Battle Beast – “Bringer Of Pain” (Nuclear Blast)
Now onto their 4th release, “Bringer Of Pain” is a crucial release for these Finnish metal monsters. Now devoid of their main songwriter and founder guitarist producer Anton Kabanen, many have been wondering how well these guys could cope with such an intrinsic loss. Well, it’s a mixed bag but overall, the answer is remarkably well! Smashing in with opener ‘Straight To The Heart’ its classic Battle Beast all the way as femme siren Noora Louhimo blasts her power vocals along to a super catchy chorus. On the title track it’s clear that new boy Joona Björkroth (brother of keyboardist Janne) together with Juuso Soinio are keen to make their guitars bleed through high speed riffing and some truly blinding solos that flipped me offa my ass to play that air geetar – yeah! Adding some orchestrals on the single ‘King For A Day’ its back to another catchy chorus on this mid tempo rocker that adds in an imperious Sabaton element, while on the passionate ‘Beyond The Burning Skies’ there’s a cool fire n ice mix from the searing guitars contrasted with Louhimo’s suave highs, coming together in harmonic bliss – very catchy and highly memorable indeed! The theme of catchiness is consistent throughout the album but thankfully not formulaic on the Lordi like ‘Familiar Hell’ or the chugging Viking metal riffola of ‘Bastard Son Of Odin’ where Pyry Vikki’s thundering drums really hits a home run for power along with more singalong melodies. I guess where “Bringer Of Pain” did just that for me was on the bizarre dance / pop track ‘Dancing With The Beast’ and on the AOR closer of ‘Far From Heaven’, both executed competently, but somewhat out of step with the rest of this great comeback album, which for the most part proves that the new Battle Beast is still as fearsome as it ever was!