In their previous album, No More Hollywood Endings, Battle Beast defined the new direction of their music: it became more symphonic, more pretentious and there were even some attempts for conception. As for me, that effort has failed. Now, more than two years later the band releases their new album, Circus Of Doom. Did they succeed this time? Let’s check it out!
If you remember, a couple of years ago Battle Beast went through the line-up change and keyboardist Janne Björkroth became the main songwriter together with his brother, guitarist Joona Björkroth. It seemed to me that Janne is very inspired by another keyboardist and songwriter, Tuomas Holopainen. At least, that can explain symphony, theatricality, more sophisticated arranging, compared to their previous albums and many more. It didn’t work so well with the Hollywood conception and now Battle Beast invites us to circus. As it was said in press release: Doom Metal? Certainly not. Circus Metal? Oh, there you go!
In the opening, self-titled “Circus Of Doom” heavy riffs mixed with symphonic elements, choirs and some other effects (like intro, which sounds like an old music box). Overall, the song with all this stuff sounds like a cabaret or rather a heavy musical. And Noora is brilliant here, as always: she has great, strong voice and she knows to use it very well. She can sound tough, tender, whatever you want and all this can be in just in one song. Such “musical” can be also heard in “Russian Roulette”, a fast-paced, vigorous song with some 80s touches, very sticky chorus and great synth, which set the tone. And in the first single from the album, “Master Of Illusion”, magnificent keyboards and symphonic arrangements together with rigid guitar riffs frame Noora’s vocals greatly and she do her best here without restraint.
“Wings Of Light” starts as Heavy Metal with lots of keyboards while there are some noticeable 00s Nightwish patterns in chorus: simple heavy riffs from Joona Björkroth and Juuso Soinio, remarkable Eero Sipilä’s bass and of course the catchy melody from the main instrument – Janne’s synths. However, talking about catchy songs, I need to mention “Eye Of The Storm” with great melody, long guitar solo, Pyry Vikky’s good drumming and of course Noora’s magnificent vocals – she mixes again some tenderness and heaviness masterfully.
“Freedom” and the ending “Place That We Call Home” are probably the heaviest songs in the album. They both start epic but further “Freedom” turns into almost classic Heavy Metal with galloping riffs, rigid vocal and technical solos; a good banger overall. At the same time “Place That We Call Home” is a Power Metal, heavy and sublime, with another chorus that will stuck in your head for a long time.
There are some interesting 80s references in “The Road To Avalon”: it sounds like a little bit heavier Glam Rock a-la Bon Jovi, reminding every hit from that era at the same time. It’s melodic, nostalgic and has a fine solo where keyboards alternate with guitar. Some 80s vibes can be also heard in “Where Angels Fear To Fly” (especially thanks to synth and vocal line) but further this song turns into Symphonic Metal with all necessary components.
You know what? I will not go back on my words: No More Hollywood Endings still, let’s say it gently, is far from being the album in Battle Beast’s discography. However, Circus Of Doom, which made by the same blueprints and develops all the ideas that were put in the previous album is great, really. This time the band made an interesting, various and catchy work with great music and ambiguous lyrics open for interpretation. Well, circus comes to town!
Circus Of Doom will be released on January, 21 via Nuclear Blast.
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