Winter warriors

Battlecross & Allegaeon conquer Rockstar Pro Arena

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Allegaeon’s (l-r) Corey Archuleta, Greg Burgess, Brandon Park, Riley McShane, and Michael Stancel; photo: Matthew Zinke

The guys at Rockstar Pro Arena keep on doing it—bringing world-class metal tours to the Gem City. And local headbangers should be loving it. This Friday, RPA is proud to welcome the now annual Winter Warriors tour to Dayton, featuring Metal Blade recording artists Battlecross and Allegaeon in what is sure to be another fantastic double-header of extreme metal.

“I think the fans really have wanted this tour for a while, and we are more than happy to finally make it happen,” says Allegaeon guitarist Greg Burgess.

“We had been wanting to do a tour with [Allegaeon] for a while and things thankfully worked out,” adds Battlecross guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala. “We love putting together diverse tour packages where each band is bringing something unique.”

Indeed. While Battlecross and Allegaeon share a lot of certain characteristics that fans expect from extreme metal bands—deep, growly vocals, chugging, down-tuned guitars, double bass kicks aplenty, and a reputation for opening up circle pits everywhere they go—the attuned and educated listener will recognize that the two bands exist in subgenres that some discerning metalheads would characterize as worlds apart: the old school thrash-inspired fury of Battlecross versus the technical, yet melodic death metal rumble of Allegaeon. But even within the confines of those neatly slotted categories, both bands bring extra flavor to the subgenres that they’re commonly associated with and perhaps share more in common with each other than one might initially think.

“We’re definitely influenced off of thrash bands, but we’re not strictly thrash,” says Battlecross’s Deraniyagala. “I would say our biggest influences come from Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, and Testament—we all have various influences that we bring to the table, which I think brings diversity to our sound.”

“Our influences are vast and far reaching; however, I’d like to think if you took Megadeth, Soilwork, Dream Theater, and a little Behemoth and threw them in a blender, you’d come up with something that resembles Allegaeon,” Burgess says. “There’s a lot of guitar work and screaming wrapped up in a package that is obsessed with having a good time.”

While some readers may associate these styles of metal with general negativity, both bands claim to be all about having a good time and spreading the same feelings to those who come to see, hear, and headbang when their bands roll through town.

“We try to make it a fun and interactive experience for everyone,” Burgess comments about Allegaeon, which has shared the stage with the likes of Black Sabbath, Opeth, Megadeth, Disturbed, and Suicidal Tendencies. “The dynamic contrasts between the live experience and listening to it in person, I think, is alone a benefit.”

“Our live show is energetic and fun,” adds Deraniyagala, whose band Battlecross has toured and/or played with bands such as Metallica, Testament, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, GWAR, and Soulfly. “People always comment, ‘You guys look like you’re having a blast up there,’ and to me, that just shows how genuine our live show is… So to anyone that hasn’t or has heard us but never seen us live, come out to the show and see for yourselves.”

Both bands will be on tour in support of recent, critically acclaimed full-length releases on the renowned Metal Blade Records imprint, specifically 2015’s Rise to Power by Battlecross and 2016’s Proponent for Sentience by Allegaeon, wherein both bands proclaim holds the other’s strongest and most daring work thus far.

Rise to Power, I personally feel, is some of our best material to date,” Deraniyagala states. “I think it really showcases the talent and diverse style of the band. I really felt like we didn’t hold back on tapping into our various influences.” I think the latest album showed a maturity in the band’s writing style and is a continued evolution of where we’ll keep going.”

“We’re very proud of [Proponent for Sentience],” Burgess adds. “I think it takes everything we’ve done before and cranks up the epic-ness a tad. It’s our first real concept record and has forethought that drives the story line throughout the album. The three-part sonata of the Proponent For Sentience saga that opens, closes, and appears dead in the middle operates on a grander scale than we’ve had before. The compositional challenge of spreading thematic elements across multiple songs was a bit of challenge but very rewarding at the end of the day.”

And coincidentally, both bands have ties and fondness for Dayton.

I graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, so I’ve played in Dayton many times—always a good time,” Burgess says.

“I think Dayton is awesome, and we’ve definitely had some awesome shows here—especially at Rockstar Pro Arena,” Deraniyagala adds. “We’re thankful that there’s a demand enough to keep bringing us back and play. We hope to see more new faces as always, and the audience can expect nothing less of a great show!”

The Winter Warriors tour comes Friday, Dec. 16 to Rockstar Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third St. in Dayton. Battlecross, Allegaeon, Necromancing the Stone, Lucis Absentia, The Ako Vendetta, and Letters to the Blind are on the bill. Show is all ages and $13 in advance. For more information, please visit
RockstarProWrestling.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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