"Unholy Savior"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Battle Beast injected a lightning bolt into the veins of the dying European power meal scene with their self-titled debut in 2013. Their unabashedly cheesy assault of power metal cliches combined with almost AOR sensibility somehow caught the public fancy, along with the awesome vocal blasts of frontwoman Noora Louhimo. As cheesy as Battle Beast was, there was a bold vigor in their approach.

Now comes the sequel "Unholy Savior" and it is one inconsistent platter. In its better moments, it has the thunder and catchiness of the debut, but the weak parts are atrocious and knock the band right out of the metal category altogether. I'm thinking they should have spent more time on a good follow-up than rushing something out to the market.

"Lionheart" starts in the style of "Battle Beast", heavy with 80's sounding synths and Noora sounding strong. Can't criticize her lungpower here, that's one thing that hasn't changed at all. The title track seems too synth-heavy and syrupy for me and also lasts too long. The rest of the album is a pendulum-like swing between fast catchy power metal and sappy garbage. "Madness" and "Speed and Danger" show that these guys still possess the power that made them great. But then ballads like "Sea of Dreams" and "Angel Cry" throw a wet blanket over everything. This sounds like the kind of stuff that pseudo-metallers like Lita Ford used to do. They hit rock bottom with "Touch In the Night"...a total 80's AOR cheesefest sounding like an out-take from a Loverboy album. Ugh! Not even Noora's voice can save this.

"Far Far Away" shocks with a blatant rip-off of the riff from Venom's "Welcome To Hell" but settles down into a catchy little tune. The cinematic "Hero's Quest" heads in a more symphonic direction and mostly satisfies.

"Unholy Savior" has some of what made Battle Beast initially so much fun to listen to, but I can't abide with Loverboy-sounding tunes and drippy ballads. They need to remember what brought them to the dance.