Album Reviews

Battle Beast – Battle Beast Review

battlebeast_cover

Released by: Nuclear Blast Records

Release Date: February 14th, 2014

Genre: Power Metal

Links: http://www.battlebeast.fi/

 

Line-Up:

Noora Louhimo – vocals

Anton Kabanen – guitar, vocals

Pyry Vikki – drums

Juuso Soinio – guitar

Eero Sipilä – bass, vocals

Janne Björkroth – keyboards, vocals

 

Tracklist:

1. Let It Roar

2. Out Of Control

3. Out On The Streets

4. Neuromancer

5. Raven

6. Into The Heart Of Danger

7. Machine Revolution

8. Golden Age

9. Kingdom

10. Over The Top

11. Fight Kill Die

12. Black Ninja

13. Rain Man

 

In 2012, I purchased the debut Steel from BATTLE BEAST and while musically it was good, the vocals just totally ruined it for me. Almost two years later I get the promo of the new self-titled album, out February 4 via Nuclear Blast Records and I’m thinking, “Oy, here we go again.” Then I find out that original lead singer Nitte Valo is gone, and since she was the ONE thing that prevented me from liking them, now my curiosity is piqued. Enter Noora Louhimo whose voice can go from buzzsaw sharp to downright seductive in the blink of an eye, and each one is equally captivating. I’m listening.

The opening keys of “Let It Roar” might have you fooled into thinking this band has gone all symphonic metal on you for a second before Noora rips off the chorus to “Let It Rooooooooooooar!!” and your heart skips a beat. Man alive, this woman has chops and can fuck shit up quick two-time! Add to that the twin guitars of Juuso Soinio and Anton Kabanen who are hell bent on destroying everything in a three-mile radius and you quickly realize that you are in for one hell of a ride. On “Out of Control” Noora opts for a more sultry and lilting vocal on the verses before going full bore on the refrains. It’s almost impossible not to be mesmerized by the potent combo of her voice and Janne Björkroth’s keyboard arrangements.

One thing that separates BATTLE BEAST from other Power Metal acts is that their subject matter is more sci-fi than anything else. You’ll find no tales of medieval swords and sorcery here. Hell, look at the cover art and you can see that. Not to mention the electro-rhythms and robotic voices on “Neuromancer” and “Machine Revolution”. Not surprisingly these were two of my favorites. Pure, balls-out metal aggression and hammering drums and bass provided by Pyry Vikki and Eero Sipilä respectively are the driving force behind “Raven”. These two are like hand in glove on every single track, and when they adopt a simpler approach to the mid-tempo “Into the Heart of Danger” it suits the song perfectly. I can’t believe I never noticed just how good this band was before.

Another thing that almost all these songs have in common is that they are all heavy metal ANTHEMS. If you can listen to “Kingdom” and not pump your fists, air guitar, or just be amazed by both the guitar AND keys solo, then something must be wrong with you. “Over the Top” is another favorite, reminding me of a cross between JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT, and THE SCORPIONS, Noora’s screams serving only to put a smile on my face. And on “Fight Kill Die” the fucking solos also go right for the jugular. Right after this the stalking menace of “Black Ninja” and brutalizing closer “Rain Man” show the band gearing up for one final assault on your senses, and as you lay there recovering, I swear you’ll be singing the hook to this one long into the night. The keyboard solo at the end only serves to dot the final “I” and cross the last “T” on an album that is one hell of a ride from start to finish. There’s not much else I can say about BATTLE BEAST, so I’m just gonna go press REPEAT and rock some more. Bye!

 

Written by Damian J. Cousins

Ratings    Damian J. Cousins    9/10

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