Two Rounds With Battlecross\’ \”Rise To Power\”

So here\’s the deal folks…

The Front Row Report was so head over heels in love (dont judge us!) with  Rise to Power that two of our crack pot staffers decided to review it. Thats right, you get 2 for the price of , well……..NONE.

Round # 1

Formed in 2003, Michigan thrashers Battlecross have already shared the stage with some of metal’s most esteemed alumni and played some of the US & Europe’s biggest festivals, but have somehow still not hit the level of success they so richly deserve. However, their newest album Rise to Power for Metal Blade is about to change all that. Rise to Power is the band’s 3rd studio album and was produced by Jason Suecof at Audiohammer studios in Florida. The album was mixed & mastered by mark Lewis and contains cover art by Peter Sallai. Rise to Power is contemporary and classic, each in equal measure and shows a blissful disregard for limitations. It is a labyrinth of bone jarring arrangements that is both invigorating & unpredictable. To further pound that sentiment home, tracks like opener “Scars” and “Blood & Lies” are a glorious sonic melee of technical dexterity and power metal energy, mixed with subtle hints & undertones of progressive songs structures, to create a sound that is unequivocally all their own. Meanwhile, the skull crushing grooves provided by guitarists Tony Asta & Hiran Deraniyagala, combined with the flourishes of double kick from drummer Alex Bent and strident vocals of Kyle Gunther on the self-empowering lead single “Not Your Slave” serves as a rumbling mantra of intent and direction of the album. Elsewhere, the dizzying array of pummeling double kick & blistering blast beats of songs like “Spoiled” and “Bound by Fear” flash back to the glory days of thrash, while tracks like “Absence” and “Shackles” mix the vintage elements of Testament with the modern sensibilities of Lamb of God and is sure to thrill fans of both and if by chance you’re a fan of Avenged Sevenfold, you’re simply going to love “The Climb,” “Despised” and “The Path.” Here’s the bottom line. With most tracks clocking in at just around the 3 minute mark, Rise to Power leaves absolutely no room for filler of any kind and puts the focus on what really matters, to create an album that is as refreshing as it is brutal. 9 out of 10. Eric Hunker  

Round # 2

If you\’re anything like me, there\’s always been one or two genres of music that no matter how much you don’t regularly listen to will always have a special place in your heart or a burned spot on your frontal cortex. In my case, Metal is one of those genres. Wait, not the monster that was spawned in the mid 80\’s a la,  Poison, Warrant & L.A. Guns (not that those bands don’t have their place in history) but Metal that was a game changer in the genre. Bands like Slayer, Anthrax, Testament & Metallica (the first four).  On the latest release from Detroit\’s Battlecross, ‘Rise To Power’,  I get that same feeling. That emotional high ( if you will) of \”I\’ve finally come across a band that carries the same torch for  metal as I do.\” Battlecross has dealt with their fair share of adversity in the percussion department over the past few years. Yet, in standard \”Detroit vs. Everyone\” fashion, they’ve been patient and persevered until the missing link, Alex Bent presented himself. Rounding out the line-up for Battlecross, now a solid quintet,  is Kyle \”Gumby\” Gunther on vocals, Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala on guitar & Don Slater on  bass. Rise to Power opening track Scars, sets the tone of the entire record.  Gunther\’s knife-like vocals are finely tuned and infused with brutal intensity.  There is a strong cohesiveness and balance between the guitar interplay of Asta and Deraniyagala that it is obvious that they know each other\’s thoughts. Blood & Lies marks the half way point of Rise to Power.  Blood & Lies begins with  an classical acoustic arrangement that conjured up  memories of Metallica\’s \”Battery\”.  Quickly mutating into a \”raise your blood pressure\” guitar riff sitting just below Gunther\’s demonic vocals. In full 360\’ transformation the track finishes with a thick sludgy down tempo groove. What was most interesting to me was even though Bent is the new kid on the block (not new to drumming) he and bass player, Don Slater have melded a musical relationship far beyond their short tenure together. That symbiosis tells you all you need to know about Battlecross and their goal for perfection. Bottom Line – The arrow points to the stars for Battlecross! \”Vive la Battlecross!\” -Cooper