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Battlecross: Pursuit Of Honor (Album Review)

By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal

Release Date: August 2nd 2011
Review Date: July 14th, 2011
Label: Metal Blade

My rating:

    Track Listing:
  1. Pursuit of Honor
  2. Push Pull Destroy
  3. Kaleb
  4. Deception
  5. Man of Stone
  6. Breaking You
  7. Rupture
  8. Leech
  9. Better Off Dead
  10. Misery
  11. Foreshadowing

Detroit-based technical thrash metal quintet Battlecross recently signed on to the Metal Blade label, and are now ready to present their Metal Blade debut 'Pursuit Of Honor', consisting of 11 tracks bristling with fist-pumping, face-melting heavy metal at its finest.

The title track acts as the 'calm before the storm' type intro that leads into the real opening track "Push Pull Destroy". Right away, I can identify the uniqueness in Battlecross' music, as they combine death metal-style vocals with music that can be rather accurately described as traditional heavy metal, at least in this instance. This highly upbeat track is laden with twin guitar harmonies that would raise many a fist in the air and make the heads of listeners bang almost automatically. As if this wasn't already enough, Don Slater's bass licks would make you reminisce Steve Harris laying down the bass in those classic early Maiden tunes. With a start as epic as this, the onus was on the following track "Kaleb" to attempt to keep up, and it certainly does. This one though is more of an outright thrash tune as double-bass drumming and fast alternate picking take prominence here. "Deception" enhances the technical aspect even further and definitely sounds like a death metal staple that should please fans of that particular sub-genre.

"Man Of Stone" is a very interesting tune that brings together the elements of death, thrash and traditional metal that can be found in the first four tracks. If I had to pick one song to represent the album as a whole, this would be my pick. "Breaking You" completely justifies its title, coming across as easily the most brutal and furious tune on the entire album, a potential fan favorite for sure. The album keeps moving from one glorious composition to the next, as is the case with "Rupture", another killer tune that treats the listener to a roller-coaster journey of musical styles, patterns and speeds. The more standard thrash/groove element is back in the following track "Leech", which in contrast to its predecessor, stays with a consistent structure throughout. The flow of brutality is maintained with the tracks "Better Off Dead", and "Misery", making this album a truly worthwhile listen from start to finish. The final track "Foreshadowing" is more like an outro, much in the style of the intro, perhaps serving as a link to the beginning of the album and urging the listener to press play all over again.

Overall, I would go as far as saying that this is one of the most 'complete' heavy metal albums I have heard in recent times. Not only does it have elements that fans of a variety of sub-genres can relate to, but it combines them excellently well to result in a very cohesive, well-rounded album. Whether you're a fan of traditional metal stalwarts like Iron Maiden, groove metal heavyweights like Pantera and Lamb of God, Megadeth-esque technical thrash metal, death metal, or even power metal, you will most definitely enjoy this album.

A tremendously exhilarating effort!

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