BattleCross – Pursuit of Honor

They say :- …and after years of persistence and dedication, BATTLECROSS is celebrating their hard work and prolific future by signing with Metal Blade Records.

“We are extremely honored to join such a respected label and humbled by their belief in our music. We’re stoked to be part of a label that has a great roster of bands we all admire and respect!” says Tony. Hiran adds, “We understand the hard work and pavement pounding that is required of a Metal Blade band and we are going to work our asses’ off to show the world what we’re about”

Incorporating many elements of extreme thrash, death and tech metal, creating a precise blend of fist pumping brutality, intensity, and drive, BATTLECROSS satisfies both the technical metal snob and the knuckle-dragging metal jock alike.

We Say :- Just how “good” does “good enough” need to be today? In the crowded worlds of “heavy” and “metal”, it’s pretty clear that over the last 18 months, the quality benchmark has been raised a notch or eight. There have been some really very special records released so it’s probably not quite enough to be “alright” if you’re going to make a big splash and properly get the punters talking. This, I’m afraid, is the problem with the Battlecross record, Pursuit of Honor. I really, really wanted to love this record. Really, I did. There is quite  a lot to like here. If I do this as a tick box exercise then Pursuit of Honor pretty much ticks all the boxes. Lots of crunchy riffs? Tick. Lots of pummelling drums? Tick. Lots of howling vocals? Tick. And yet. Some of this is just a bit perfunctory, a little bit ordinary.

Push Pull Destroy, the first single off the album and lead in track following the oh-so-obvious calm before the storm intro of Pursuit of Honor. It has a lot going for it- there are echoes of Devildriver and Lamb of God with some inventive, original flourishes to stop things dropping over into pastiche territory. The playing is technically strong and, in parts, fluid and warm. It’s a very promising start. Kaleb keeps the pace up and its a punchy and actually, and this will sound weird, a charming little number. It has some terrific drumming and a dynamism that does that hairs on the back of the neck thing pretty well.

The quality threshold drops off for Deception which, despite a really nice riff and song structure feels a little bit forced and a little bit unfinished; there are too many ideas jostling for position and the band have erred on the side of caution and thrown all the ideas in rather than go with the best ones: sometimes, it’s about what you don’t say, rather than what you do.

Man of Stone suffers a bit from the same problem but Breaking You picks things up again with a cracking thrash riff and call and response vocal that is punchy and direct, in all the ways that you love. Rupture and Leech, whilst having their moments, feel like filler tracks or demos that need more work- there’s a lot of potential but not all of it fulfilled. Misery, however, has a sheen of class that sounds not unlike In Flames meeting Origin at a rowdy Saturday night club and really laying into each other- it’s a decent end to the record and leaves things on a bit of a high.

Overall then, a bit of a curate’s egg: as the saying goes, it’s good in parts. I think Battlecross are worth your support though- there is much to like and admire in what they are trying to do- it’s a shame to these ears that not all of it works. A shame in some respects but credit to them for getting their art out there. There’s promise here- its just not yet quite been fulfilled. Next time, maybe.