Detroit sent some of their best to St. Louis as Motor City thrash giants, Battlecross, begin the wrap up of their North American tour before heading once again to Europe.
Self-described ‘Blue Collar Thrash Metal’ band, Battlecross performed at my favorite go-to venue for metal, Fubar St. Louis on May 24, 2014. Opening bands included the St. Louis based bands Black Fast, who were appearing with Battlecross on three tour dates (Kokomo, IN; St. Louis, MO; and Merriam, KS), Off the Witness, and Manifest.
Battlecross was loosely formed in 2003 on the outskirts of Detroit in Canton, Michigan, by friends Tony Asta (guitar) and Hiran Deraniyagala (guitar). The band has gone through a few lineup changes since then and was not fully formed until 2007 when drummer Mike Kreger was hired. Since that time, Kyle ‘Gumby’ Gunther (vocals) and Don Slater (bass) joined in 2008 and 2010, respectively, and Kreger was replaced by Shannon Lucas, the former drummer for All That Remains and The Black Dahlia Murder. Lucas’s technical talents are every bit as complementary to the band’s style as I had hoped; he provided the studio tracks on the band’s sophomore studio release, War of Will, and his live performance was as perfect as his session work. In addition to the band’s impressive live set, they all spent time before and after the show shaking hands and talking with their fans, signing posters, CDs, and t-shirts, and posing for photos.
Playing immediately before Battlecross were St. Louis locals Black Fast. Formed in 2010, this progressive black/thrash metal band has one full-length album, Starving Out the Light, that was released in August of 2013 and a three-song EP released in 2011. Their set was hard, fast, and heavy, and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
Off the Witness, a band from the outskirts of St. Louis, played second:
While other St. Louis locals, Manifest, opened the show:
Off The Witness online: