|Review: Battle Beast - Battle Beast|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2013
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: June 19, 2013
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Well, Battle Beast came out of nowhere with Steel a few years ago and kicked asses from here to the moon, enough asses that they already scored a Nuclear Blast contract for the follow-up. The bar was set pretty high to match the quality of the debut, and they got handed a kick in the teeth when they lost their fantastic vocalist Nitte Valo. The woman was a beast herself, with a high-octane wail and shit-tons of charisma. Replacing her was daunting to say the least.
This is not a stylistic change in any way, shape, or form. In fact, some of these songs are re-recorded tunes from their demo days. This is still punchy, crunchy 80s-styled Heavy Metal with no shame whatsoever. Big riffs, big choruses - everything about this is big. The recording job is clear and glossy, the band sounds huge and rock-solid. The guitars seem a little big muted in favor of the keys this time, but just a touch. You get several really first-rate songs on here, from the crushing opener "Let it Roar", through the careening "Neuromancer" and the big stomp of "Black Ninja". The lyrics are again a stew of sci-fi nerd anthems and are more than a bit silly, but that's what we expected.
Stepping up to the mike this time is replacement frontwoman Noora Louhimo, who's more photogenic than Valo, but not quite up to her level as a performer. She's got the chops, but lacks some of Valo's raw power, and cannot match her charisma. I'm not saying she's bad - she really does a tremendous job, and she's a more than adequate replacement - but I miss Valo's bestial, commanding performance.
Overall, this is a strong follow-up and promises that this band can more than survive the change in vocalists and has more awesome albums in their future. This may not hit the highs of Steel, but it can stand on its own.
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Interview with guitarist Anton Kabanen and bassist Eero Sipilä on July 18, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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