Live at The City National Grove
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Finland's Battle Beast return to North America almost one year to the date from their previous tour, and it could not be soon enough. First-up on an amazing triple lineup including Delain and Kamelot, they kicked off what would be a fantastic night of metal music.
Fronted by powerhouse singer, Noora Louhimo, they represent anthemic power metal at its strongest. Janne Björkroth lays down a symphonic layer of keyboards with Juuso Soinio and Joona Björkroth building up the driving guitars that make up their signature sound.
The heavy end and perucussion are handled by Eero Sipilä on bass guitar and Pyry Vikki on drums respectably. All the gentlemen add their voices for the backing vocals, which creates a male choral effect for extra gravitas and power... the definition of power metal.
They kicked off the set with "Straight to the Heart", which gets straight to the point. Aggression meets melody in full impact and lays down the essance of their agenda: the juxtaposition of fortitude, passion, and compassion - often with a tragic circumstance and a heavy-duty execution.
They followed up with the title track from their latest album, "Bringer of Pain" and had the audience enthralled. They moved to one of their more tragic songs with "Familiar Hell" before moving from their latest album to their self-titled debut for "Black Ninja". This is definitely one of their more cheesy efforts but is still a lot of fun.
Moving from fun to extremely serious, they played one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Lost in Wars". It really takes a cosmic microscope to humanity's plight in the universe: we are our own worst enemy. This song really borders on goth metal with its intensity and I love it.
Playing the only song from their sophomore effort, "Unholy Savior", they gave us "Touch in the Night". This song sets up a fantasy tale that would be right at home in Game of Thrones. I really love this album and wish they had more time to delve into additional songs from it like "I Want the World... and Everything In It", "Speed and Danger", and especially the title track.
Moving back to "Bringer of Pain" they did "Bastard Son of Odin" which is pretty much a straight up biker anthem but could be about a Viking enclave as well, which is personally what I like to imagine when I listen to it.
They played the single from the latest album, "King for a Day" which depicts the global corruption of government and the callousness with which the powerful go against the good of the people they are meant to protect and benefit. A timely song to say the least and reflective of at least a handful of the world's current leaders.
Closing out the amazing set they did another serious and moving song to leave the audience with: "Beyond the Burning Skies". This song is beautiful and melancholy while still being powerful and uplifting in a way that Finnish artists really seem to have perfected.
I really love Battle Beast and it was great to get to see them play live two years in a row. It was an awesome night overall with so many great bands taking the stage. I can't wait for Battle Beast to come again, and hopefully as a headliner so we can hear "Unholy Savior"!
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