Battle Beast - Unholy SaviorWhat better way to start 2015 than with a smack in the face by 120 lbs. of steaming, internally conflicted cheddar? That’s right, Battle Beast is back after their disappointing eponymous album, and they sound even more confused than when they made the dubious leap from the raucous, over the top Euro-power of their wondrous Steel debut to hair metal influenced pop-power. Now it seems they want to have their beastly cake and eat it too, as Unholy Savior is a disjointed mix of their classic style and the newer commercial direction. You end up with a hodgepodge of mega-cheesball power anthems, sugary sweet ballads and some oddball misfit cuts. Though the more ballbusting tracks harken back to the glory of Steel, the album is simply too herky jerky to succeed and once again I’m left unsatisfied and cranky like an angry man baby.

As with their last album, Battle Beast come out of the gate hard with a rousing, fist pumping dose of power. “Lionheart” is close enough to their early works (and the general sound of Sabaton for that matter) to get the blood burning and the Alestrorm churning, Noora Louhimo sounds raw and rowdy and it’s a pretty fun ride, though not as captivating as their older material. They keep the metal coming on the title track, which sounds like a reprise of “The Band of the Hawk” from Steel as it rocks the same bombastic keyboards. The big standout is “I Want the World” and its stomping, infectious energy and wild child vocal attack. This is the kind of tune I want from the band and it brings a smile to this jaded old metal fan.

Things motor decently until “Sea of Dreams,” which is an ethereal ballad that could easily fit on early Within Temptation albums like The Silent Force. It’s pretty and delicate, but quite out-of-place. And things never really recover from there, as the band jumps from mediocre Germanic power metal like “Madness” and “Speed and Danger” to super cheesy pop on “Touch in the Night,” the latter sounding like something Nena or Berlin might have released in 1983. The cheap dance club synths are painful and the song makes me snicker and point derisively. Then you get an acoustic interlude followed by a folksy instrumental with nods to Blind Guardian and then another milquetoast ballad. That’s a mighty tough and bouncy road to send the listener down and Steel Druhm prefers to travel in comfort and luxury.

Battle Beast_2014

As with the last album, Noora does some fine work vocally, showcasing her singing as well as her raspy, “metal maiden” voice and variations in-between. The vocal contributions from guitarist Anton Kabanen are also good fun, adding a shrieking, Grave Digger-esque element that sounds majorly badass alongside Noora’s hard-edged delivery. Sadly, he isn’t used nearly enough and I kept waiting in vain for him to reappear to amp up the lesser songs.

The Achilles heel of this particular altered beast is the song writing. While the debut was universally solid and addicting, they’ve now struggled with song craft on back to back albums. Too few are keepers and the album lacks a cohesive identity. Making matters worse, the entire back half seems to drift off into the phantom zone, with no clear direction, almost like the band is having an identity crisis.

Sad as it is, it looks like we aren’t getting another Steel, and if the past two releases are a fair indication of what we can expect, I’m moving Battle Beast from buy to sell status. If you like your metal indecisive and all over the map, Unholy Savior may rock your pirate ship, but I demand higher quality cheese for my hard-earned cabbage.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7  |  Format Reviewed: 286 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU][NA]
Websites: battlebeast.fi  |  facebook.com/battlebeastofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2015.09.01  |  NA: 01.13.2015

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  • Well that’s a bummer. First review of 2015 is a 2.5: hooray for Angry Metal Guy dot Com!

    • New year, old churlishness.

    • Kryopsis

      It does seem like 2015 is going to be big for Metal, though. Let’s just hope that the big name releases won’t disappoint like last year’s At The Gates.

      • Kor-Avul-Thaa

        Waiting for the new Sigh album.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Stoked for this one. Fingers crossed that they continue their run of killer albums.

    • Grymm

      Just wait until you see my review for Ghoulgotha. :,(

      • But the production is so kvlt!

        • Grymm

          Oh, you have no idea.

          • Actually I do. I listened to like 2 minutes of it before shutting it off and laughing to myself. Glad you grabbed it, though.

          • Grymm

            I was going to give it a 1.0, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I scored it that high.

    • Somebody has to keep your “cheap bastard” street rep.

  • Lasse Momme

    Finnish power metal… just… eugh.

  • Ralph Plug

    Shame. First album was quite alright.

  • The gratuitous butt shots in that video were clearly made by a “professional.” Clearly.

    • Those were the best parts of the video!

      • Kryopsis

        These were the *only* parts of the video. The entire video is just gratuitous butt shots.

        • Battle Butt!

          • Grymm

            “My name is BUTTSHOT!!!”

            *didalee-DOOOOOOOO!!!*

        • The director fails to understand that what’s sexy about her is the wail, not the tail. *cough*

      • Alped

        Let the butt-ies hit the floor, let the butt-ies hit the floor, let the butt-ies it the FLOOORRRR!

    • Wow, OK. This video is totally fucking terrible. I’d be pissed if I was her.

      • Kryopsis

        Butt Metal, the genre’s answer to Cock Rock!

        • Funny is that when I was a kid “Butt Rock” and “Cock Rock” were interchangeable.

          • Jean-Luc Ricard

            My Danish buddies use “Buttock Metal” mainly for middle-of-the-road pap like, say, the majority of Udo’s solo career. Or Jorn.

          • That’s actually excellent. “Buttock metal,” indeed.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      A professional with an anaconda to appease, it seems.

  • Can I just say for the record that this is the best record I’ve in 2015? It’s godawful and amazing at the same time. It’s so cheese.

    • I will remember you said that when the Jorn review arrives.

      • It’s the only album I’ve heard in 2015.

        • Kryopsis

          Wasn’t Angra the first?

          • Only partially. Haven’t really listened to it all the way through. Bits and pieces here and there.

    • Alexandre Barata

      We’ll pray for Nuclear Blast to bomb us with more records of such fantasstic cheesiness

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Cheese Metal can be a lot of fun when it’s done well (Powerwolf, Death SS, Wolf — all these guys have put out great records in the last few years). However, the cover for Resurrection appears to give notice that Death SS are taking the ironic approach.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      Never listened to Powerwolf on record but live they were *incredibly* boring. May give them another chance though…

  • Corsetcore meets Buttcore, welcome to 2015!

  • Mikko Ojanen

    Weird, I’ve always found Steel to be the lame and toothless one. The self-titled is decidedly more “metal” to my ears, both song- and production wise.

    • I really am enjoying it. My comments here are a little tongue-in-cheek, but it was a pretty fun record as a general rule.

    • Scionyde

      For a second, I thought you were trying to say that Steel Druhm was the lame and toothless one.

      I became worried that he’d throw his cane at you. :S

        • Mikko Ojanen

          Sweet, those guys really showed that things break when hit with a solid stick! :)

          It’s a cool stick though, I admit.

      • Mikko Ojanen

        Hahah, no, Druhm can keep his cane in his pants.

        You raise an interesting point though… maybe Steel Druhm likes Steel the album because he thinks it’s family? :P

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    The musical equivalent of a poke in the eye

  • Feeblejocks

    I was actually rocking out to the ridiculous cheese of Madness (god, what an awful video), but now I’m listening to Touch In The Night, and goddammit, what happened to my metal?! if I wanted to listen to Europe rejects, I wouldn’t be listening to a power metal album!

  • Alexandre Barata

    Well, at least we’ll have the new Marilyn Manson album to compensate this… Sorry couldn’t keep my face straight!! buahahahahahah

  • Wilhelm

    they are gonna need even more T&A to keep me watching this crap.

  • Noobhammer

    It needs more cheese. I clamor for Rhapsody level cheese!

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    Battle Beast has gone downhill since singer Nitte Valo left. FYI, she is now with Burning Point and they are working on a new album.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    The budget for that video was 2 cases of Blatz, a box of Saltines, and a big block of Velveeta.

  • Our Fortress Is Burning

    Good lord, that video was terrible. Battle Beast are like a cross between Painkiller era Judas Priest and a giant block of stinky Stilton cheese, + keyboards. No offense to Judas Priest.

    I know this is a jaded statement, but this is one of those bands where you just have to look at the poser promo photos, and you can guess accurately what they will sound like.

  • Borja

    I´m really liking the album so far xD

  • SMP

    Can’t really understand how can anyone compare first Battle Beast album with the two with Noora on vocals. I mean, yes, there’s a lot of differences, but everything works in Noora era favour – songs are way better, some of them are true heavy metal classics that sticks in your brain for months… And as for Noora, she is, no doubt, the best female heavy metal singer these days. The only male singer that blew me away like that in the past was Daniel Heiman and Lost Horizon music in general.

    Battle Beast’ self titled album is one of the best heavy metal albums all time in general (especially when we all know how often bad and uninspired metal albums are these days), so calling it “disapointment” is completely ridiculous.

    As for the new album… Well, “Lionheart”, for example, sounds like a million times better then many bands entire discographies…

    My advice – go see Battle Beast live if you can (they are on tour with Delain and Sabaton) and open your heart and soul for the Noora’s unearthly screams and simply enjoy the top notch heavy metal. :)

  • Iyusu Arkhan

    I’m really sad that this band only receives such reviews. However I’m happy that the evergrowing statistics of sold albums show me a pretty huge fan base. I love this band personally and there is no song of them that I would not listen to from the start to the end without enjoying it, while singing the hell outta myself. Also I love the fact that almost every piece of their songs, only with a few exceptions, are references to either films, books or animes. Favorite band ever since their first appearance. :D