By Ryan Meehan
Battlecross triumphantly return as one of the true champions of American Heavy Metal with their devastating sophomore release, “War of Will”. Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios with famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, the sophomore effort from Detroit’s newest soldiers of steel will soon prove as one of the most impressive follow-up releases, destined to become a heavy metal classic for fans of all sub-genres. “War of Will” triggers a strange Déjà Vu while feeling completely brand new” says Levi. With elements of upbeat thrash, European, death, and southern metal, War of Will brings back the old school thrash, heavy groove, harmonizing guitars, epic guitar solos, dynamic death-style vocals and impressive bass work that made 2011′s Pursuit of Honor a fast favorite. Fans will appreciate another complete, yet more mature brutal assault with contagious hooks and choruses that will guarantee headbangability and the dynamic live show for which the band is best known. Guitarist Tony Asta is our guest today in 5 Questions.
RM: “War of Will” is the name of the new album which comes out July 9th…Could you tell us a little bit about making this record as opposed to your 2011 release “Pursuit of Honor”?
TA: “War of Will” is the next level for Battlecross, it displays the band’s growth as musicians and songwriters. It wasn’t exactly easy to follow up our debut album as we had less time to actually write the material. But the new stuff is very fresh, aggressive, and fun as hell to play. We recorded a “War of Will” at Audiohammer studios in Florida with producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi. Their professional work ethic and experience really helped shape the album stronger than we thought possible.
RM: What does the term “power metal” mean to you? Do you feel that is the best description for the type of music that Battlecross makes? If not, what would you say would be the best way to describe it?
TA: Power metal is powerful, speedy, and melodic. We have attributes but I prefer the listener to decide what we are. From my point of view I consider Battlecross “Metal” with many influences mixed together. We are a product of our heroes – Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Testament, Gwar, etc.
RM: How is the heavy metal community in Detroit where you guys are from? Was it difficult for the band to establish such a significant following in a city that is traditionally known for its hip hop and Electronic Dance Music?
TA: The metal community in Michigan is alive and well. We have many friends in bands and we always do our best to support each other. I didn’t know that Detroit was known for hip-hop, that’s an interesting perspective. It’s not impossible to have a following of metal heads here, mainly because most metal fans stick together, they live for the music. Metal fans are part of a strong community worldwide.
RM: How does the whole process of songwriting work for you being one of two guitar players in the band? When you hear an idea or a phrase in your head, do you have a home setup that allows you to get it to tape? Do you usually call Hiran to go over the material before it’s presented to the rest of the group?
TA: There are many ways to write, but guitars always come first. So far the way that with best is Hiran, Don and I all write guitar riffs (and skeletons of songs) on our own and then share them with each other. We feed of the riffs and mild it until we are satisfied. We play a lot by feel and by listening. We know we are on the right track when we write what we want to hear. It must move us, feel right, and serve a purpose.
RM: You guys will be on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Tour with heavyweights like Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Machine Head, Mastodon, and many others…What can fans expect from your live show as opposed to your recorded music? Will this be the biggest tour you’ve played to date?
We are very excited to be a part of Mayhem, this is a HUGE deal for us and the biggest tour we’ve ever tackled. We perform 2nd on the Jager stage, following Huntress. We are also very privileged to have Kevin Talley filling in on drums all summer, he’s phenomenal. Our live set will be full of new fresh material, but we will play a couple classics too 😉 We have a 25 minute set so we are to keep it short and heavy.
RM: What’s up next for Battlecross in the twelve months that follow? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
TA: Up next, we will be performing at GwarBQ in August, and a killer Hatebreed tour in the fall. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. Keep it heavy!
Official Battlecross artist page on Metal Blade Records: http://www.metalblade.com/us/artists/battlecross/
Battlecross on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal
Battlecross on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Battlecross
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