No Cleaning Singing – Pursuit of Honor CD Review

October 7, 2011

Pursuit of Honor is nine lean, mean, tech-thrash attacks with two instrumental bookends—a total of just over a half hour. Each track blows up before it gets stale, and then the album thrusts you headlong into another track. Battlecross understand that metal is about movement, and that the only time to slow down is to either let the listener recover, or to drop into further heaviness. The breakdowns never stop a song dead or turn a rager into a stupid sing-along. Likewise, each solo impresses (especially the Thin Lizzy meets Van Halen finger tap break near the end of “Misery”), but only for a moment—everything is too tight for wankery to detract from riff after punishing riff.

The most distinct feature of Battlecross’ music is that each song is in some way or another energizing. Pursuit of Honor pumps you up for thirty minutes and leaves you feeling like a welsh berserker. It’s easy for metal to be depressing—too easy. Making something this uplifting without things getting silly is a delicate balancing act (hello, Rhapsody of Fire), but Battlecross pull it off—this album is for the most depressed state in the union, and it shows. Heandbanging is not just mandatory—it’s compulsive. The best example of the Battlecross pick-up is “Kaleb,” the most rampaging ode to positive parenting I can think of.

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