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January 31, 2014

Battlecross fighting their way into mainstream metal

By Travis Raymond

Detroit-based heavy metal band Battlecross performed for the first time at Cleveland’s historic Agora Ballroom Jan. 23.

The concert was one of four stops on a brief tour with Crimson Shadows, including Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Toronto.  The band called the four-stop trek its “pre-European” tour, a farewell party for their long anticipated first trip to the UK and Europe the following week.    

But before they could get to Europe, Battlecross had to play through the intense Cleveland weather.  The snow fell steadily and the wind was wild throughout the day and evening.  Outside the club, the temperature was a meager four degrees, and inside it was not much warmer.

“It was so cold when we came in and did the sound check,” said Battlecross guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala.  “My guitar felt just frozen.”

But when the lights came up on the main act, Battlecross was immediately slashing full bore through all the crowd favorites including “Flesh & Bone,” “Kaleb,” and “Never Coming Back.”  The crowd shook off the cold and reacted in true heavy metal fashion, moshing and screaming.

Battlecross is known for their openness and banter, and vocalist Kyle “Gumby” Gunther, graciously thanked the crowd for coming out despite the weather before they closed the night with “Push Pull Destroy.”

While the band will tour overseas for the first time this winter alongside Killswitch Engage, Trivium, and Miss May I, they will share the Download stage this summer with the likes of Rob Zombie and Avenged Sevenfold, and perform at Graspop Metal Meeting with Black Sabbath and Soundgarden.

2014 looks to be a big year for Battlecross, and only builds on the band’s hard work and rise to prominence in 2013. 

They joined Metallica on the Orion Music + More festival before touring on the summer’s Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival.  Their second album, “War of Will,” was released July 9 and reached No. 134 on the Billboard 200. 

One month later, Battlecross played to a packed house in Peabody’s Concert Club with Amon Amarth at what would be one of the final heavy metal concerts ever played in that historic venue before its close.

With American festivals and plenty of tour experience under their belts, Battlecross is ready to take on Europe.