Published on June 27th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Battle Beast: Bringer of Pain (Nuclear Blast)
If you’re one of the fans who felt Finnish metal band Battle Beast’s last album (2015’s Unholy Savior) was a bit too poppy, you’ll probably want to stop reading this and back away slowly, because the band has doubled-down on that approach with their latest offering Bringer of Pain.
Battle Beast, like Amaranthe, seems determined to make “pop metal” a thing, and damn if they don’t do a fantastic job convincing me that that’s a good thing. This is a band that has, from the start, shown plenty of steel and the kind of heavy metal chops you’d expect from a Euro power metal band. They’ve taken those “meat and potatoes” influences – think Accept, Judas Priest and Doro/Warlock – and keyboarded the shit out it. On Bringer of Pain especially, these songs are just drenched in keys, which play so well off of the killer melodies and vocalist Noora Louhimo’s raspy, charismatic vocal style.
Bringer of Pain is easily the band’s catchiest, poppiest effort, and is one of the most addictive albums you’ll hear this year. Album openers “Straight to the Heart” and “Bringer of Pain” are an irresistible one-two punch, and “King For a Day” is essentially a power metal version of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” which somehow manages not to suck. The rest of the album is one head-bobbing, sing-along pop metal anthem after another. The ultra-melodic “Beyond the Burning Skies” could almost pass for a Nightwish song, and hearing Amorphis frontman Tomi Joutsen on “Lost in Wars” is a pleasant surprise. The album ends with a lighter poppier number and then a ballad (something you’d expect Bonnie Tyler to belt out on a 1982 movie soundtrack), which is kind of a downer after so many high energy songs, but that’s really the only gripe I have with this one.
At some point, you just have to embrace the fact that pop metal is here to stay. Battle Beast does it so well that you can’t help but come along for the ride. Bringer of Pain is the bridge between bands like Sabaton (who Battle Beast recently opened for), Edguy and Nightwish and poppier artists like Amaranthe and Dynazty, and beyond that it’s just a really fun, really catchy album that you’ll want to play over and over again.
Summary: This may be the catchiest album of 2017.