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'Rise To Power' (Metal Blade Records)
Out now

Johnny Main
johnny main


Battlecross are an Extreme Metal band from Canton, Michigan and were formed in 2003 by guitarists Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala who were childhood best friends and neighbours.

The band was formed while Asta and Deraniyagala were both attending Salem High School, but it wasn’t until 2006 when they hired front man Marshall Wood that the band found their direction.

Wood ultimately left the band in 2010 and was replaced by current vocalist Kyle "Gumby" Gunther just as the band were offered up as the opening act for the likes of Dying Fetus, DevilDriver, The Absence and Vital Remains.

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Earlier in 2010, the band had just self-released their debut album ‘Push Pull Destroy’ with Wood on vocals when the band came to the attention of Metal Blade Records.

With Gunther on board as the new vocalist, the band re-recorded ‘Push Pull Destroy’ which was re-named ‘Pursuit of Honor’ (with the addition of some extra tracks) and was eventually released by Metal Blade in 2011.

The follow up album, 2013’s ‘War of Will’ was produced by Eyal Levi (guitarist with Industrial/Death Metal band, Dååth) and was mastered by Armoured Saint bass player, Joey Vera.

The album brought the band appearances at events including the New England Metal Festival and the Orion Music + More Festival (curated by Metallica) and the 2013 iteration of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

After numerous changes behind the drum kit over the previous three years, the band hired Alex Bent in 2014, who joined the band midway through their first ever headline tour after the previous drummer resigned from the band.

Subsequent high profile support tours with Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Machine Head and Children of Bodom covering Europe, North and South America, enlarged the band’s fan base even further.

With a more stable line up, the band entered the studio in early 2015 to start work on this, their third album. With a running time of just under thirty six minutes, you shouldn’t be put off if the term “Extreme Metal band” makes you feel uneasy.

Just one of the ten tracks here is over four minutes with the rest averaging a running time of around three and a half minutes, so there’s no long drawn out epics here but neither are there any brutal one minute long numbers that would likely set your teeth on edge.

Things start well enough with ‘Scars’ which, I’m not going to lie to you, is not a slow plodding number but is more of a fast paced track to gently ease you into the band’s sound.

The catchy guitar riff and solid drum sound courtesy of Alex Bent hooks you in while, okay, the vocals from Gunther may not be everyone's cup of tea but you can't deny this band has talent by the bucketful.

Likewise, ‘Not Your Slave’ has Bent setting the pace and putting in a great performance as he uses as much of his drum kit as he can in a controlled but energetic performance.

There's another great guitar riff too, whilst the deeper vocal sound from Gunther during the chorus give this track a slightly different feel but it's all good.

The main guitar riff on ‘Spoiled’ wouldn't look out of place on an early Metallica album and by the time the drums click in, the track is off and running. Gunther gives an aggressive performance with those deeper vocal tones making this song one of my favourites.

The downside here is that the guitar solo loses its way a bit during the solo but it's still a remarkable piece of work overall.

‘Bound By Fear’ has a good drum/guitar intro before the tempo settles down. Bent shows his skills with an almost metronomic performance here while Gunther alternates from the higher vocal register to the lower one with fluidity.

There’s an almost Elizabethan sound from the acoustic guitar during the intro to ‘Blood And Lies’ before the electric guitar piles in. The acoustic guitar work once again shows how much skill the band have and it’s a really impressive piece, as is the final number, ‘The Path’.

Like ‘Blood And Lies’ before it there's a nice acoustic guitar intro before it’s joined by a phased electric guitar adding a bit more body to the sound. It’s not long before the electric guitar sound fully takes over in a well thought out solo section and the powerful track really fires up. Bent once again uses as much of his drum kit as possible to stunning effect making this a great number from start to finish.

All in all, though, for me, this is a great album from a band I’d heard very little about in the past (although I did catch a live performance when they supported Killswitch Engage in Glasgow early in 2014), but now they’re back on my radar, I’m looking forward to hearing more from them and catching them live again soon.


You can see Battlecross live here:
Monday 26th October – Knitting Factory, Reno
Wednesday 28th October – The Marquee, Tempe
Thursday 29th October – Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque
Friday 30th October – The Black Sheep, Colorado Springs
Saturday 31st October – The Summit Music Hall, Denver
Monday 2nd November – Canopy Club, Urbana
Tuesday 3rd November – Concord Music Hall, Chicago
Wednesday 4th November – Orbit Room , Grand Rapids
Thursday 5th November – The Vogue, Indianapolis
Friday 6th November – Harpo’s, Detroit
Saturday 7th November – The Town Ballroom, Buffalo
Sunday 8th November – Agora Theatre, Cleveland
Monday 9th November – 9:30 Club, Washington
Wednesday 11th November – The NorVa, Norfolk
Thursday 12th November – Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Friday 13th November – Toad’s Place , New Haven
Saturday 14th November – The Palladium, Worcester
Sunday 15th November – Webster Hall, New York
Tuesday 17th November – The Orange Peel, Asheville
Wednesday 18th November – Exit/In, Nashville
Thursday 19th November – House of Blues, New Orleans
Friday 20th November – Gas Monkey Live, Dallas
Saturday 21st November – EaDo Party Park, Houston
Sunday 22nd November – Scoot Inn, Austin
Tuesday 24th November – Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte
Wednesday 25th November – The Masquerade, Atlanta
Friday 27th November – Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Saturday 28th November – Venue 578, Orlando

‘Rise To Power’ Track List:
Not Your Slave
The Climb
Blood & Lies
Bound by Fear
The Path

Battlecross are:
Kyle "Gumby" Gunther – Vocals
Tony Asta – Guitar
Hiran Deraniyagala – Guitar
Don Slater – Bass Guitar
Alex Bent – Drums

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