Arthur’s Hammer Smashed Faces: Battlecross
Fuck. Well it has come time once again for your boy, Arthur, to give you guys something new to choke on. No….it’s not what you may think, its music you heathens. Usually when I wake up to get ready for work, the only thing I want to listen to is the sound of my body screaming at me to go back to bed, but once the clothes are on and the car is started, its fucking metal all the way to pubicle. Its pretty much the only way I can wake my dead ass up. I know you guys are all about the Horrors and the Villains and the Suggestions and everything else that I throw at you, but like I said, today is the start of something new, and the start of me hammer smashing all of your faces in….with blinding force and brutal efficiency. Ladies and gentlemen, first up on the smashing block is a group of guys I had the privilege of catching over the summer at the Mayhem tour at SPAC in Saratoga NY. I present to you in all their glory….Battlecross.
Over the course of a blistering hot day that spanned 13 hours and countless bands, I was treated to a nice soufflé of metal and heat that combined to form a sweaty mess of dehydration and brutality. It was fucking glorious. Granted, I was there mainly to see around 5 bands maximum, but had my eye on a couple of lesser known bands that I had not had the time to listen to before the show itself. That was my fault for not doing my homework, but sometimes, I like to be surprised. That day was no exception. I was joined by my metalro life mate Freddy Piano Wire, who I am sure you are all somewhat familiar with now, and as we took in the sights and sometimes awful smells of the area around us, we made our way over to the main stages so we can get a good spot. By good spot, I mean somewhere where our faces did not have to be touching someone else’s sweaty body. Needless to say, that was nearly impossible. We had our itinerary and made sure to check out all the bands we wanted to see. Born of Osiris, Children of Bodom( who surprisingly fucking killed it that night), Mastodon, Amon Amarth and some of the other awesome bands on that line up were in our sights, but the one that caught me off guard the most and melted my fucking face was a band I had only heard of because they were on the bill of this show. That band was Battlecross. Guys……yesssssssssss.
Battlecross hails from Michigan, much like my Black Dahlia Murder brethren. There seems to be something about that state that breeds metal and fire, kind of like how New Jersey breeds emo bands like it’s their state income. They don’t call it the motor murder city for nothing, right? When Battlecross first took the stage, the first thing I noticed was that there was a huge beard as the lead vocalist, with the body of a human attached to it. Fuck…Yes. Even if I didn’t hear them play, that would have made them one of the greatest bands on earth specifically for that reason. Who else has a beard on lead with a human on back up vocals? Not too many….because it’s borderline impossible. The entire band filed out of the curtains, and then took up arms to slay my fucking brain with an assault of pure technical/speed/beard metal. It’s not usually what I listen to as most of my music involves either Vikings or necromancy, but I have been known to stray into battle metal (Keep of Kalessin) and some thrash (Skeletonwitch), but never the two combined. Battlethrash….that’s the new term….you’re welcome. I looked over at Piano Wire, and we both had the same face on….which is to say no face at all because it was on the floor in a pool of filth. I had forgotten my mop and bucket. We looked back at the stage, and then completely lost our shit. That rarely happens for us as we have been to countless metal shows all over NY and the bordering states, so we our learned in the arts of face melting, but it’s rare for a band that we have never heard of to take us off our guard. It may have happened only 2 or 3 times before that.
Thirty or so minutes later, Battlecross wrapped up their set, put down their weapons, and then exited the stage. I looked over at Piano Wire again, and we both nodded in agreement. Battlecross had so far won the day. We still had about 10 bands left after them, but as far as we could tell, no one was going to be able to top that. It was glorious. Battlecross is a hybrid of speed, technical , and thrash, it’s a perfect combination to bring them to the forefront of metal. The sound is not entirely unique, but what they do, they do with a ferocity that rivals those that actually started the genre in the early days of metal. It’s kind of like a student/teacher thing. Eventually, the students of the method are going to surpass what was taught to them, and then they are going to add their own flavor to said techniques and the abilities bestowed upon them. I love it. It’s like metal itself is leveling up, and the players in the game now are nearly maxed out in ability. Fuck if that is not the goddamn nerdiest thing I have ever written.
After I came back to my senses, Piano Wire and I made our way to the merch counter to see what we could pilfer and purchase from our new musical obsession. Needless to say, we were surprised when we met the lead vocal-beard/human right at the counter. Pleasantries were exchanged and we spoke a little while about beards and metal. The best part is that he was super cool about meeting us and was not a primadonna like some other bands we ran into, or like some other bands who had merch counters there who DIDN”T EVEN PLAY THE FUCKING SHOW!!! I’m looking at you Avenged Sevenfold. Fuck you guys. Thirty fucking merch counters for them and they weren’t even there, not that I care about them, but it’s the principal of the thing. We chatted for a while before taking off to enjoy the rest of the show, but not before acquiring this sweet ass shirt that I wear frequently. It says Bearded for Your Pleasure….much like myself, and I wear it to family gatherings by the pool of radiance. This may be the second nerdiest thing I have ever written.
I know it sounds like I am all up in their business and a fan boy, but you know what? I am , and I don’t give a fuck. Battlecross showed up like a hammer of justice at Mayhem this year and took my ears by storm. They have since been added to my permanent collection….that means cd’s, not downloads, and I have already requested some new merch for the holiday coming up in February, which is your lord and savior’s birthday….wink wink….from the Harkness family. If I’m lucky, they’ll be a new hoodie to add to my growing collection. You should all go out and grab any of their released albums, doesn’t matter which one as they are all good. Pursuit of Honor is a fucking beast of an album, and Breaking You may be my pro wrestling theme song if I had one. If you get a chance to see these guys live, I highly recommend it. I unfortunately was unable to meet any other members of the band as they were busy at the time of the show, but I’m sure they are all nice guys as well who I would look forward to meeting in the future if the opportunity arises. Here’s to you Battlecross….you fucking glorious bastards of metal.
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