Battlecross – “Rise To Power” (Metal Blade Records)
Now onto their 3rd release with legendary Metal Blade, “Rise To Power” see’s this Michigan blue collar thrash crew bring it all together from their previous releases into one almighty album! While “Pursuit Of Honor” was a thrashy speedfest, “War Of Will” saw greater amounts of groove being brought in with more catchiness and hooks. “Rise To Power” reflects the maturity of the band’s experience in combining the two along with a fat production sound that really allows the power riffs and those monster grooves to come across with some great, thick tones – definitely comparable to Metallica and Pantera during their riffing best! Over the top come Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala blazing guitars – childhood friends and founders of this battle beast, their interaction effortlessly playing melodies and aggression off one another is second to none on powerfully driven songs like ‘Not Your Slave’, ‘Blood & Lies’ and ‘Scars’! With the death metal element still very much evident in Gumby’s raw vocals, Hiran’s occasional chopping riffs and the production courtesy of Jason Suecof (The Black Dahlia Murderer etc), it’s actually great to hear more of Don Slater’s bass adding to the fullness of the sound. After losing long time skinsman Mike Kreger and going through several live stand ins, Battlecross have settled with Alex Bent, whose rapid fire drumming stampedes all over this album matching the ferocity of his new mates! Battlecross may not win points in everybody’s books for originality, but their fighting spirit and sense of self-empowerment, as reflected in their lyrics gives them the will to push ever onward to victory.