– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. How is everything going into the BATTLECROSS’ camp right now?
Things are going well, thanks for the interview. We have been getting some great feedback from the first two singles released so far off our new album “War Of Will”. We have a listening party for the new album in our hometown this weekend and we leave for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival next week. We are looking forward to this summer.
– You are about to unleash your sophomore album, «War of Will» so, how are you feeling about it? Considering the great feedback your debut album, «Pursuit of Honor», got, have you worked under some more pressure?
I feel great about this album; it’s the next step for us. It’s a fresh, strong mix of many strong influences and I can’t wait for the world to hear it. There was some pressure when writing the new album, to out-do the first, but we knew the music we were creating was much more mature in comparison. Most of the material from Pursuit of Honor was written in 2007 and 2008 so to finally write something new and current for us was a real release for our musical ambitions.
– For all those who may be interested; what could you say are the main differences between «War of Will» and your previous «Pursuit of Honor»?
War of Will has mostly everything I’ve ever wanted from a metal album. Imagine our first album but bigger, stronger, matured, and better written. More solos, more thrashing, more melody, more brutal, faster, heavier, etc.
– On this album Shannon Lucas took drum duties; are you satisfied with the final outcome? And how is right now the drummer situation? I’ve read Kevin Talley will be drumming for you all the summer but, are you looking for a full-time drummer for the band?
Shannon knocked it out of the park and we are very grateful to have him participate on the record. We had some basic skeletons on how we imagined the drums would feel but he came in and gave the songs life. From my experience with him I know he is a superior studio musician. This summer Kevin Talley will continue to be our live drummer and judging by the shows we’ve done together so far things are working out really well. Kevin is an awesome person and fantastic professional drummer. As far as filling a permanent, full-time position, it will be determined after Mayhem.
– After giving «War of Will» some spins I could say it has a really honest sound, in fact I read you wrote it quite fast. Maybe this brought certain spontaneity to it?
An honest sound, thank you for saying so, I appreciate that. We write what feels right and we don’t care what’s popular or what the trends are. A lot of people truly love metal and it doesn’t have to be something flashy or the next big thing. That’s who we are and probably the fans we attract. We don’t purposely bring spontaneity into our music. But your observation may infer our music is not exceptionally predictable, which is good!
– And talking about such, how was the songwriting process? I mean if everyone is involved, what does come first, etc.
The song writing process was similar to how we’ve written before. The songs always start with strong riffs to make the skeleton of a song. Guitars always come first. Hiran, Don, and I all write riffs so we had a lot of cool material to build from. There really is no secret to how we write, we just write by feel. And we can sense if something doesn’t hold enough water or kicks enough ass. While in the studio we got some great pointers for composition, tones, and technique from producers Eyal Levi and Mark Lewis at Audiohammer studios (Florida, USA).
– It also sounds more mature than your debut album. Could you say you have found your own sound and something you are confident and comfortable doing?
It is more mature, we have grown as a band and as musicians. We always push ourselves to come together with the best we can. We are absolutely confident in what we are doing, we are really excited to get out there and perform the new material. Its a great feeling to finally play new stuff that’s up to snuff with where we are as musicians. As far as our own sound, I prefer the fan decide what that is. All I know is we will continue to write the music we want to hear.
– For instance on this opus there are a lot of Melodeath and Metalcore elements. Was this something planned or do you just go with the flow?
No, we never plan on sounding like anything particular, especially a certain sub-genre of metal. We consider ourselves a metal band, heavily thrash driven. But there are so many other influences that we incorperate that come out naturally in the music. As long as it kicks ass we “go with the flow”.
– Anyway you’ve kept your Thrash Metal basis I could say but, have you broaden to new influences? What have been some of the most influential bands for BATTLECROSS?
Yeah we love all types of music but Battlecross will always be a metal band. The most influential metal that forge our foundation are definitely bands like Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Testament, and Gwar. Other influences include Killswitch Engage, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse, Meshuggah, Goatwhore, All Shall Perish, Judas Priest, Megadeth, and In Flames to name a few.
– On the album there’s a solo by Jason Suecof. Could you please tell us how did that come about?
Yeah and its sick as hell! We are very honored to have Jason on our album, he is a super shredder and I’m not exaggerating. He performs a guest solo on “Beast” (track 9) and its been described before as “erie-supernatural-themed ”. It all started because we didn’t know what to play but we knew we wanted a solo in that section. Jason offered to shred something and we were like “hell yeah, why not!”. It turned out fantastic, one of my favorites.
– Production-wise I’ve noticed a notable improvement compared to your debut album, it has a perfect equilibrium between power, heaviness, and a clear sound, in fact you worked with a superb and veteran team. How did the whole production process go?
We recorded the album at Audiohammer in Florida, USA with producers Eyal Levi and Mark Lewis. I love those guys, they are amazing at what they do. And they
have an excellent ear for tone and composition as well. We recorded everything REAL: all real drums, guitars, and vocals. That’s what we wanted to achieve on this album, opposed to sampling, and it truly sounds awesome. The production process went smooth and faily laid back. When it was time to be on point and deliver we had to be on our game. My experience at Audiohammer has really pushed me to become a better musician.
– All this about «War of Will» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Powerful. Indestructable. Relentless.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans? If I’m not mistaken you will soon start touring with ROB ZOMBIE so, what are your expectations on that tour?
Yes, we are on the the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer with Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon and Amon Amarth all over North America. We are very excited to be a part of Mayhem and we can’t wait to hit the road with such amazing bands. We will go out there and do what we always do: play our asses off and hang out with the fans.
Thanks! -Tony Asta