“Battle Beast” Bringer of Pain – CD REVIEW by Adam McCann
Record: Nuclear Blast Records 2017
Out of all the Nordic countries, it is safe to assume that Finland have a cornucopia of melancholy, cold, sadness and minor chords that run deep into its heavy metal roots. Finland is the country responsible for the likes of Amorphis, Children of Bodom, also Nightwish and Sonata Arctica to name a few. You cannot fault Finland’s output for heavy metal, it has been consistent for 25 years and growing every year.
Although famous for being relatively reserved, Finland does have its fair share of less melancholic bands that could border on what you would call ‘fun’. One such band is Battle Beast. Battle Beast have had a little bit of the Midas Touch over the course of their career, famous for winning the Wacken Open Battle as well as more Finnish based competitions catapulted Battle Beast into the spotlight alongside prestigious support slots with Nightwish, Powerwolf and Sonata Arctica. In 2012, it was announced that original vocalist Nitte Valo would be stepping down and was replaced by the talismanic almost banshee like Noora Louhimo.
Mid-February saw the release of Bringer of Pain, the 4th album from Battle Beast and the first album without Anton Kabanen, the man behind the song writing for the previous 3 albums who is now a full-time member of Wisdom. Kabanen has been succeeded by Joona Björkroth, the brother of keyboardist Janne Björkroth and because of this, you would expect the song writing to take a hit with the rest of the band seemingly picking up the slack.
Bringer of Pain throws itself between two corners, from straight up heavy metal Doro style anthems such as Straight Through the Heart, We Will Fight, the beautiful closing ballad Far From Heaven and the rousing title track to the more pop-orientated Dancing with the Beast, Familiar Hell and the disco-to-boot King for a Day. King for a Day has some rather scathing words about a man playing at politics, lying and using buzz words to get people on his side whilst simultaneously screwing them over which sounds a lot like its aimed at a certain President of the United States of America. However, with its gleaming pop production, King for a Day enters a pre-chorus disco beat that could easily be a clone of Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight) by ABBA.
All this pop sheen can slide Bringer of Pain in amongst the guilty pleasure brigade of the year and even though Bringer of Pain is a fun album, full of the melodic hooks and catchy beats which you can’t help but tap your foot to, it does feel as if Battle Beast have taken a slight step backwards with Bringer of Pain. However, you need to take Bringer of Pain at face value, it is a good time record that should bring a wryest smile to even the most miserable and cold hearted metalhead.
With Bringer of Pain seemingly almost dividing their fanbase, this leaves Battle Beast at an important crossroads in their career with Bringer of Pain doing very little to improve on the previous album, Unholy Savior, Battle Beast could be in danger of stagnating their sound. Battle Beast still have plenty more to offer and Bringer of Pain will not be anywhere near the top 10, However, don’t take Bringer of Pain with 100% seriousness and maybe you will just about enjoy it. 6/10
Adam McCann / MHF Magazine