THE BATALLION, Head Up High  (2010, Dark Essence)

The skull:
The Batallion might win a few battles now and then, but they sure won’t win any spelling bees. But let’s look at that skull: it’s apparently being held up high, so we’ll take them at their word. There’s nothing very distinctive about it, except for those awesome teeth, which are bullets. “You goth fags can go fuck yourself with your prosthetic fangs,” says this skull, “’cause my dentist does BULLETS!”

The music:
The most notable thing about The Batallion is that their bassist played on the second and third Borknagar albums, albums which this Friar holds in high regard. Other members have played in Taake and Old Funeral, so you wonder why they’re devolving so significantly with this band? Head Up High might be professionally executed, and it doesn’t exactly fit into the ballcap-and-white-high-tops retrothrash scene, but it’s basically fourth generation thrash that you’ve heard a million times before. It’s like their favorite Sodom era is the punkier one (Masquerade in Blood, Get What You Deserve) and like they think thrash ‘n’ roll is something to exalt. Ah shit, they’re probably just out for a good time and looking for an excuse to get drunk. Go for it guys. (Speaking of “guys,” their first album is notable for having some interesting homoerotic references: it’s called Stronghold of Men and contains songs such as “The Spirit of Masculinity” and “Man to Man.” Hey, to each his own.)
— Friar Wagner

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