Five years ago Battle Beast flattened me with a 50-ton cheese smoother called Steel. In the years since that righteous lactose lullaby, it’s safe to say the band and I had our share of problem. I was less than enthused with their eponymous follow-up and even less keen on 2015s Unholy Savior. It felt like the band was searching for a new direction somewhere between the throwback 80s cheddar of the debut and radio-ready hair metal, and like Beth’s absentee ex-boyfriend, they just couldn’t find the sound. Enter Bringer of Pain, the third album with Noora Louhimo on vocals and it seems like something finally altered the Beasts in a positive way. What they deliver is a peculiar but fascinating collection of tunes sounding like some never-released Pat Benatar metal album from 1982. That means attitude alongside hooks and a whole freight-car of silliness. The band’s tagline reads “100% Metal 0% bullshit,” and while their math isn’t completely accurate, it’s close enough to get a pass this time.

Opener “Straight to the Heart” is a ridiculously infectious slice of 80s metal overloaded with bombastic keyboards and designed to stick in your cranium like a Viking ax. Noora’s raspy, powerhouse vocals hit all the right nerves and the chorus is even bigger than her hair. Metal doesn’t get much more accessible and goofy than this, but hey, if it works, it works. “King for a Day” is another mega-catchy fist-pumping anthem that could have existed during the salad days of Skid Row and Ratt, but it’s heavier and even has a somewhat timely message.

The most hook-tastic cut is the insidiously unforgettable “Familiar Hell” which almost sounds like Heart trying to do metal, which is worth the price of admission in and of itself. The chorus will staple itself to your forehead and there’s even a weird spoken-word lecture mid-song that reminds me of the gibberish proselytizing from Warrior‘s long forgotten “PTM I.” Also paying big dividends is the rowdy, dumb fun of “Bastard Son of Odin,” which is all adrenaline and knuckle dragging.

Then we get to the head-scratchers. “Dancing With the Beast” is essentially a club rock/disco track with big throbbing bass1 and saccharine-sweet keys, recalling the 80s synth nostalgia of acts like Kavinsky. It’s effective in the sense it could probably be played at any dance club without the patrons noticing, but on a metal album it’s an odd, cred-busting choice. Album closer “Far From Heaven” is a super sappy Bonnie Raitt approved ballad that can’t even qualify as a power-ballad due to the utter lack of power. These tracks run back to back to close out what is a mostly fun, punchy album, thereby causing Bringer of Pain to go out with a shimmy and a whimper instead of a snarl.

At a concise 39 minutes, the first 8 of 10 songs fly by quite feverishly with several cuts demanding immediate replay. The sound is a bit too polished and glossy, with big, radio rock drum tracks and an over-emphasis on the keyboards. The guitars could use more sizzle and danger, but that isn’t what Battle Beast appear to be going for as indicated by the Xanadu-like penultimate track.

While I still miss original singer Nitte Valo, there’s no denying Noora can wail like a banshee on meth. She has a nice edge to her delivery and she can hit those stratospheric highs when needed. I miss the Grave Digger-esque supporting vocals that appeared on earlier albums, but she does a good job on her own and sounds convincing on the “metal” cuts. Juuso Soinio and new ax Joona Björkroth provide simple but effective riff-work, and though it’s far mellower than the band’s early days, it accomplishes what they’re trying to do here. Janne Björkroth’s keyboards cull from 80s radio rock adroitly and help make Bringer a bit of a nostalgia trip for those who lived through the early days of MTV. Some of what he does cuts too close to Nightwish (“Beyond the Burning Skies,” “Lost in Wars”) but that’s a minor complaint.

Bringer of Pain is a flawed but amusing slice of 80s metal. When it fires on all cylinders, it will keep you entertained while also conjuring your long-lost Members Only jacket. It’s easily the most endearing and consistent thing they’ve done since their debut and it gives a glimmer of hope for the future. Next time bring a bit more pain and a lot less polyester.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 268 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast[EU][US]
Websites: battlebeast.fifacebook.com/battlebeastofficial
Releases Worldwide: February 17th, 2017

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  1. Boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants….

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  • Stefunal

    I loved Unholy Savior. It was so utterly, utterly stupid.
    And yet the cringefest that is “Touch in the Night” is still one of my favourite tracks of that year :D

    • Eli Valcik

      Tell me about it, Touch of the Night was simultaneously the best and worst.

  • R.Daneel Olivaw
  • Eli Valcik

    no way, earlier today I found myself reading your review of Battle Beat’s Steel.

    • brutal_sushi

      Please don’t edit your post! Battle Beat is too good!

      • Eli Valcik

        Hahaha just noticed that, stupid phone auto correct. Well look forward to my new rap group Battle Beat, we’re dropping our mix tape next month.

  • Maximos662

    I surprised myself by actually enjoying this, and Noora’s vocals were perfect for the music. Nonetheless, I still feel like I need to dig out the bleakest, blackest, trvest thing in my library after having liked this track.

  • METAL OTTER

    The mascot is missing from the cover art… does this mean they’ve run out of Berserk-themed songs?

    • Reaper

      The guy that wrote all the Berserk songs left after the previous album.

      • METAL OTTER

        He was, possibly, also the mascot

    • Eldritch Elitist

      Guts got off the boat. What’s left to write about after that?

    • Ralph Plug

      Seems like it. Shame.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Am I the only one who gets a whiff of the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” off that embedded track?

    • ABBA maybe.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Sniff closer and you’ll get the Bee Gees’ whiff.

      • madhare

        Abba was my first thought too.

      • DrewMusic

        If they’ll consider rebranding themselves as Black ABBAth, I’ll give them another try.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    First it was Embers Fall, now this… I think it’s time to ban keyboards in Finland for 5 years. Hell, make that 10.

    • fantasmatron

      Jens Johansson will be round soon to correct your soul.

  • Reese Burns

    Did April fools come early this year?

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Xanadu! I loved that film when I was a young kid. Even then, though, I felt kind of guilty for liking it, and never discussed this obsession with friends.

    • Leave the hall for one week.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Oh! And then there was Grease….

        • Tender your resignation to HR, you beauty school dropout!

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Impossible! I’m hopelessly devoted to this site.

          • If I was your lawyer, I’d tell you to be quiet.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            I’ll let Oscar Wilde speak for me: “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I read “Xanadu” and I thought “Rush”. That’s cred motherfuckers!!!
      ;)

    • Tofu muncher

      Yep, Xanadu was great (because ELO), and I also watched Can’t Stop the Music (was less than 10 y.o. I was, mayhap?), and haven’t looked back since.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I forgot about Can’t Stop the Music. I was probably the same age. I had the Xanadu soundtrack on tape, and, yea, ELO was great.

        Xanadu was also my introduction to Gene Kelly. I remember thinking, “who is this old guy, and why is he dancing?” Years later, I finally saw Singing in the Rain, and understood.

        Anywhoo, having dug ELO, Olivia Newton John, and the Village People, it’s only natural that I’ve gravitated towards Black Metal and Brutal Death.

        • Tofu muncher

          “…it’s only natural that I’ve gravitated towards Black Metal and Brutal Death.” Naturally. No more Olivia Newton John and Village People, of course, but Jeff Lynne is still a fave.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Noora’s got a sort of Cyndi Lauper meets Wendy O. Williams meets Siouxsie Sioux thing going. She makes the rest of the band look like choir boys.

    • She has style.

    • Feytalist

      It’s impossible not to love someone with hair like that.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Well, maybe for you. Personally, I think she looks like the women that live in the crack-house down the street.

        • [not a Dr]

          That must be an awesome crack-house!!!

          • Oscar Albretsen

            LOL, well, I may be overselling it a bit…

  • I feel like Battle Beast is what would happen if Kobra and the Lotus was a terrible band.

  • madhare

    I’m not very interested in debating “what is metal”… but this is one of those cases where I’m just put off by the fact that this really has nothing to do with metal. In my opinion, it isn’t even “accessible metal”, like you say.

    This is schlager for sad middle-aged Finns who grew up listening to a mix of Abba and Bon Jovi. The slight metal-ness is just glued on top because metal has become so normalised in Finland.

    • It’s plenty cheesy, but it is metal (mostly).

      • Oscar Albretsen

        I’m not into it, but, it’s hard to see how one could try and say it’s not metal. Bon Jovi was metal, too, and this doesn’t sound ANYTHING like Abba.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          There’s Abba there, and Bee Gees… there’s quite a bit of 70s disco mixed in there.

          • If you think the embedded song has a disco influence, wait until you hear “Dancing With the Beast.”

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            It’s been proven that Metal can be mixed with anything. Even Disco. But because you could, it doesn’t mean you should, right? I mean, would you lick your own balls if you could? And please nobody answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

          • You opened a door to the wrong room with that one.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            There was never a right room, was there?

          • Oscar Albretsen

            Licking my own balls. Why would I bother? I’d be able to suck my own dick! It’s how I’ve always envisioned heaven…

          • [not a Dr]

            “because you could, it doesn’t mean you should”
            Are you referring to Metalligaga?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I wasn’t but it certainly applies.

        • Bas

          What happened to the label ‘hard rock’ ????
          Was/isn’t Bon Jovi hard rock?

          What this battle beast is… pff.. it isn’t disco hard rock (then I think about ‘I was made for loving you’ etc)… well.. okay, lets call it disco pop metal.. anyway.. its not my cup of tea…

      • [not a Dr]
    • Lars Barres

      First thing I thought of with the embedded track was, “They must be shooting to get into the Eurovision song contest.”

  • DrewMusic

    Boy, that album title is pretty on the nose, at least to us lactose intolerant naysayers. It hurts, and I say nay, a thousand times nay.
    Finnland, regroup your poop.

  • aaron bergman

    I never wondered what would happen if Cyndi Lauper and Twisted Sister had a baby, but at least now I know.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I never wondered what Udo Dirkschneider would sound like if he had a sex change, but at least now I know.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Sounds like a modern band trying way too hard to sound like an 80’s band. Not impressed.

  • VikingSchism

    That embedded track was just the cheese I was looking for.

    Guess that’s it, I need to make a not-so-guilty pleasure cheesy metal playlist full of songs about unicorns

    • So cheese tastes sweeter than guilty cheese.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    If Mark Ronson switched to metal this is what it would sound like.

  • Tofu muncher

    I love Steel and Unholy Saviour, and am thinking (hard) abt getting this one. BUT, is there any way the world can be rid off that band photo?

  • Norpal Nordickson

    Huh, Druhm and I are from opposite dimensions or something. I found Steel a disappointing album after listening to their awesome demo songs a lot, and then the self-titled and Unholy Saviour were a big improvement over that. I think they had a lot more energy and drive than the debut, which really sounded toothless.

    And then the band fired the founder and main songwriter (also responsible for those “Grave Digger-esque backing vocals) and basically lost any respect I had for them. The two tracks I’ve heard off this album are so damn boring I don’t really feel like checking out the rest of the album.