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If You Want The Best, You Get The Beast. - 100%

spacecorpse1, September 25th, 2007

Lucifer, the fallen angel never seems to get the credit he deserves when it comes to popular music. Instead it's usually the shiny angels that are actually industry whores in disguise that take home the money prize. While the dark one smiles sinfully in the shadows knowing it's all a matter of time until the minds and souls of the youthful strong are behind him. Thus I am so sure that vocalist and Godless Rising mainman Jeff Gruslin, the founding and now sole remaining original member of Godless Rising will have the final laugh because death metal this brilliant will never remain unheard of and underappreciated for very long; not if the true disciples of hell have anything to say about it that is, and... we do.

For an album entitled Battle Lords they better back it up by playing like they are going into war and... they do. Drummer Mike McPherson delivers some the fastest double bass playing that's humanly possible and it's turned up nicely in the mix so that you may feel the impact of thousands of automatic mortar shells beating you in the face. No that's not just a metaphor it's actually true just listen. Dual guitarists Paul Flynn and Mike Lecam = the KK Downing and Glen Tipton of death metal, enough said there. Bassist Justin Flynn comes from a war metal background, his prior work in the underground having been with the war metal band AmpĆ¼tator, and he lends his tank-heavy bass lines to this communion of shock and awe.

The vocals on this album are performed by a real-life madman by the name of Jeff Gruslin and this is his most personal diary; lyrically and vocally. He's a man that's been singing like this for many, many years for the purpose of releasing his inner demons while doing what he loves as opposed to making a quick buck and faking it. Good news is that his demons never seem to leave him and we once again get a masterpiece of death metal that is Battle Lords. When I listen to this album I get a sense of all the hard work and sacrifice that went into putting it together. These guys must have thrown away so many riffs that could have easily appeared on a new Angelcorpse or Monstrosity album and they would have been successful. At some point though, they must have asked themselves, do we want to just be a great death metal band or do we want to rule the world and forever live in infamy for having birthed such a fantastic, epic warmonster of satanic death metal? I'm glad they went with the latter.

The songwriting here has a very 80's and early 90's thrash, death, black metal feel to it. During those eras in extreme metal, extreme bands like this knew how to write catchy songs. Bands like Destruction, Sodom, Death, and Morbid Angel all wrote actual songs that were just as based on really heavy riffing as they were on hooks and what makes a song catchy. Godless Rising uses that sacred metal gift to their advantage and they are never afraid to show it. Guitarist Paul Flynn's in-your-face riffs never stop hurting your feelings while at the same time turning you into a sadomasochist because you eventually find that you really like the sound of your own ass getting kicked after all.

All this praise must sound exaggerated to the point that you must be asking yourself well, if these guys are so great then why aren't they as popular as Slayer, Morbid Angel, or Deicide? Well they damn well should be and that's the problem. As I mentioned already, the members of this band adopted an all or nothing approach to making this record and what happened was instead of lord satan himself coming down and tapping them all a vein of golden waterfalls into their laps immediately upon the completion of this their magnum opus, they must have all realized that much more hard work was still necessary in order to spread this gospel of hatred to as many starving war-hordes as possible and the strain of that responsibility has recently come to it's fruition in the form of some major lineup changes at such a crucial time in their careers. This situation has not allowed for mainman and Godless Rising's progenitor of all things heavy metal Jeff Gruslin to reap the spoils of war that he and his Battle Lords have unleashed upon the world. That in itself, should be considered one of the worst war crimes of the 21st century. Do yourself a favor and check this out and hear what should be on the top shelf of every death metal fans collection.