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My reviewing colleague Tobbe did not fancy Battle Beast's debut album Steel especially much when it was released in early 2012. I personally found it better, quite enjoyable actually with a handful of minor hits, although nothing really out of the ordinary. Their career took off when they won the 2008 year's edition of Wacken Open Air Metal Battle and Finlands "Radio Rock Starba" competition and subsequently toured across Europe with both Nightwish and Sonata Arctica. When they now release their sophomore album Battle Beast, I have to say that they have taken it to an even higher level, and by now we are talking.
On every level I feel they have fine tuned their thing; production, songs, riffs, refrains and also vocal wise. Their former vocalist Nitte Valo left after the previous album and in stepped Noora Louhimo. A phenomenal vocalist with a great depth and rawness and she does not sound far from Rob Halford at times. She fits their now slightly faster and more aggressive music like a hand in a glove.
Musically they don't take out the turns much compared to last time around, as it's still based on catchy songs with hints of W.A.S.P, U.D.O., Sister Sin and classic metal in the vein of Gamma Ray and Manowar. What stands out and what you will remember is the choruses. There are plenty of hooks and choruses the stick in my head like glue and I have an urge to spin them another round when they are over.
There is a good balance between harder and faster songs with pumping riffs and a straight and immediate chorus (Let It Roar, Raven, Kingdom) and more mid-paced and melodic ones (Neuromancer, Into The Heart Of Danger), with some of the latter having a slight Lordi singalong feeling to them (Out Of Control, Out On The Streets). Thankfully, and blissfully, we are spared from ballads.
The album dips a little bit during the middle part with a couple of tracks that, although not bad, don't stick out in any way (Into The Heart Of Danger, Machine Revolution) but takes off again with the great Kingdom with its very Manowar-esque chorus, which leads the way into a very good second part of the album with Fight, Kill, Die and Rain Man as stand out tracks, although the chorus of the latter is dangerously similar to the one of Raven, just in another tempo.
Battle Beast offer nothing groundbreaking here but it's a really good album if you like straightforward, catchy and anthem-like heavy metal like for example Accept/U.D.O., Majesty, Manowar and I will certainly follow this band with great anticipation in the future.