BATTALION - Underdogs

Battalion - Underdogs

11 songs
47:55 minutes
***** ****


The Swiss thrash metal band can’t really pride themselves in having an original name, considering that there are about a dozen others sharing it with them. This being said, it’s still worth spending your time with the four young musicians, because a journey into the metal history of the mid-Eighties can’t possibly sound any more authentic.

Battalion who were founded in 2001 took five years before they self-released their debut album with the fitting title The Fight For Metal. Somehow things didn’t speed up, so that four years passed since they came up with their first official record Underdogs on Silverwolf Productions. Both CDs have the same cover and nearly identical track lists, although the old tracks were all re-recorded, and some new ones also made it onto Underdogs.

The CD starts with the great, fast opener Thrash Maniacs that reminds me of OverKill. Silvan Etzenberger’s strong vocals show parallels to Slayer’s Tom Araya. The perfect dual guitar work give the song incredible dynamic tension. At times the band acts less hurriedly, as on Headbangers and Wings Of A Demon that are stylistically closer to Metallica. Their most brutal moment is definitely found on Bullets & Death whose neck-breaking qualities revive the glorious times of Nuclear Assault. Battalion also master longer structure, as on Stalingrad that comes with perfectly integrated acoustic and spoken word parts. Defenders which concludes the album might as well be a tribute to the NWOBHM.

Switzerland has always had an impressive catalogue of thrash metal bands: Celtic Frost, Messiah and of course Coroner, whose Tommy Vetterli mastered Battalion’s CD. With the aforementioned bands gone, Battalion have all it takes to revive the thrash metal movement of their country.

Back to Reviews