Prepare Your Fists in the Pumping Position
Michigan heshers Battlecross are back once again with another Metal Blade release, War of Will. Fans of their previous efforts: fear not, for Battlecross’ third full length effort promises even more “Blue Collar Thrash Metal” with hints of serious melodicism and power grooves. So go ahead and prepare your fists in the pumping position for 36 minutes of blast beats and videogame harmonies.
“Force Fed Lies” opens the album with some Ashes of the Wake-era Lamb of God before going full Pantera on your ass. A decent mix of mid ’90s Southern metal, considering that the halfway point of the song goes straight into some Dragonforce shit. A little on the hammy side, but nothing wrong with a little camp here and there.
“Flesh & Bone” is an early standout with its Dio-esque intro and KSE precision chuggery. The meat of the song is straight thrash, but what really makes this sucker take off is the breakdown. Fuck. It’s really goddamn good. The song features harmonized tapping over some good ol’ fashion hardcore chugs, which is really bizarre. But it fuckin’ works… really well. It also features some classic power metal lyrics: “PUSH YOUR PAST ASIDE / DON’T LET FEAR EAT YOU INSIDE / GROW THROUGH THE PAIN.” Aight, so far, not bad.
“My Vaccine” has elements of Testament, Anthrax, early Florida death metal, and some Chuck Schuldiner action going on in the vocal department. However, it grows a bit monotonous in the tempo department, and could have revisited the lovely intro/outro melody. “Get Over It” features some more Lamb of God chugness (think “Set to Fail”), and some spidery, mid 2000’s Cannibal Corpse licks here and there. Again, though, it grows a bit tiring from the four minutes of consistent pummeling. It’s almost fully redeemed by its Death style outro, but overall lags a bit. “Wage A War” breaks it up a bit with some nice melodic drone action before hitting some nice mid-tempo grooves. The variety of riffs here are welcome, and seems a little less bloated.
Battlecross busts out their Nile impression for 30 seconds on the intro of “Beast” and some grindcore action in the verse sections. The diversity in these sections make for more intriguing transitions from riff to riff, and shows the scope of Battlecross’ amalgamation of styles. Final track, “Never-Ending Night,” hits you one last time with some Southern blast beats and early thrash. Although a solid track, it would have been nice to be presented with something on the scale of “Flesh & Blood” instead of another three minutes of blast-beats. However, though a bit repetitive at times, War of Will proves to be a solid effort. It’s probably not anything too unfamiliar or groundbreaking, but if you’re a fan of any of the above mentioned bands and enjoy dudes screaming and chugs, you’ll be more than likely want to pick up a copy.