Nostalgia has a way of making the past seem bigger, better, and altogether shinier than it actually was, a feeling that a lot of revivalist metal bands have been mining as they dredge up the sounds of the past for inspiration. Battlecross, however, do something different. While their sound definitely has surging old-school thrash at its core, it doesn't sound like old-school metal. Rather, it sounds the way we like to remember thrash: ridiculously fast, aggressive, and technical. This is the feeling the Michigan band captures on its second album for Metal Blade, War of Will, which plays out more like the way someone would describe the glory days of American thrash or Swedish death metal, with a relentless parade of rapid-fire guitar heroics, tireless drumming, and intensely screamed vocals. With song after song blasting its way out of the album, War of Will feels as though it's trying to make good on its title by creating a kind of heavy metal endurance test for listeners to challenge themselves with. And while the album can be a gloriously exhausting experience, Battlecross keep things short enough to never feel as though they've overstayed their welcome, preferring to deliver their songs (for the most part) in sub-four-minute bursts. All told, War of Will is a compact and exhilarating experience from Battlecross, who are able to capture the feeling of old-school metal without needing to prop themselves up with nostalgia, instead allowing their love of the genre to shine through with every chugging riff, every solo, and every crazed fist pump.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney