Metal. Pure, unmitigated thrash metal. There is little other way to describe the latest album from Metal Blade Records’ own Battlecross. War of Will, the band’s sophomore release, is one of those records that any thrash metal purist will openly embrace. As tight as this album is, it’s incredible to think that the album was completed in only a month. Typically, one would think that a record completed in roughly a month would have just been haphazardly thrown together. But this record proves quite the opposite, musically speaking. Much the same can be said of the album’s lyrical content, too. Lyrically speaking, this album is even more fuel in the fight against those that would stereotype metal as being one thing or another. It proves much like so many other metal bands that metal can be heavy and uplifting. And it’s that combined with the album’s solid sound that makes it deserving of at least once listen.
One of the best examples of what makes War of Will such an impressive record is the song, ‘Never Coming Back.’ The title sounds ominous, yes. And being that it’s from a metal band, it sounds even more ominous. But one look through the song’s lyrics will prove otherwise. Vocalist Kyle Gunther wrote in this song of the type of person that would much rather blame everyone else for his or her own problems, instead of taking the blame for his or her own problems. He wrote, “As you stand there/Holding the shattered pieces of your life/Chiding everyone/For not protecting you/Believe that you’re the martyr/And drowned in your own lies/What we had is never coming back/Never coming back.” These words are entirely relatable. That is because everybody has encountered someone like that at one point or another in their own life. Some listeners may be dealing with such a person right now in their own daily life. This critic will openly say that he is in fact dealing with one of those people right now. So it goes without saying that this is a powerful addition to War of Will. The power that fills the song musically adds even more depth to the song. It serves alongside the lyrics to highlight the anger and frustration felt by those affected by the “blamer” type. The dual guitar attack of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala is crushing. It will take audiences back to the heyday of metal, harkening back to the likes of Iron Maiden, only amped up to a factor of ten. It is just one of the many moments that any metal head will appreciate and enjoy on this record.
‘Never Coming Back’ is a powerful song to say the least on War of Will. Right along the same vein as that song is the album’s fifth track, ‘Get Over It.’ This song has just as much power as the aforementioned song. It’s another song whose lyrics echo the album’s theme of self-empowerment and personal strength. The same energy and power carried throughout ‘Never Coming Back’ is here both lyrically speaking and musically. Gunther powers his way through this song, screaming, “I will not play your petty games/It’s only in your head/Your lies become true/It’s only in your head/That these accusations make sense.” He’s noting how a given figure has let personal doubt about given situations fester in his or her own mind and turned into paranoia that he or she is then driven to believe. Again, this is an entirely relatable situation. Whether it’s a situation of a person relationship or of something similar to said situation, it’s one in which everybody has been at one time or another. Yet again, the song’s musical side does quite the job of illustrating the powerful emotions that are brought up in such situations. That musical and lyrical power together, are certain to have quite the impact on the band’s listeners.
Listeners should be able to tell at this point that Battlecross has quite the album on its hands as do its listeners. One could go on and on about each one of the songs on this record. One more example would not be enough. The self-empowering songs keep coming through the record as is exemplified in both the defiant ‘The Will to Overcome’ and the album’s title track. Nowhere is that message more clear than in the defiant ‘the Will to Overcome’ and the album’s title track. Both songs send the message of standing tall and proud, flipping the proverbial middle finger at the world. Both are right up there with the likes of certain songs from Machine Head and Hatebreed. Fans can hear these songs and all of the others from War of Will now as the album is available in stores and online. Fans can also hear the band play songs from the album live during its current tour. The band will be in Lakewood, Ohio tonight alongside 3 Inches of Blood, Revocation and Diamond Plate. Fans can get the most current tour dates and more from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal and http://www.battlecrossmetal.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.