I'm starting to think that I should have moved to Finland...
...or somewhere in that general region back in 2006 when I found myself free of all things tying me down. I've recently discovered that the best music on the planet is coming from that region. The melodic progressive heavy metal. I love it, and if I had a 'dream band' scenario, It would be a 'prog metal' band. I would much rather be there in that region of the world with all that great music coming out, which is loved by the majority of the people, as opposed to the garbage forced down our throats in the US.There are quite a few bands that I've discovered, and I will be reviewing all of the ones I like over the next couple months. The first one I found was a VERY passionate, powerful and energetic band: Finland's Battle Beast, who had released their second album in 2013. A self titled album.
And, talk about timing. This album literally has just come available in the US, as of Feb 4th.
Founded in 2008, they are:
Noora Louhimo : Vocals
Anton Kabanen : Vocals, Guitar
Eero SipilÃ¤ : Bass
Janne BjÃ¶rkroth : Keyboard
Pyry Vikki : Drums
Juuso Soinio : Guitar
And, former singer, Nitte Valo
The first song I heard from them was Black Ninja, and I found it on YouTube. I was knocked off my feet by the piercing vocal talent of Noora Louhimo. I was telling a friend about this song, and he asked me who she sounded like. I told him that she is Rob Halford's daughter. Joking, of course. She doesn't sound like anyone, but her voice is definitely influenced by the Metal God, from her aggressive power used in some parts, to her piercing screams (or battle cry.) But she has another side of her voice as well. She can sing like a beautiful songbird. I liken it to a siren because of the fact that it lures you in with the calmness and seductive beauty, then once your guard is down, and you're relaxing, she lets out a battle cry, and your skull is bashed in with a war hammer of vocals, and some incredible music played by intensely talented musicians.
After listening to Black Ninja about 30 times, I downloaded the album on Amazon. I was expecting what is common place in albums, especially these days. A bunch of songs that don't measure up to the single I just heard, especially when there are 14 songs on the album. I was wrong! All the songs on the album are great. There's not one that I don't like. In fact, there are several that I liked as much or better than Black Ninja.
The band as a whole is extremely talented. The music's foundation is rooted in 80's metal influence, but that is where the comparison ends. Does a house consist of just a foundation? No. Its just the bottom that the rest is built on, and that is the case with Battle Beast. The guitar work in the songs on this album rival the best guitarists. In fact,if you are a fan of the 'twin axe attack,' you will be in a state of bliss when you hear the harmony guitar solos of Anton Kabanen and Juuso Soinio. And, the time signatures that come up in several of the songs show the genius of Pyry Vikki and Eero SipilÃ¤ who complete a rhythm section that has the power of legions of soldiers marching into battle. Keyboardist, Janne BjÃ¶rkroth is more than added rhythm. His keyboard playing adds a haunting presence to the music.
Literally, the album's first track sets the tone for what is coming on the rest of the album. It is called Let it Roar, and roar the band does. Often. There are no ballads on the album, and I wouldn't have it any other way. And, there are no bad or filler songs either. This is pure, driving progressive heavy metal, which is by far easily the most talented genre of heavy metal. And these Nordic bands have perfected it.
So, what do I recommend? Buy this album. Its available on Amazon on CD or MP3. Their first album, Steel is also available, on Amazon, but not for download. Their self titled album is also available on Google Play.