Album: War of Will
1. Force Fed Lies
2. Flesh & Bone
3. Never Coming Back
4. My Vaccine
5. Get Over It
6. Ghost Alive
7. Wage a War
8. The Will to Overcome
10. Never-Ending Night
Whoever said that the metal genre has become stale and boring has clearly never heard of Michigan’s Battlecross! In 2010, the band raised the bar for aspiring bands in the genre with their debut album “Pursuit of Honor”. The lead single “Push Pull Destroy” served as a big middle finger to all of the people who put them down and served as inspiration for those who felt down. The following single “Man of Stone” was a more powerful version of that track and cut a bit deeper, all the while maintaining that incredibly heavy and technical groove that the band has been known for. The track “Kaleb”, however, was the track that really stood out to me. It’s a song that frontman Kyle “Gumby” Gunther wrote for his son. In it, he speaks about how he wants him to grow up, not having to struggle with the same types of choices he made. You can feel the rawest of emotions and an absolute power in this track, especially live! Now, merely 2 years later, the band is back and better than ever with the release of their second studio album “War of Will”. Upon hearing the debut single–and opening track–of the album, you automatically notice there’s a more defined sound that they’ve created this time around. But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes this quite possibly one of the best metal albums of this decade!
First and foremost, we’ll talk about the absolute raw emotion and power behind each track. Take tracks like “Flesh & Bone”, “Get Over It” and “Force Fed Lies” for instance, each track sounds, feels and appears as aggressive as they truly are. But this band isn’t all about anger or aggression, more so than just letting the emotion pour behind each lick, beat and lyric. You won’t find a better example of this than the tracks on this album.
Secondly, we’ll talk about the deeper meaning behind some of these lyrics. “Don’t let them fool you into self defeat and desperation”, “Cowards die many times before they reach their own demise” and “Don’t fear your day of reckoning, make it fear you.” These lyrics are all screamed loud and proud as a hand reaching out to those who feel like they are lost. They are speaking and telling you to push yourself to your absolute limits and that your mistakes make you stronger. “Grow through the pain, you’re more than flesh & bone”. There is a greater purpose out there for everyone, whether they realize it right away or decades into their lives, there’s always something bigger than for you.
Then, you have tracks like “My Vaccine”, which speak of not letting your eyes and your heart be fooled into deception. “This is my vaccine from the world and all it’s ignorance” “One day, we’ll find the answers. One day, we’ll know the truth. You and I have this vaccine, because there is no cure.” “Create your own immunity. Don’t turn your back or drop your guard, you’ll never see tomorrow.” Things and people aren’t always as they appear to be, be on your toes and teach yourself to see through the lies and deceptions of this world. This is a track that hits hard with me, making it one of my absolute favorite Battlecross songs. I’ve been deceived many times, but once you learn how to spot ignorance, you can create your own “vaccine” so to speak and be more immune to it. Don’t turn your back for a second, you never know who’s waiting in the wings with the knife to push deep into it. It doesn’t stop there, but I don’t want to spoil too much 😉
Next, we will speak of instrumentation and structure. Some may feel that this album was a bit rushed, but in all reality, I think it was done in the perfect amount of time. It takes quite a while in order to create a metal album, especially a great one. Kyle, Tony, Hiran and Don all went above and beyond in order to achieve this. The solos are fiery, face-melting, epic and just absolutely mind-blowing. The guitar parts are more technical and, thus more entrancing. The absolute fire, emotion and power behind Gumby’s voice has increased ten-fold. The bass lines are pounding and groovy like you could’t imagine and the drums are perfectly timed, adding that final element needed to make this a masterpiece.
I waited for this album for what seemed like a lifetime, however, upon my first spin I was instantly happy I waited. I don’t think the album could have come out more perfect than what it did. They’ve raised the bar, once again, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next! These guys are setting the standards high for bands joining the genre these days. If you’re still a non-believer, go pick up “War of Will” on July 9th on MetalBlade Records! You will discover that metal runs deep and proudly so in the blood of Battlecross!