Date: 11 July 2013
MG - Hi, great to meet you, could you give us a brief history of the band, and why the name "Battlecross"?
Band - Band formed in 2007, we played in the Michigan scene for several years before getting signed to Metal Blade in 2011. We went through a couple of line up changes since the band's inception. Bassist Don Slater joined in 2008, he came from another local band called "Ten Count" He was the bassist this band needed. In 2010 we parted ways with our original vocalist Marshall Wood who can be heard on the original self titled release "Push Pull Destroy" Kyle "Gumby" Gunther joined from a former band called "I Decay".
The band name "Battlecross" just came out of nowhere. Tony thought it sounded cool and hit me so we looked it up online and saw that no one was using that name. I think the name represents what we sound like. I hear it and I think of something 'mighty' and 'epic'
MG - Do you have any personal favorites on 'War of Will'?
Band - My personal favorites are 'Beast', 'Never Ending Night', because those two songs I was honestly not sure how they were going to fit on the record. We had worked a lot on those songs and there were points where we hit a wall on how to piece them together. 'Beast' being so different compared to the other songs I wasn't sure how it would hit with our audience also it wasn't fully complete before going into the studio. I felt unsure about 'Never Ending Night' as well because it was structured fairly simple and it's also in 3/4 timing. Once they had been recorded and finalized my expectations were beyond what I thought they might turn out to be. Very happy with how these songs tuned out and I consider them to be hidden gems of the album.MG - Have the new songs been going down well live?Band - Yeah the new songs have been going really well, especially 'Flesh and Bone' we managed to get a "wall of death" at our show in Colorado for it and it was epic! It's on YouTube! 'Force Fed Lies has been another one that we've been playing that I think the fans really love especially the break down riff at the beginning that gets some great crowd chants going. Also people love the solo at the end followed by Tony and I's ending harmony melody.
MG - Have much do you feel you the band have moved on as a band from 'Pursuit of Honor', and what can we expect from the new album?
Band - I think we have matured so much as a band. Since being signed and touring we've grown tighter as a band and learned a lot from other bands and crew. Working with Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi from Audiohammer has been a huge learning experience for us and they really pushed us beyond our limits. I feel so proud of what we accomplished because of the hard work that was put into it. The amount of time we had between finishing writing, a tour and then going into the studio was small so because the preparation time was limited it was a bit nerve wrecking going into the studio. I think people will really hear the maturity of the band on this record in the song writing and the recording itself. I think it's an evolution of what 'Pursuit Of Honor' did but I think each song has more dynamic compared to the last record.
MG - Plans for the rest of the year, will you be heading to Europe in support of the new album?
Band - After Mayhem Festival we have a two week run with Hatebreed, Shadows Fall and Acacia Strain in the states. After that I'm not sure. We're definitely going to hit Europe this album cycle but we're waiting for the right time and opportunity.MG - How is the Thrash / Metal scene in the USA especially your home state? Band - I think metal in the US is great, you have new bands like Warbringer, Revocation, Havok, Holy Grail that are keeping the thrash style alive. Michigan has a lot of great bands that range from thrash to doom like Wulfhook, Writhing, Beast In The Field, GutRot, Hellmouth, and tons more!
MG - Battlecross have been described as "A mix of Black Dahlia Murder-esque savagery and Testament-live precision". Would you say that is a fair description?Band - I say it's whatever the listener truly feels. Every one has their own opinion on what a band sounds like and as long as someone enjoys what we do no matter what kind of comparison we get then that's awesome. Both of those bands are great so it's humbling to hear that sort of comparison
MG - Thrash / Metal seems to be popular and on the rise again, why do you think this is?
Band - I think a lot of people were getting sick of bands that overused breakdowns. There was a point where every band was using that style and it was sort of straying away from what people were used to seeing at metal shows. The long hair, circle pits and driving riffs seemed to be missing. I don't have anything against bands that aren't like this or played that style but I think in general people felt like that was missing from the current state of metal music and were sick of copy cat bands doing the same sound. I don't think it should really matter how you look when it comes to music either because I truly believe it comes from the heart but I think generally speaking fans have a vision or an idea of what to expect and that style to me seems like a symbol of Heavy Metal.
MG - Feelings on Mosh pits and do you partake in mosh pits yourselves when seeing a favorite band?
Band - I think mosh pits are great! We always encourage our fans to move especially circle pits! Personally I don't go in pits, I did when I was younger but I'm too old! Hahaha
MG - What would say has been the highlight for Battlecross so far?
Band - Definitely playing Orion Fest with Metallica! We got to meet James and Rob and they both came out and introduced us on stage. It was unreal! Metallica has been a huge influence on us and to be a part of that festival and to have it right in our hometown was an honor! We even got to participate in a press conference with the band! we sat on a panel with James and Rob along with some representatives of Detroit. Definitely a highlight of our career! The lyric video for 'Flesh and Bone' highlights those great moments!MG - Which bands influenced you growing up and would be your ultimate three bands to share a stage with?Band - My personal favorites were Pantera, Slayer, Metallica, Testament, Down, Cannibal Corpse, and also local music that I went to see inspired me to play. As far as sharing the stage with bands I've at least got one down which is Metallica but I would love to share the stage with Slayer, Black Sabbath, and KISS
MG - What do you listen to on tour?
Band - I listen to whatever is on my iPod which happens to be a lot of metal but every now and then I have to branch out to something different like classic rock.MG - Best and worst things about being on the road?Band - The best part of being on the road are the shows and the fans! You have good and bad shows but regardless it's the best part of touring and I love the interaction we have with our fans! I also love the experience of traveling to new places, the scenery while driving and making friends with the bands and crew we tour with! The worst part is the lack of comfort you have. Barely any privacy, you don't always have access to daily showers, you're hardly ever properly rested, missing family or significant others, getting sick on the road and vehicle or equipment issues.
MG - Four words to describe Battlecross ...Band - "High Energy Thrash Metal"
MG - Anything you would like to say to your fans and our readers?
Band - Thanks to all the fans that support us! You guys rule and we can't thank you enough for your support! Check out "War Of Will" on Metal Blade Records July 9!
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto