left me humming it crazily for days! But if we want to get into the best song on the album (or at the very least, my favorite) then it has to be the second track on the album "Not Your Slave". It pretty much sold me on this record alone and the groove factor is so good, it's hard not to headbang to it. The song dives back and forth between mid-tempo and thrash but that killer stop/start in the intro which is repeated a couple of times is so infectious, you would have to be brain dead to not at least move your head around just slightly.

As mentioned before, the album's production is top notch, the dynamics are perfect, the drums are in your face and if you crank the whole thing on a decent sterio system, you can feel the music hammer into your chest. That's what you want a good metal record to do, to not just be good musically but to sound good and to be felt. Nothing bothers me more in music than an under-produced, half-assed sound where the drums are non-existent and there is nothng but guitars and vocals. "Rise To Power" is a flawlessly sounding album, the guitars have clarity and it's the way metal is supposed to be heard. Kyle Gunther's vocals are also great and while there is a lot of double-ups on the black metal type screaming parts, it works for the song but it is something that a lot of fans have complained about being used too often.

If I had to pick the weakest song, it would probably be "Spoiled" despite the fact that it's got a very cool old school metal vibe reminiscent of early Metallica or even Overkill. With it's occasional jump into melodic death metal territory and a very melodic solo, it's probably the weakest track but given the quality of this song alone, that doesn't really mean much in the context of the entire album. On the other hand staying with the classic metal vibe, the final track on the album "The Path" definitely has 80's rock and metal written all over it even though it starts off being a fairly thrashy piece. But that cool rock groove the band go into midway and into the solo is a perfect example of where the band's roots lie, that while the band have a fresh, modern take on the thrash metal genre, the band aren't afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. Blue collar thrash? I think there's more to this band than that but whatever label you want to pin on their music, the band have something here. Those hooky riffs, the melodic guitar parts and the aggressive, heavy aspects of traditional and modern metal is all here on this album which makes this album a possible contender for metal album of the year.


TRACKLIST
Scars
Not Your Slave
Absence
Spoiled
The Climb
Blood And Lies
Bound By Fear
Despised
Shackles
The Path


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Review by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie