Tuesday, 25 February 2014

CD Review: War Of Will, by Battlecross (2013)

Mixing new thrash with melodic death metal, Michigan's Battlecross produce a sturdy metal alloy. The good parts of War Of Will, the band's third studio album, mix manic but sharp strumming with buzzy guitar work and cleverly sophisticated melodies.

War Of Will crams ten tracks into 36 minutes, an exercise in efficiency that produces only two songs longer than four minutes. Both the good and average selections come and go with a dizzying intensity. The best tracks, including openers Force Fed Lies and Flesh And Bone, could have sparkled for longer, but the less inspired selections, primarily album closer Never-Ending Night, mercifully don't linger.

Despite the overall short length, there is a sense of diminishing returns as the album pushes on, the final four tracks struggling to generate new ideas and ambling towards well-worn directions.

The guitars of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala are at the forefront of the Battlecross sound, trading salvos of rapid fire thrash shredding filled with tidy staccato arrangements and explorative variations. The Kyle Gunther melodic death metal vocals alternate between a high and low range, but are always pushed to the back, behind the guitar domination. The mix emphasizes the band's strong attachment to rational but high speed melodies as the basis for all aggression.

The guitar work is at its best in the quite magnificent and ridiculously fast Ghost Alive, Battlecross entering the battlefield with heavy equipment and an intention to level all enemies with a multitude of machineguns. War Of Will proves to be one-sided: Battlecross win handsomely.


Kyle "Gumby" Gunther - Vocals
Tony Asta - Guitar
Hiran Deraniyagala - Guitar
Don Slater - Bass

Guest Drummer - Shannon Lucas

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Force Fed Lies - 10
2. Flesh And Bone - 10
3. Never Coming Back - 8
4. My Vaccine - 7
5. Get Over It - 7
6. Ghost Alive - 10
7. Wage A War - 7
8. The Will To Overcome - 7
9. Beast - 7
10. Never-Ending Night - 6

Average: 7.90

Produced by Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi.
Mixed by Mark Lewis. Mastered by Joey Vera.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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