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Battle Beast – Steel Award winner

Battle Beast
Steel
by Tomer "Tommy-Foxx" Darmon at 02 January 2012, 9:03 PM

I know that a lot of people are going hate me for what I am going say here in this review, but members of NIGHTWISH do know thatI am sorry but BATTLE BEAST are the fresh air of the present. I first saw them back at Wacken 2010, and I won't forget the original feeling when I heard them. I was in my tent with my friend Lior “Steinmetal” Stein and I told him: "Man, I hear a high pitch!!!" Lior:" Yeah I know, it must be high end growls", I replied: “No no, I hear real clean ones, something different". So we followed the howls straight from our tent and suddenly we found ourselves speechless standing in front of a phenomenon called BATTLE BEAST.

This is a young band from Finland armed with a voice of a goddess of a singer that showed right there under the stage lights how to make pure, spicy Heavy Metal with 80s influence and strong singing blinking to an operatic side. I had no doubt that they would win the Wacken Metal Battle and till today I can still remember their performance. After a little small talk with them I found out that by that time they released an EP. Though released as an independent release in the summer of 2011, Nuclear Blast Records signed them and for 2012 their debut release, “Steel”, reappears with its shining colors under the BLAST insignia.

"Enter The Metal World”, the opening track, has great dynamics between the first guitar riff and the keyboards though I am no fan of keyboard’s usage.  Valo enters softly into the song and then attacks hard in the pre chorus. The chorus is so sweeping to the point where a sing along is a must. In that spot you will notice that she has no limits in her vocal range as it is strong, tough, with high end markers. The guitar solos introduce nice shredding and impressive work by the duo of Kabanen & Soinio with a melodic pattern and reminded me all the guitars heroes that I used to worship in the 80s.

"Armageddon Clan" is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is very catchy, nice and melodic. It presents simple guitar riffs but that is the beauty of it. Its simplicity elevated its power. The chorus is sturdy and I was especially amazed by the growl singing of Kabanen that accompanied Valo. One thing that I found here odd is that on the EP version of the song, the production sounded much better to me as the guitars sounded stronger and also there was an attention to the drums. The vocals also sounded much alive than what went on the album. I guess it's probably reverb effect that made the difference, but it wasn’t that of an issue.

If you ask for a military style anthem, you got it right here on "The Band Of The Hawk" as it sounds like a soldiers’ march, very pompous and enormous. What contributed to it was the band’s quire like singing in the end as they kept on repeating the chorus under the bombastic sounding atmosphere that Janne provided with his keyboards’ orchestra effect. "Justice and Metal" is the "Speed King" of the 00s. A very fast song with a melodic blend between the guitars solos. BATTLE BEAST really know how to showcase themselves as warriors. The self title track "Steel" has some taste of JUDAS PRIEST of the 80s as it hails Heavy Metal with a proclamation that it should shake the world. The nicest thing in the song is the little sort of game between the lead guitar, the tension of the orchestra and Vikki’s thundering drums.

"Show Me How To Die" is another one of their greatest songs on the album, starting with a thrilling opening that slips into a great solo guitar. I really can't remember when I was so astonished by a female singer since I've heard Federica De Boni of WHITE SKULL. On this song Valo shows unique vocals abilities that put her straight in the first line along the greatest of Metal singers. The song drives hard, it’s simple but with much power. The melodic chorus will surely be an echo in your head. I must note for the incredible lead guitar solo, the shred play is amazing and will tear you apart, so beware. The ending chorus is a progress from calmness to sheer toughness, a true final boost to finish it up. "Savage and Saint" is one of the most emotional songs around here. It is a beautiful ballad that showed the softer side of the band to appear. Aside Valo’s abilities, there is a taste of  the melodic touch of acoustic guitars that serve as a route to something greater in the image of the whole band’s entrance with jagged distortion and bombing drums. Once again I have to make a note that the oldest version of the song is better than what the album offers, though BATTLE BEAST didn’t disappoint. "Victory", the closer of the album is a fast finisher with a chunk of balls. It reminded the main rhythm of JUDAS PRIEST’s "Freewheel Burning". The uneven part before the guitar solo is a killerthat might be reminiscent of a platoon’s reply to their leader. Furthermore, the solo bears some oriental influences, a thing that doesn’t characterize BATTLE BEAST on a regular basis but integrates well.

A thing that really annoyed me is how the EP’s production turned out prevailing in comparison to the entire re-production, which I think that sounded better. To sum things up, it was a great experience listening to this Finnish band. They are one of a kind and provided something fresh and new. If I would have to define in a single word what BATTLE BEAST’s music is,I would define it as “Power”. That same feeling crossed my awareness, I felt empowered in every song even if it was emotive as the ballad. These are talented musicians that no doubt will conquer the world one day.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enter the Metal World
2 .Armageddon Clan
3 .The Band of the Hawk
4 .Justice And Metal
5 .Steel
6 .Die-Hard Warrior
7 .Cyberspace
8 .Show Me How To Die
9 .Savage And Saint
10. Iron Hand
11 .Victory
Lineup:
Nitte Valo  - Vocals
Anton Kabanen –Guitar , Vocals
Pyry Vikki – Drums
Juuso Soinio - Guitar
Eero Sipilä – Bass,Vocals
Janne Björkroth – Keyboards,Vocals
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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