When Anton Kabanen decided to leave Battle Beast in 2015, it caused two main questions: how will Battle Beast cope without their main writer and what will be the next Anton’s thing?
In the beginning of 2017 Battle Beast released their great ‘Bringer Of Pain’; while Anton founded his own band Beast In Black and recorded ‘Berserker’, which was released by Nuclear Blast on November, 3rd. Anton continues in ‘Berserker’ his own musical line that he started in Battle Beast (and which reached its apotheosis in ‘Unholy Savior’). But of course it’s not a reiteration, but a progress of musician and arranger talents.
‘Berserker’ contains eight songs, where power-metal, heavy and even symphonic metal can be found. Also there is a beautiful ballad “Ghost In The Rain” and one more track, which caused me to feel some weird and mixed emotions.
First thing that needs to be mentioned is a keyboards. There are a lots of them and frequently they are dominating, pushing back guitars and rhythm section. But isn’t make an album less “metal”, for example in “Blood Of A Lion”, which sounds familiar to Sabaton, or in a first single “Blind And Frozen”.
Also vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos from Greek band Wardum manifested himself in an album vividly – he has a powerful voice and easily reach as high notes as low also (“Zodd The Immortal”). His talent revealed already on the opener “Beast In Black”: while listening to his really heavy metal scream “Berserker!!!”, worthy Rob Halford’s vocals, it becomes clear why Metal Hammer included Wardrum to their tribute to Judas Priest compilation. With this, in ending ballad “Ghost In The Rain” his voice gets deeper and sounds very emotional and profound.
Rhythm section sounds very powerful and quite smooth, as the genre needs it: this is a merit of bassist Máté Molnar (Wisdom) and drummer Sami Hänninen (Brymir). Guitar solos from Anton and Kasperi Heikkinen (U.D.O.) are fast, technical, melodic and they are really great ornament of the songs.
The only one track, to which I have a number of questions is “Crazy, Mad, Insane”. Totally synthetic, full of 80-th style keyboards and computer samples. I can’t say that it cause an abruption – it’s catchy and hit, but in this album it sounds alien. However we can recollect a “Touch In The Night” from ‘Unholy Savior’ and a couple of another examples of Anton Kabanen’s sense of humor (I really hope that it’s sense of humor).
To sum up, it can be said that ‘Berserker’ is great. It’s powerful, there are a lots of catchy songs (e.g. “Eternal Fire” which reminds “The Final Countdown” from Europe and also the same ear-worm) and hits. And if we’ll recollect that this album is a debut (with some reservations), it’s not a 100, it’s 200% success, that surpassed all the expectations. And it can really be one of the best albums in 2017.
P.S. Without any doubt the fans will compare now Battle Beast and Beast In Black. But maybe it worth just to put this comparing aside and enjoy the music? After all, there was one good band, and now we have two. That’s all.