After three albums and ambitious statement, bordering on arrogance “We can kick Joey DeMaio’s ass”, you can not worry about the future of “true” heavy metal: it is in right, safe hands of Battle Beast. But with departure of the founder, guitarist and main songwriter Anton Kabanen, it became absolutely unclear, what is waiting for the band for further. Joona Björkroth is taking place of second guitarist, and the band starts to prepare their fourth album ‘Bringer Of Pain’, which was also aimed to show that despite the loss of the main songwriter, Battle Beast is able to not only survive, but also to remain at the same level. Did the band achieve it? Let’s see.
My acquaintance with this album (which I was waiting a lot) started surely from two first “singles”: “King For A Day” and “Familiar Hell”. These two middle-tempo songs (one of them with strongly marked political overtone) have great musical patterns. If in “King For A Day” many fans heard ABBA, which is true and not bad at all, “Familiar Hell” is the song that strongly refers us to 80’s. But their principal merits are catchy choruses; moreover “catchy” is an understatement. These songs just don’t go out of your head for days, making you listen to them over and over again.
‘Bringer Of Pain’ is good not only because of this. “Beyond The Burning Skies” sounds like nearly sympho metal due to Janne Björkroth’s keyboards and Noora Louhimo’s vocals. Monumental and gloomy “Lost In Wars” reminds Rammstein works with its riffs. And of course “true” heavy metal: opening “Straight To The Heart”, self-titled “Bringer Of Pain” and especially “Bastard Son Of Odin” with glorious in its foolery lyrics (really, “Bastard son of Odin born to kick your ass” is magnificent). These three songs are fast, aggressive with powerful rhythm-section by Pyry Vikki (dums) and Eero Sipilä (bass). Guitar parties by Joona and Juuso Soinio are also great. Noora’s vocals revealed in all its fierce beauty precisely in these songs.
However there are some lacks in an album (I speak extremely gently right now). These are absolutely mediocre ballad “Far From Heaven”, not exuding at all and totally plastic to the core “Dancing With The Beast”. I can name thousands reasons why did the band included these two songs in an album: sense of humor, self-irony, 80’s nostalgia, searching of new sound – you can choose yourself. But even with all aforesaid it doesn’t throw off the fact that the last two songs are spoiling the whole impression from the album. How could the place “Dancing With The Beast” right after “Bastard Son Of Odin”?
Back to the main review question: drakkar named Battle Beast isn’t very stable, but it still afloat and still formidable. Ultimately, eight great, powerful and interesting tracks from ten, presented in an album is not a bad result. It could be worse.
The beast named ‘Bringer Of Pain’ will be unleashed on February, 17-th by Nuclear Blast.