The Batallion

Head Up High

Karisma/Dark Essence 2010

Norway's upholders of all things manly and metal have returned with their sophomore effort.  Head Up High sees The Batallion maturing, diversifying and improving with their songwriting while still maintaining that tough street edge.  Bringing a Black N Roll attitude to some rough thrashing violence is album opener, Mind My Step.  A galloping Motorhead riff crests at the head of a tidal wave of shredding black thrash on the title-track and is the album's first true highlight.  A pulsing bass guitar and rockin' guitar solo set When Death Becomes Dangerous apart.  A filthy street metal menace smashes headlong into your face as the hammering guitars of Thickskinned and Weatherbitten leave nothing but a bruised sack of flesh where your body once was.  The thrash elements are taken to new heights on Undertakers and Neckbreakers.  Dastardly tempo changes and frantic riffs stain the first half of the track before breaking down into some meaty movements, where atmospheric melodies add a layers of forested vastness.  A merciless marching beat and diabolically cruel riff trudge forward on The Roaring Grandfather.  Meanwhile the vocals echo and leap into bizarre territory as the track progresses.  Then a charging Celtic Frost rhythm crushes you under its leaden guitar strings.  A ripping punkish texture slices its way into the thrashing mayhem of album closer, Bring Out Your Dead.  The intensity is ratcheted up with relentless determination as the song continually shifts gears.  Stud Bronson's vocals are as dry and cutting as ever, like a rusty razor lives in his throat.  Head Up High is as rough as a mace of rusty spikes, clubbing your bloody face.  The Batallion have surpassed their debut in all ways while remaining true to their ethos of hard edged toughness and unbridled fury.  They are the leather clad fist of Norwegian metal.