Battle Beast - Bringer of Pain

Battle Beast Bringer of Pain cover
Battle Beast
Bringer of Pain
Nuclear Blast Records
2017
7
Average: 5.5 (104 votes)
Battle Beast begun with a cheesy album sung by a mediocre singer, only to hit a jackpot when they happened upon Noora Loohimo, a younger better version of Doro Pesch, with a wider range and apparently the same enthusiasm. I still didn’t like Anton Kabanen’s occasional vocal forays and oh, lo and behold he’s out of the band… only problem is he was the main composer… something the band tries to deal with by hauling in one Joona Bjorkroth on guitar, brother to keyboard player Janne.
 
Without fail they keep their appointment with fans, having delivered this newest album two years after their last one. What was good about Loohimo remains – good and the rest band still holds together while… while Joona’s role is a little “underwhelmed” as despite some standard riffs, he doesn’t appear to be taking a whole lot upon him, something that’s usually a necessary thing in most metal styles...
 
“Straight to the Heart” manages to combine a poppy atmosphere with Loohimo’s rough and ready, passionate vocals, and she more than lifts it, with her very confident delivery, despite it being a pretty standard fare. If I should complain for something it’s the guitar… the solo ain’t bad, if not a touch too flashy, but it does sound quite anemic… in fact a second lead theme towards the end sounds sort of better.
 
The title track, “Bringer of Pain”, pushes the pedal to the metal a bit further, in a nice way, with the whole thing being reminiscent of a weird hybrid between Doro, Pretty Maids at their most metal and maybe a bit of commercial Priest; the chorus isn’t right on the money, but at least it doesn’t drag the song down with it…
 
What I didn’t quite get from the start was “King for a Day” the album’s single, so to speak; it tries too hard to be a neo-metal anthem… a bit of commercial Priest mixed with Hammerfall and while Loohimo carries it well, the disco sounding chorus, complete with a dodgy orchestra hit and other bad effects, lifted straight out of some soundtrack’s textbook, really don’t work too well together at least to my ears; it’s not too terrible now that I’m listening back to it, but damn me if I don’t want to strike some disco pose during the chorus… it feels too campy and too 80s, but I’m not saying that in the best way… while it could have been pretty epic, it misses the mark, by a bit…
 
“Beyond the Burning Skies” is a melodic number that’s not half as bad… all things considered, in its mid-tempo sturdy territory, allowing NL to tone down things a bit and sing more which is pretty nice.
 
“Familiar Hell” is chiefly a good pop song that the attempt to metallize really ruins, plus the screaming-spoken part feels really odd. Seriously why not keep some of those songs for a Eurovision only single?
 
“Lost in Wars” features the vocal talents of latest Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen, creating a contrastingly very heavy song, led by a bizarre combined riff; a song that seems to be quite nice, but probably is a bit too spoiled for my tastes by swaying too long in some very deep guttural territory, before Joutsen starts to sing clean. Could have been better I guess…
 
The ridiculously titled “Bastard Son of Odin” is a pretty dodgy but fun power metal song. I suppose that starts with a totally over the top keyboard theme (what is that sound? Off key, modulated bagpipes?). Loohimo sings it well, but could as well have been preparing a pizza, grating extra layers of cheese over the lyrics, in hopes no-one will pay attention to them. There’s cheesy, silly lyrics and then there’s this. It makes the cheesiest of Priest instantly win a Pulitzer, a Nobel and an Ivan Novelo all at once!
 
“We Will Fight” gets off the mozzarella overload and isn’t too bad, but like before, the guitar takes a background role.
 
“Dancing with the Beast” is a bad 80s Cindy Lauper tune that never happened, with metal vocals on it and the occasional guitar here or there, but primarily a key laden number. Good for Eurovision, not too good for metal. Shows Loohimo’s versatility, but it’s not something I;d like to listen to, too many times, thanks and that misguided key lead… oh, please…
 
“Far From Heaven” is a very nice ballad that feels a tiny bit like a bit of a parting “letter” to Kabanen – but I may be wrong too… and it’s nice…
 
The Japanese version has some bonuses; “Gods of War”, a generic but pleasant stompy mid-tempo that could have easily replaced one of those dodgy Euro-metal-vision tunes, the very “keyboard” underscored “The Eclipse” that sounds almost like something quite unfinished that was cobbled together for a bonus and barely holds together as a song… while “Rock Trash” is another such example only faring a bit better, because it’s a simple rock n roller turned on its head and with Loohimo pushing it that extra one step to 11, with her performance.  An acoustic version of “Far From Heaven” is sweet and sounds quite soothing in its most basic form, but probably a bit better with its complete orchestration…
 
While Battle Beast hasn’t fallen apart and managed to quickly cobble together a release, it’s a little lacking in the guitar department and despite the best efforts of Loohimo, it needs something more permanent, because they could easily descend into relative obscurity, if the songwriting is too rushed. This is a bit of first tolling bell, but I’m not certain if they can hear it from partying too hard… we’ll see. Touring a bit more on their “strength” and taking a bit more time, for their next album would do them the world of good.

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