By Brandon McNeil
CALGARY — Canton, Michigan’s Battlecross are a band that understands seamless genre mashing. Melding thrashy riffs, black metal shrieks and blast beats, metalcore tendencies, and twin guitar harmonies, the band’s visibility has exploded. They released their third full-length (and second for Metal Blade Records) War of Will in 2013 and tours have seen them play with a bizarre cross section of bands including Metallica, Hate Eternal, Origin, Gypsyhawk, Skeletonwitch, Cattle Decapitation, In Flames and more.
“Metal is such a broad range of styles and sounds. Why not play with an extreme band one day and then the next play with some kind of crossover?” rhetorically asks Hiran Deraniyagala, guitarist and founding member. He formed the band in 2003 with Battlecross’ second guitarist Tony Asta. “It’s important to branch out, especially if you’re a newer band, and are trying to establish a fan base.”
Deraniyagala, also joined by Kyle Gunther (vocals), Don Slater (bass) and drummer Alex Bent, has made it an emphasis for reasons beyond the joy of differentiation in playing.
“Metal fans…they don’t get as much credit as they deserve. A lot of people think that they only listen to this style of music, but if you talk to other metalheads, they like other styles of music,” muses Deraniyagala, who is known for juxtaposing dueling Iron Maiden-esque riffs with the occasional ‘80s-esque German speed metal ditty. “Granted, there are your metal elitist bands that only like one style and they don’t like anything else and it’s not true metal in a sense. You don’t wanna have those kind of fans.”
The band’s recent mounting success has pushed them to continuously reach new levels and expand their already mounting crowd.
“I feel like, even though we’ve done some good things, I’m not like, ‘Oh, I’ve made it!’ I feel like I’ve got to keep going. It’s a feeling of we’ve accomplished a lot and I feel good about it, but I feel like we’re climbing this mountain and we haven’t reached the top yet,” said Deraniyagala. He concludes ambitiously, “I just want to be one of those bands where we are a household name and when you think of the name Battlecross, you know who we are.”
AB, Alberta, Battlecross, Republik
Watch Battlecross open for Children of Bodom on Saturday, October 25 at the Republik.UPDATE: This show has been cancelled.