Battlecross

Pursuit of Honor

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Michigan natives Battlecross celebrated their signing to Metal Blade by re-recording the majority of their self-financed debut album, Push Pull Destroy, along with some newly penned material, then renaming the whole shebang Pursuit of Honor for good measure. Thus, it's pretty much on a clean slate that the original album's title track establishes the template of what's in store -- this being a steady diet of melodic death/thrash nuggets delivered with a speed and intensity rarely heard since the Crown's Crowned in Terror heyday. And yet despite the catchy melodies clinging for dear life onto the music's frantic framework, it's oftentimes the standout bass playing of one Don Slater that steals the show on the songs named above, as well as subsequent major rager "Man of Stone," and others. In its absence (and you have to give Battlecross credit for not overdoing a good thing), additional songs like "Deception," "Breaking You," and "Leech" start fading into the woodwork somewhat…albeit the woodwork of a house collapsing around your ears, keeping things exciting. Also, one should not overlook the efforts of drummer Mike Kreger, who enthusiastically wrecks his kit while guitarists Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala aggressively duel each other to the death (spectacularly so on "Misery") and vocalist Kyle Gunther spits out lyrics in multiple varieties of croaks, roars, and screeches. So even though there's still work to be done in years to come, all of these traits at least ensure that there'll never be a dull moment so long as Battlecross are rocking this kegger.

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