FROM the depths of motor city Detroit Battlecross hit the headlines when they unleashed their debut Pursuit of Honour in 2011, but how to follow it up....well throw everything you have into the mix, make everything louder than everything else and turf the kitchen sink in for good measure.
New album War of Will is a technical, brutal assault on the senses, with hidden depths lying in the aural attack. Drums that verge on a criminal attack, guitars that both riff and add flourishes when least expected and bass lines that synch with the entire metal mesh, this is an album that both terrifies the uninitiated and delights connoisseurs of full on metal.
Taking elements of thrash, Floridian death metal and classic metal touches this is not the 'difficult' second album, this is the second album that could well define Battlecross as real contenders.
Death-style vocals such as those delivered Kyle 'Gumby' Gunther can be a little hard to take at times, but once accustomed to them it is easy to fall back into the hooks and overall menace Battlecross deliver.
The first three tracks, Force Fed Lies, Flesh and Bone, and Never Coming Back are an unrelenting opening salvo, before My Vaccine tempers the attack with shades of subtlety breaking througjh.
That is not to say you won't find subtle touches throughout. Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala deliver a set of guitar histrionics that at times are genre defining.
By the time the heavy groove of Beast comes slumbering out of the darkness it is a relief tempered by the sheer weight of the track.
War of Will does, however, have a lyrical thematic that will never earn them poet laureate status if you struggle through the intense vocals there are themes that are not just simplistic but challenge.
Battlecross are not the complete article - they still have some development to do - but War of Will is a considerable step forward. This is an album with a work ethic at its heart; and that work ethic sees the band throw everything into the mix, and when churned round your senses a couple of times that melting pot rewards you.
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war and Battlecross will be on the metal front line.
War of Will is available now on Metal Blade Records