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Beast In Black – Dark Connection Award winner

Beast In Black
Dark Connection
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 November 2021, 9:01 AM

BEAST IN BLACK is a metal band from Finland who formed in 2015. They have been prolific; "Dark Connection" is their third album within the last four years. They are often lumped into the power metal genre but the band's sound is hard to pin down. Certainly, they do have a strong power metal vibe. But 80's glam/hair metal is obviously a part of their sound along with synth pop. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what genre they are because this album is so goddamn catchy, bold, and fun. It has the uncanny ability to hit hard while also having a unique sound that doesn't really care what people think—the band obviously knows who they are and had as much fun creating this album as I did listening to it.

Unlike the previous album "From Hell With Love," which was great but had a couple less than solid tracks, every track here is solid.  The production and mix is as clear and open as expected, similar to how their first two albums sound. With that being said, this crystal clean production is getting a bit too much for me. Sure, it fits their sound and I don't think me or anyone would argue it doesn't. But it does take the bite out of their music—more "oomph" would be nice as it would go a long way into counteracting all the synth.

The albums open with "Blade Runner," a fitting song considering the sci fi theme running throughout the album's eleven tracks. YANNIS continues to be monumental—this guy has some pipes and echoes the flamboyant and adventurous styles of legends like DICKINSON and HALFORD. The song is built upon the foundation of rock solid heavy metal, often times mixed with keys/synth or backed very well by them. Anton's songwriting is clever as he knows when to focus on the guitars or when they should take a back seat to other elements. The chorus is an ear worm and the keys play off it very well, giving the whole song a smooth flow.

"Bella Donna," begins with Anton, Kasperi, and Máté hammering out riffs before the synth becomes up the focus. But the guitars always return—-as much focus as there is on the synth pop elements, there just as much on the more traditional elements. It pays off because this is an energetic song with some blazing guitar solos. The whole album is riddled with shredding solos and it never sounds forced. The band may be comfortable in their now established sound but that doesn't mean they play it safe. "One Night In Tokyo" is a bouncy number that wouldn't be out of place in a dance club filled with people tripping on drugs. It still sounds like BEAST IN BLACK though, especially the drumming from Atte. I hope people realize how indispensable this guy is to their sound.

"Moonlight Rendezvous," is another risky bet that pays off. I absolutely loved the long 80s style riddled sci fi intro that goes on for well over a minute.  The riffs afterwards and Yannis' epic wail mixed with his smooth accompanying vocals set the tone.  The chorus is wonderful, the keys go well with the rhythmic thunder of the bass. This is just a well written song and it shows this band can pull off anything they wish. The later half of the album seems to be heavier and more riff oriented but you'll get no complaints from me. "Revengeance Machine," is a searing, fast paced power metal extravaganza. The keys and drums give the momentum but the bass and riffs anchor it all down with a slab of metal that would make any fan of traditional style take notice.

"To The Last Drop Of Blood," is another raging track that uses the keys/synths to propel the metal further. Yannis' vocals in the stanzas are just amazing, as the chorus that fits right at home in the song. The guitars join in for the second lyrical movement adding a sense of fullness to the song. The album finishes strongly with two of the best songs they have written: "Broken Survivors" and "My Dystopia." The former is kind of a ballad at times but it has plenty of crunch and kick to make it so much more than that, such as the wall of sound distortion during the pre chorus and actual chorus . Yannis sings his ass off over the galloping riffs of the stanzas and it all just comes together so easily. The melodic solo is just what the song needs, as is the more forceful part that comes right after.

The later opens with clean keys that grow more sweeping as they mix in with the riffs. Parts of the song are grandiose, especially the parts where it is just Yannis and the keys together. But the whole band comes together when needed and extends the scope and height of the song. With "Dark Connections", BEAST IN BLACK cement their style and show the word they aren't going anywhere. They also wrote an album filled with songs that won't leave your head for days—and I can't wait to hear more.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Blade Runner
2. Bella Donna
3. Highway to Mars
4. Hardcore
5. One Night in Tokyo
6. Moonlight Rendezvous
7. Revengeance Machine
8. Dark New World
9. To the Last Drop of Blood
10. Broken Survivors
11. My Dystopia
12. Battle Hymn (Manowar cover)
13. They Don't Care About Us (Michael Jackson cover)
Máté Molnár - Bass
Kasperi Heikkinen - Guitars
Anton Kabanen - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Yannis Papadopoulos - Vocals (lead)
Atte Palokangas - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 06 February 2023

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