Release DetailsLABEL Shiver Records
RELEASED ON 4/15/2008
Welcome To The Warzone
posted on 6/2008 By:
While the recent Hail of Bullets release is getting all the attention as far as war based death metal goes (and rightly so), it’s a shame the sophomore album from Belgium's Battalion will get overlooked as it’s a damn solid album that sees the band add a little flare and urgency to the previous mid paced lumber of their debut, Winter Campaign.
The Bolt Thrower meets Jungle Rot meets Grave sound, is still valid, and there is plenty of hefty mid paced, mid range rumbling but it has been tweaked just a bit; it’s a bit cleaner and has a little more depth, melody and complexity adding some more memorable moments to the Belgian chunk and Stockholm buzz already in place.
After the opening tank sample and lurching track “Mechanize Blitzkrieg”, Battalion dive into the fierce “Cracks of my Coffin” and vitriolic but still melodic “Ten Thousand Corpse Ditch”- showing an early glimpse of the band's very subtle development from Winter Campaign. Things just seem tighter and more focused, rather than the loose, mid paced trot of the debut. Granted, there’s still plenty of old school rumble as on the catchy gallop of “Throne of Lies”, “Curb Stomp”, “Verdun Meat Grinder” and “Radiation Holocaust”, but even then it's surrounded by numerous tempo shifts, blast beats and time changes that simply weren’t as dynamic on the debut.
On the downside the vocals of Robin Luts are just ‘there’, lacking the impact and presence of say Martin Van Drunen on Hail of Bullets, but they are serviceable. Also this style of album cries for a crawling, pummeling slow track. “Opening the Blast Doors to Hell” hinted at being that track with its Bolt Thrower styled opening riff but never fleshes it out. Closer “Mass Incinerator” does however end the album out with a nice menacing rumble.
With 2008 already being such a great year for death metal, I get the sense Battalion may get bulldozed by the likes of Hail of Bullets, Detrimentum, Dead Congregation, Decrepit Birth, Deicide, Origin, Grave, Unleashed, Dismember and all the other high profile death metal released in the first half of the year. It won’t make any year end lists, but it should appeal to folks that enjoyed any of those albums and should you stumble across this very competent death metal record, grab it.
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