Finland’s Battle Beast is back on the scene with their new album Unholy Savior, and it is a worthy follow-up to 2013’s power-packed, self-titled release. Unholy Savior is a piece of bombastic-fantastic melodic metal, bursting at the seams with insane guitars, glossy keyboards, grandiose drumming, and lyrics set in Battle Beast’s alternate universe: a sci-fi/fantasy realm of robots, battles, and muscular feline/human warriors. And of course, there is the queen of the realm herself, vocalist Noora Louhimo, one of my favourite vocalists in the business right now, wielding that out-of-this-world voice with so much skill it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Louhimo can do brutal power vocals like few others. Just listen to her roar and rage “flay my flesh” on the gloriously over-the-top title track, or get your face melted by her vocal ferocity on the supercharged, guitar driven speed-demon “Madness” – a track loaded with extra everything. But she can also go angel-wing soft and almost tender, like on the 80s-glossy melodic goodness that is “Sea Of Dreams”.
Both Louhimo and Battle Beast are at their very best when they go all out melodic heavy metal sci-fi space opera. (Yes, that is a genre. Right?) First track “Lionheart” is a prime example: twinkling with keyboards (I can’t think of another band I listen to that is so heavy on the keyboards), racing with guitars, pummelling your gut and mind with turbo-charged drums… it’s awesome stuff in all its luscious glory. Another favourite of mine is the harder-edged “I Want The World…And Everything In It” with the bass just pounding beneath the guitar- and drum-fury.
“Speed And Danger” is a standout too: a frantic shot of musical adrenaline, no holds barred, just flat out pedal to the metal – and through the metal – unleashing some real guitar wizardry and containing enough drummer power to shatter the walls of Valhalla.
Compared to the band’s previous release, Unholy Savior does feature more melodic material, like the previously mentioned “Sea of Dreams”, the crystalline beauty of “Angel Cry”, and the almost ridiculously glossy and slick “Touch In The Night”. Indeed, “Touch In The Night” sounds like Battle Beast’s entry ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest (with a bit of a metal edge just barely peeking through), but it’s done so well I can’t really fault them for it.
As over the top as Battle Beast sometimes is (and oh boy, this band knows how to go over the top!) it’s the quality within the madness that makes it all work: the musicianship, the hooks, the melodies, the riffs… and yes, those vocals, are top-notch. Even when Battle Beast goes cheesy (and they occasionally do), it’s such good and tasty cheese.
This is hooky, catchy, heavy glossy metal with an operatic flair. All of it shot up with so much energy and a sense of fun that I find it pretty much irresistible. Battle Beast’s music and lyrics seem to kind of exist in a parallel universe of heightened reality, and you enter it with the knowledge that it’s going to be completely and utterly over the top, but also fun as hell.
- Noora Louhimo – vocals
- Anton Kabanen – guitar, vocals
- Pyry Vikki – drums
- Juuso Soinio – guitar
- Eero Sipilä – bass, vocals
- Janne Björkroth – keys, vocals
- Unholy Savior
- I Want The World….And Everything In It
- Sea Of Dreams
- Speed And Danger
- Touch In The Night
- The Black Swordsman
- Hero’s Quest
- Far Far Away
- Angel Cry
- Push It To The Limit (Bonus Track)
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