I've followed the career of Battlecross for well over a decade as the core of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala have weathered all manner of trials. I became a fan when I saw their dedication to craft, showmanship and their iron resolve: It was music or die trying. Having finally assembled like-minded souls, this CD resonates with the force of a collaborative explosion. After hearing this CD, I am a fan because of their talent, virtuosity, song-writing, CD-composition ~and~ all of the above.
Specifically, there are 2 guitar bridges that utterly leap out: "Flesh & Bone" @ 1:50 and "Get Over It" @ 3:50. Totally cool, harmonized riffs, that come from nowhere, sonically surprising, showcasing sublime musical know-how. The guitars' tones are amazing and, yes, they duplicate this live.
The guitar solo in 'Never Coming Back' is just sick, crazy awesome. These boys don't try to create heart-pounding, storm-trooping, machine-gun rhythms: they SUCCEED. This is hard-jamming, classy metal, the way previous generations of musicians have only aspired to perform. You can just feel the energy and joy as their hard-work at attaining guitar virtuosity has climbed well beyond their original vision. Now they perform these technically demanding songs with ease. The whole CD was recorded in a month. There is no pretense, no straining, no bumbling around grasping for a "cool" rhythm. It's just ~there~ on nearly every second of this album.
I would be remiss if I didn't single out "Beast" as my favorite. It is a dark, brooding piece, with weird minor, chromatic steps that create an awesome atmosphere -- kind of like you're taking a relaxing, gondola trip with Charon. The rhythms here are the cleverest and unique on the CD.