Review: Battle Beast – 'Bringer Of Pain'

Metal and pop make for strange bedfellows, viewing each other with some suspicion, keeping one eye open just in case. Done properly, pop can be a welcome break from the all-out assault of metal. Hell, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t mind a bit of Abba or even early Britney… I draw the line at Bieber though. That’s taking the love of a good melody and hook a tad too far. Battle Beast tread that fine line between what’s acceptable or not for a metal band. Mixed in amongst the shredding guitars, pounding drums and Halford-esque screams, are a couple of fantastic pop moments. Not exactly risk-taking, but definitely sticking their collectives heads up over the parapet to be shot at. ‘Bringer Of Pain’ is the fourth album from the Finns who won the Wacken Metal Battle in 2010. Powerhouse vocalist, Noora Louhimo joined in 2012, and Battle Beast haven’t looked back since. Opener, ‘Straight To The Heart’ is classic old school metal. The Sabaton-like keyboard intro gives it a modern feel, but the overall vibe is of classic 80’s metal. Louhimo’s vocals are mind-blowing, power metal vocals that will stop you in your tracks, bringing to mind the likes of Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio. Halford is a great port of call, especially on the title track. Listen to it without thinking of Judas Priest. It can’t be done! The drumming is relentless as Pyry Vikki goes full ‘Scott Travis’. Intense and powerful stuff. The shredding guitars are sublime also, but it’s the vocals from Louhimo that make the neck hairs stand to attention, on a track that out-priests Priest. The album takes a step back as Battle Beast slow it down on ‘King For A Day’. Turn the vocals down during the intro and it’s the beat to Bee Gees’ ‘Jive Talkin’! The drum sound is disco perfection! or at least in my head it is. Likewise, listen to some of the vocals on the bridge and it’s ‘Night Fever’! ‘Night Fever’ with balls though. Never underestimate a catchy hook, and this track has oodles of them. Same with ‘Familiar Hell’, one of the catchiest songs that I’ve heard in ages. Proper earworm material. It’s way more pop than metal, but you could count the fucks that I give on one hand, and have space to count to five! When it’s this good, who cares about tags. I love the rant from Louhimo towards the end, but damn, this song is so catchy. Don’t worry though, Battle Beast bring the metal back with  ‘Lost In Wars’ and the gloriously over the top ‘Bastard Son Of Odin’. The latter has a fantastic galloping drumbeat throughout as Vikki earns his crust. The vocals, again, are intense, and when she unleashes a scream, it’s easy to see why Louhimo is quietly gaining a reputation as one of the strongest breakthrough vocalists in metal. ‘Dancing With The Beast’ is a keyboard based track straight out of the 80’s. The guitars are in the background on a song that could have slotted in perfectly on ultra-slick 80’s TV show, Miami Vice. The album finishes with ‘Far From Heaven’, a classic power ballad which follows all the rules of what a power ballad is supposed to sound like. There’s something for everyone on this one. Leave the blinkers off, and you’ll have fun. Let’s face it, music is supposed to be fun, after all. Available now via Nuclear Blast Review: Dave Stott]]>

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