Finnish power metal with lots of ballads
Finnish metal band Battle Beast released their third album in just four years, an effort that in today’s music world is quite unusual and certainly worth mentioning. Typically albums are followed by two- or three-year touring cycles. However, the hard-working sextet offers their newest record ‘Unholy Beast’ to their growing fan base. Their existing fans will most likely embrace ‘Unholy Saviour’ as the band sticks to their trademark sound of the first two albums: catchy guitar melodies, lots of keyboards and the front woman Noora Loohimo’s charismatic vocals. And at that point we are going into territory that has resulted in a lot of controversy around the band before, some just cannot handle female vocals in a metal band.
With the opener ‘Lionheart’ Battle Beast are off to a good start. The song is fast, has the catchy guitar melodies you expect from a Battle Beast album and a Noora that performs at the best of her voice. Overall her performance is the strongest you have ever seen. Her slightly smoky voice is the perfect contrast for some of the slower and even more melodic parts of the album. The band powers through the next three songs ‘Unholy Saviour’, ‘I Want The World…And Everything In It’ and ‘Madness’. These songs stay on the same high level as the opener. Then the first big break of the album comes in form of the ballad ‘Sea Of Dreams’. Unfortunately, ‘Sea Of Dreams’ is not even a metal ballad but sound more like an 80ies pop ballad. This song is completely dispensable. It’s good to hear that with ‘Speed And Danger’ one of the stronger songs of the album follows.
The remainder of the album follows the same principle as the first part. High-tempo power metal songs with lots of melodies alternate with ballads. The only change is that there are more ballads and slower songs on the second half of ‘Unholy Saviour’.
Bottom line is that Battle Beast are at their best when they let it rip. The faster songs are clearly the stronger ones on ‘Unholy Saviour’. Unfortunately, the proportion of ballads is unusually high with three out of ten songs. You throw in ‘Far Far Away’ with a riff that sounds so much like ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ that you have to wonder whether Rod Smallwood has already sent a letter to Battle Beast’s band management. This leaves you with just five or six good songs which is not enough to make it a great album. Nevertheless, I am sure that ‘Unholy Saviour’ will find a lot of friends and maybe will even open up a completely new market segment for Battle Beast.
7 of 10