Thursday, February 23, 2017

Battle Beast - Bringer of Pain (2017)

It is ESC qualification season in Europe, which always gets me thinking on what metal bands would have a good chance in the competition (even if 98% of metal fans don't give a shit about it). I believe that bands like Amaranthe, Sonata Arctica, and even Within Temptation would spice up the show quite a bit. Another band that could pull it off is Battle Beast, especially after what I have heard on their fourth full length effort.

You see, while the Finns always had an element of classic 80's heavy metal in their bombastic sound, they have turned up the nostalgia even further here in "Bringer of Pain". Believe it or not, it actually works to the band's advantage, because their style had become pretty stale the more you heard of it. I am not saying that the bigger involvement of the 80's influences have completely changed their sound, just spiced things up a bit, making the band exciting again.

And it is not like the band is trying to hide these 80's references. The melodies and the structures just oozes of that decade, and I can definitely see some songs in here that would fit in there without any problem. Take "Dancing With The Beast" for an example, with its prominent keyboards and poppy melodies, it could just as well be a Pat Benatar song, and I would not argue. This will definitely rub some people off, and while I think it does not elevate the album in any way, it still sounds neat.

Another key thing with "Bringer of Pain" is that the band has taken a step back, and stopped being so "in your face" with their attitude (except that obnoxious album cover, Jesus!). We still got our adrenaline kicks in "Straight To The Heart", the title track, and "Bastard Son of Odin", but they all feel more lose in its approach, making it easier to take in without getting the taste of blood in your mouth. The performances also takes a step back, especially singer Noora Louhimo whom still sounds raw and tough, but shows some other, softer sides on this record, like the ballad (yes, a Battle Beast ballad) "Far From Heaven". And yes, it is, believe it or not, one of the better songs on this album.

I still think "Bringer of Pain" holds a decent number of quality in it, but at the same time, there are several issues as well. It is one of the more inconsistent albums of this year, and the fillers in here are BIG fillers, not filling any need at all. I also feel like the band loans a little too much from bands like Nightwish ("Beyond The Burning Skies" and "Lost In Wars") and Sabaton ("Bastard Son of Odin" and "God of War") in this album, which is a little off putting. One more thing, while I admit that the final song "Rock Trash" is quite humorous with its cheesy lines (We got the license to rock/wake up the whole block/create a heavy shock), it is a weird way to end an album, and it is yet another reason why this album reeks of the 80's.

So if you like your nostalgia metal heavy and powerful, "Bringer of Pain" is definitely the album for you. It is without any question a step forward from the predecessor "Unholy Savior", and overall it is actually a really fun record, one that is easy to enjoy. Taking a step back though, and observing it from a distant, the flaws in here are just too many to be ignored, keeping it from being one of the band's best albums. So this is definitely an album that is best enjoyed in small doses, which is probably another reason to why this band would work just fine in the ESC. If Lordi can win, so can Battle Beast.

Songs worthy of recognition: Bringer of Pain, Straight To The Heart, Far From Heaven

Rating: 6,5/10 Familiar Hells

More reviews of Battle Beast
Unholy Savior
No More Hollywood Endings

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