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Maybe This Christmas Tree
Unwritten Law "Here's to the Mourning"
Kreator "Enemy of God"
Isidore (Brash)
In Battle "Welcome to the Battlefield"
Far "Water & Solutions"
Kukl "The Eye," "Holidays in Europe"
The Arcade Fire "Funeral"
Macha "Forget Tomorrow"
Authority Zero "Andiamo"
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In Battle "Welcome to the Battlefield"

Welcome to the BattlefieldTake some thrash metal, throw in some Swedish death/black metal, add a hint of guerilla warfare, and you've got In Battle, one of the more overlooked Swedish metal bands around. I discovered In Battle after browsing the ranks of Metal Blade's bands earlier in the year. From first glance, they appeared to be as bad ass as anyone else on the scene, coming off as a half Slayer/half In Flames hybrid. But once I heard this album, In Battle exploded as promised and then some.

Welcome to the Battlefield is In Battle's third album, their first signed to Metal Blade's ranks, and is more death metal than anything they've released up to this point. They’ve had a huge shakeup in members since their first release in 1996, but the new lineup is what In Battle should be about. The technical precision mashed with all-out chaotic thrash metal is the perfect combination for an aural assault. From the first riff, coupled with the insane drum beat of Sandin, you know In Battle is out to destroy all your senses song after bloody song. Carrying many aspects of the band’s black metal roots ("Stonefaced Mountains" is a key track), Welcome to the Battlefield takes the intensity of black metal and throws it in the midst of the current Swedish death metal scene to create a hybrid sound on par with Decapitated, only with more thrash elements.

However – and this is a big “however” – I see a lack of diversity in the songs. Many of the verses could go hand in hand with any other on the album, and it's hard to tell what song you are actually listening to without actually looking at the track number. With that exception, In Battle does most everything right. The sound reminds me a lot of The Haunted, one of my favorite bands, as they are almost entirely riff-driven with some incredible drums behind it… just with less originality. I do sense a budding giant on the hands of the metal gods, though, and if In Battle can throw down another album of this caliber with some added originality, everyone better ditch the gloves and get into the pit.

   

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