"Battle Beast"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Ah, the power of cheese! When applied correctly, it can melt steel, break necks and cause hearts to burst! Heavy metal has had more than its share of gloriously campy bands but they have been in very short supply lately. Now comes Battle Beast from the gloomy forests of Finland and they have the ability to inject something into the metal scene that has not been seen since the early days of Hammerfall!

I first heard of this band from singer Sean Peck of Death Dealer and Cage, who said this self-titled album was on constant repeat at his home. He admitted there was a corniness to this band, but that is was impossible to get their songs out of his head. And he was right! Now I've heard Battle Beast myself and must bow to their goofy charm. The bubonic plague wasn't as catchy as the power metal these Finns play! And then of course they have that secret weapon that blows everyone away...THAT VOICE!

The voice belongs to female valkyrie singer Noora Louhimo, who has ridden down from Asgard to chop your head off. What an unbelievable powerful ROAR this woman has! If you are not knocked off your chair and into the next room by the vocal blast of "Let it Roar", then you must be deaf! Incredible! And when those vocals are put in the service of such simple, accessible and irresistable vocal hooks like those in "Out of Control", "Rain Man" and the aforementioned "Let it Roar", you have something undeniablly amazing on your hands.

And the music? Yes, it is cheesy power metal to the max, cartoony to the point of parody and often mixed with synths and keyboards that give it a kind of 80's New Wave feel. But Battle Beast keeps it simple, stupid! Classic basic riffs...short punchy songs...and some totally shredding neo-classical solos that would have Alexi Laiho ready to jump into Lake Bodom! There is a strong Accept feel to a lot of the chugging riffs on stuff like "Neuromancer" and "Black Ninja" fact, "Black Ninja" is almost identical to an old UDO song called "Vendetta". There's a strong feel of Judas Priest as well and European power metal like Stratovarius and Hammerfall. But it is stripped down and basic and never gets too boring, even though the synth-drenched beginnings of "Raven" and "Into the Heart of Danger" had me worried before the axes started to crank. And the minute Noora cuts loose with THE VOICE, you are hooked. Cheesy or not!

The power metal scene has been kind of sleepy the last five years, but the ultra-accessible, pure and elemental attack of Battle Beast may be just the thing to rouse it from slumber!