In recent years, young bands have been emerging in the metal world that not only worship at the altar of classic thrash albums by Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Testament, Pantera and the like, but also at the altar of classic death metal albums by Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse and the like. While thrash and death metal are certainly distinct and unique genres within in the metal umbrella, a melding of the two is actually fairly logical considering death metal’s roots lie within thrash. Some bands are doing this incredibly well (Revocation, for my money, are probably the leaders of the pack) and Battlecross is one of the latest bands to throw their name in the ring.
Battlecross’, to my ears, death metal influences are fairly subtle. Say, along the lines of, how Lamb Of God and Slipknot have subtle death metal influences. The thrash attack appears to be their preferred modus operandi, but they are not in the retro-thrash category along with bands like Evile, Bonded By Blood, etc. The band refers to themselves as “Blue Collar Thrash Metal”, which I have no idea what that is supposed to mean as I’ve never thought metal was ever associated with the white collar crowd. I mean, I don’t think uber-wealthy people host parties where they serve champagne and strawberries and crank Machine Head, although, if anyone knows of such a party happening, then please get me invited because I would very much like to witness that (and eat some strawberries).
Anyway, while the album is good for what it is, it does suffer some setbacks. First, the production on the album sounds a little muddled and buried. I will confess that I purchased the album via AmazonMP3 and listened to it on my iPod through a Bose Stereo System, so I’m sure, as any audiophile would attest, that some sound quality was lost, but the guitars definitely sound a little buried in the mix. The other issue is that after a brief intro and first single “Push Pull Destroy”, the album does blend together in one giant blur. The vocals are standard issue for new metal bands emerging playing this style and that definitely contributes to the sameness feel of the album, but admittedly there are moments where you say “cool riff”, “nice bass line” and the what not.  While it may sound like I’m miterating upon this release, the reason this album is worth checking out lies within in the fact that they show a great amount of potential and with continued growth could really step it up on their next release (especially with some better production). As of right now though, they really aren’t blazing any new trails, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. Everybody has got to start somewhere you know? If you are a fan of thrash metal and death metal (tech or otherwise) and not a purist about either genre, then this album should be up your alley.
Grade: B
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