Battlecross – Rise To Power (Metal Blade)

Genre: Thrash Metal

Michigan marauders Battlecross’s breakthrough album, 2013’s War of Will, helped them bag some prestigious tour slots, but in truth, its thrash/power metal, Euro-friendly hybrid had a faint whiff of cheese about it.

Rise to Power, though, is a harder, more menacing affair, with the likes of The Climb pushing into death metal territory. Lamb Of God fans will find plenty to shake their locks to in Not Your Slave and Blood & Lies, while there are hints of 80s Bay Area thrash in Spoiled.

The catchy, energetic Despised, meanwhile, is simply brilliant. This is the sound of a band in love with heavy metal and not afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

So where’s the catch?

While Rise to Power is a solid and well-executed contemporary metal album, it sounds just too slick – artificial even – for the Canton-based act to truly get their passion across. Live, songs such as Shackles should snap necks; here, they’re over-polished…and weakened as a result.

Battlecross will still win many fans with this opus, they’ll probably move up a league too, but Rise to Power lacks the crunch that would have seen it live up to its name. Richard Holmes

RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Crossroads