Another one for the Metal Blade roster, Detroit-based Blue Collar Thrash quintet Battlecross are set to surprise many. On first impressions, the band name, the album title, and the album artwork suggest a cross between S.O.D. and battle metal (a nightmare genre that I hope never comes to fruition). Fortunately though, what lies within is more than a cut above what that horrible hybrid could possibly produce. Don Slater's bass heroics slam with the dual guitar-work of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala and the staggering drum work of Mike Kreger. And Kyle 'Gumby' Gunther screams, roars, growls, and grunts his way in, out, and through the pit-inducing tunes like an already annoyed ogre that's just discovered someone's stolen his skull collection.
After the opening instrumental title track – a melodic guitar piece that will throw another spanner in the works for those trying to categorize Battlecross – first single 'Push Pull Destroy' is a 'Fucking Hell!' tune if ever there were one. 'Kaleb' is an outright thrash tune, the double-bass drum work and savage riffery at the fore. The technical aspect of 'Deception' and the bass work of 'Man of Stone' – the best tune here – are ridiculously good. The ferocious 'Breaking You' will do exactly that, as will the multi-rhythmic skullfuck that is 'Rupture'. 'Leech' is a more standard thrash/groove track, whereas the Bay Area gets a neck-breaking nod for 'Better Off Dead', and 'Misery' shifts the level of expectation even higher for their sophomore album. And 'Foreshadowing' is an instrumental in the style of the opening title track that closes the album by making you want to start all over again.
Battlecross's not-so-secret weapon is Slater. With Asta and Deraniyagala at work, many a bassist could happily sit in the pocket and the tunes would still stand strong, but what Slater brings to the tunes is astounding and will turn the head of many a metal bassist and make them take a long hard look at their nether regions. Together, from beginning to end, Battlecross throw out an unending array of metal surprises, not once taking respite within the confines of any one genre, and combining as many technical elements as they do thrash or death metal. On Pursuit of Honour, Battlecross have found a way to unearth the best from every style they lay their hands upon and tune it to their advantage and created a stunning piece of work.
- Pursuit Of Honor
- Push Pull Destroy
- Man Of Stone
- Breaking You
- Better Off Dead