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HARDWARES

BATTLECROSS

War of Will

(Metal Blade Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 8.5

Detroit's BATTLECROSS is valiantly flying the flag for blue-collar, American heavy metal on its punishing third full-length release, War of Will. It’s a great follow up to 2011’s critically-acclaimed Pursuit of Honor, and it continues the band’s exceptional blend of heavy metal sub-genres. The combination of Gothenberg-flavored melodeath and modern metal/thrash elements with ’90s groove metal and a hardcore edge is well-played here. It’s like MAIDEN’s galloping pace meets LAMB OF GOD and SHADOWS FALL’s American metal sound joined by PANTERA groove-based riffs yet played with a Finnish flavor, á la CHILDREN OF BODOM (minus the keyboards). Slight metalcore influences creep in as well but without being too obvious or too annoying; bands such as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, HEAVEN SHALL BURN and TRIVIUM sort of come to mind. This might all sound a bit too much, but there’s just a great mix of all different styles of metal on display here that’s easy to hear. The guitar melodies are so catchy and memorable that you’ll be “singing” them for days. A good example of this is exemplified in tracks ’Force Fed Lies’ and ‘Flesh & Bone,’ with the latter even delving into prog-ish territory with its dual harmonized leads. The production is razor sharp with an aggressive edge; it’s direct and succinct with an upfront and ballsy guitar sound. This is simply one of the best extreme metal releases I’ve heard in a long time, certainly one of the best of 2013 so far.



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