Pure thrash metal just makes me feel all warm inside, and at this point nobody does it better than Canton, Michigan’s “regular guy” metal gods Battlecross. Since a friend first turned me on to 2011’s Pursuit of Honor I’ve been constantly and consistently impressed with the band’s output, whether live or on record, and that continues with their brand new third LP, “Rise to Power”
At this point a band as great at what they do as BC would to be idiots to fix what isn’t broken, and it’s a mistake they come nowhere near committing as RTP continues the bands unbroken streak of excellent, instant classic thrash records. Singer Kyle Gunther brings the fire on the mic, the usual high pitched wails joined by lower growls, but now more often mixed and entwined, similar to The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad. As indicated in interviews, the band beefs up the groove element this time out and it’s highly noticeable, bassist’s Don Slater’s earth shaking low end much more prominent in the mix while taking nothing away from the breakneck speed of awesome new drummer Alex Bent.
Make no mistake though, this is still a thrash record through and through, with the dual axe attack of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala as potent as ever. Any of these riffs would feel right at home on a classic Megadeth or Metallica record, but they are never derivative or repetitive, remaining as brutal as they are catchy. Catchiness really is the operative word here as the songwriting is of the absolute highest quality, living up to the standards set on their previous records, and I’m sure these new songs will be a blast to hear live (a few already were). Lyrically the band also stays on point, continuing to forge refreshingly positive anthems of self-actualization and personal responsibility, without ever resorting to Hatebreed-level “motivational speaker” corniness.
With this release Battlecross have found the perfect alchemy to ascend to the status of metal legends, truly the heir apparent to Pantera’s American groove-thrash crown.
Rise to Power doesn’t officially rear its ugly head until tomorrow, but you can stream it now at Metal Hammer, and Battlecross with be at the Electric Factory on November 12th in support of fake blood and alien semen soaked metal institution GWAR.