On their 2011 debut Steel, Finnish sextet Battle Beast roared onto metal’s hoary tundra with a ferocious power metal assault packed with storming riffage, seismic hooks and the otherworldly vocals of frontwoman Nitte Valo. Any concerns that the Finns might fall victim to the dreaded sophomore jinx were fortified by Valo’s 2012 departure, but on their second outing, Battle Beast don’t allay such concerns so much as they grind them into cosmic dust and blow them into the stratosphere.
With a tightly focused assault of hooks, blinding fretwork and enough fist-pumping choruses to wear out both shoulders, Battle Beast is a riotous celebration of 80s metal that owes as much to Grim Reaper’s See You In Hell as to the moody synths of Turbo-era Priest.
Awash in themes of galactic battles and heroic quests, Raven, Rain Man and Fight Kill Die deliver the biggest payoffs, with double-kicking maelstroms and steroidal riffage powering the chest-beating vocals of new frontwoman Noora Louhimo. While the tracks fly over the top, Battle Beast proves that sometimes ‘faster, louder, harder’ is the only strategy needed.