Album Review: Battle Beast by BATTLE BEAST

Let's conduct a thought experiment for a moment. Suppose you were to take the best riffs and lyrics and themes from great old-school 80s metal and hard-rock bands like:
  • IRON MAIDEN
  • JUDAS PRIEST
  • W.A.S.P.
  • MOTORHEAD
  • SURVIVOR
  • HELLOWEEN
  • ACCEPT
  • SAXON
  • JOURNEY
  • MANOWAR
  • DIO
  • BON JOVI
  • DEF LEPPARD
  • AC/DC
and stick it all in a blender, crank the volume and speed up to 11, and then toss in a wicked bitchin' female vocalist who sounds a lot like a genetic experiment to mix Eric Adams, Biff Byford, Ronnie James Dio, and Blackie Lawless into a woman's form gone awesomely wrong. What do you think the result would sound like?

If you guessed, "something a bit like BATTLE BEAST's self-titled second album", well, I'm never playing blackjack against you, that's for damn sure.

This album, and this band, will NEVER get props for originality. The entire album is basically a giant tribute to hardcore 80s metal. And boy, is it good fun to listen to.

BATTLE BEAST are a five-member outfit from Helsinki, in Finland, and I'm actually a bit surprised that I've only just now come across them; I'm even more surprised that this is actually their second album, considering how polished it sounds and how forceful the riffs are. They apparently do have an audience in Europe, but it took nearly a year after this album's European release for it to make its way over to North America- in fact this album still hasn't been released over here as of this writing, but it will be soon. I've been listening to it on almost constant rotation since I bought it at the beginning of the week, and while it will never be considered original or ground-breaking, there's nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia now and then.

Things kick off with "Let It Roar", and the vocalist, Noora Louhimo, proceeds to do exactly that, bellowing out the lyrics like an angry tigress. The song sounds a bit like JOURNEY or BON JOVI on speedballs. "Out of Control" is strongly reminiscent of OZZY OSBOURNE from back during the Randy Rhoads days- Blizzard of Oz/Diary of a Madman. If you liked those two albums, you're going to dig this track. "Out on the Streets" is just pure 80s anthem-rock, it could have been on a DEF LEPPARD or DOKKEN album if it weren't for the vocals.

After those three enjoyable tracks, the next one really amps things up a bit. "Neuromancer" is a great track, it comes across a bit like JOURNEY on amphetamines with a bitchin' guitar riff and an awesome synth track in the background. It's followed instantly by "Raven", which we might as well just rename "ACCEPT tribute" right now because that is literally exactly what it sounds like. And "Into the Heart of Danger" is nothing if not SURVIVOR's "Eye of the Tiger" with a fresh coat of paint.

Things continue in this vein through the rest of the album; "Machine Revolution", for instance, might have appeared on a W.A.S.P. album at some point, while "Kingdom" sounds a bit like a tribute to THE SCORPIONS. "Over the Top" has a great, muscular, heavy riff that reminds me very strongly of old-school 80s SAXON, while "Fight, Kill, Die" practically screams "MOTORHEAD cover".

The band actually released a video for "Black Ninja", which is both hilariously stupid and unbearable to watch, but the track itself could not be more of a DIO tribute if it tried. And the album closes out with "Rain Man", which sounds a bit like IRON MAIDEN crashed headfirst into JUDAS PRIEST from the Ram It Down era.

Like I said above, no one in his right mind is going to accuse BATTLE BEAST of any kind of originality. There is almost none to be found. The album is full of riffs practically ripped out of the pages of the Gospel of Eighties Metal, and it's clear that these guys love the bands that they're trying to sound like. It's impossible to dislike their music or fault their dedication to their chosen style, because they end up sounding really great and the album itself is very well-polished.

I will say, though, that the vocalist's singing style is an acquired taste. I personally found it very grating at first, but then the music began to grow on me and now I can basically ignore the extreme rawness of her voice at times, because the riffage and the melodic aggression are very well complimented by her vocal style. This album and its music may be silly; it might be cheesy; it's definitely waaaaaay OTT. It is also immensely good fun.

In conclusion, this is NOT a groundbreaking or surprising album in any way, shape, or form. It is, however, an absolute blast to listen to.

Didact's Verdict: 4/5, highly entertaining, great fun to listen to, great fun to workout to, definitely recommended.

Buy/download Battle Beast by BATTLE BEAST here

Comments

  1. Thanks for the music recommendation. Just dropped a note in your inbox.

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