I’m late joining the Battle Beast army even though I had a couple of buddies try to recruit me. I should have enlisted earlier! I had heard the buzz when they won the 2010 Wacken Metal Battle but I was still slow to get on the bandwagon. Their indie debut, STEEL came and went quickly and now commands a high price on-line. I hesitated to get the 2012 Nuclear Blast reissue of STEEL because they unwisely changed the awesome cover (depicting a lion-warrior fighting a knight) to a generic looking one and there were some production and manufacturing issues with the disc. Their second, self-titled album came out in spring of 2013, but was not released in North America. Now finally in 2014 I get a chance to hear the band.
BATTLE BEAST is the debut of new powerhouse vocalist, Noora Louhimo, who replaces Nitte Vallo. I didn’t hear the debut yet so I can’t comment if it was a welcome change or not but I do know that Noora is an amazing singer in her own right. She ranges from raw to tender and has a very powerful tone and delivery with some awesome screams. For a prime example checkout her mighty scream at the beginning of ‘Fight, Kill, Die’! This young Finnish sextet have a very typical Scandanavian Power Metal sound, very catchy, and clean-burning with crystal clear production values. The opening keyboard line in the lead-off track ‘Let It Roar’ could sit very comfortably on any of the five classic-era, classic line-up (late 90’s) albums by countrymen, Stratovarius. The songs are simple in construction, efficient getting right to the point with big hooks that lead to a quick payoff. They manage to pack 13 songs into 48 minutes preferring to have one really strong central riff carry the song to a big sing-along chorus to draw the listener in. Don’t forget the blazing solos as they are in every song. The infectious melodies float over top a fast rhythm section with a real sense of sonic propulsion.
The band is so popular they are charting in the Top 10 in their native Finland and have been signed to a major label. Not too many Metal bands can say that these days. However, they deserve all the credit and if they keep writing albums like BATTLE BEAST they will have a long and successful career.
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