Detroit area natives Battlecross are set to release their second album for Metal Blade Records, ‘War of Will,’ which drops on July 9, and the guys are hitting the road hard in support of the disc. They kicked off a long run by representing Michigan at Metallica’s Orion Music + More festival last weekend on Belle Island in Detroit.

The festival -- which pulled a reported 20,000 people per day -- also featured bands such as Deftones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rise Against, Infectious Grooves, All Shall Perish, Foals, Silversun Pickups, FLAG, Rocket from the Crypt, the Dillinger Escape Plan and many more.

Now, Battlecross are gearing up for the 2013 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, GWAR-B-Q and some other soon-to-be-announced festivals.

Loudwire caught up with Battlecross vocalist Kyle Gunther and bass player Don Slater at Orion Music + More to chat about the band’s experience meeting Metallica and what’s on tap for them the rest of the year.

How does it feel to be the hometown representatives at Orion Music + More this year?

Slater: After we played, it feels like we did a good job!

Gunther: Yeah, we did a Slayer cover today, and I was literally listening to it on repeat all morning long. I printed out the lyrics and stood there and sang to it. So I didn’t not enjoy it for a while, but now, I can finally relax and enjoy, and it’s awesome to be here!

You took part in a special press conference with Metallica earlier this week. What was that experience like?

Gunther: It was amazing. You’re on the stage with the people that showed you metal for the first time. ‘One’ was my first metal song ever. I was not allowed to listen to metal when I was a kid, and my sister was like, “Come in the room” to listen to the music. Metallica were cool dudes, and they pioneered so much stuff, and I love them.

Aside from Metallica, who are you most excited to see perform at the festival?

Gunther: All Shall Perish!

Don Slater: I second that: All Shall Perish. I also with I could be seeing Dropkick [Murphys], but Rise Against is playing, as well.

Gunther: Deftones, as well!

Slater: And I’d like to see Flea play, as well. I like Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I like Red Hot Chili Peppers because of Flea.

What's next for Battlecross this year?

Gunther: We just recorded our second album for Metal Blade, and it’s called ‘War of Will.’ It drops July 9. Then we’re going on the Mayhem Festival, and then we’re going to do GWAR-B-Q in Richmond, Va., and to the moon after that. Wherever the wind takes us. Whoever offers us an awesome tour.

Slater: We have lots of talks going on for more tours, but nothing we can reveal at this time.

Gunther: And these tours are really awesome if you like metal! There are some awesome tours coming out, and it’s awesome because we get to hear about them before they happen.

For more on Battlecross, head to