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Battle Beast – Steel

The phrase “heavy metal as it should be” is one of those throwaway expressions that seems to be pretty de rigeur at c’est moment du temps. Which beggars the question: just how should heavy metal be played? Except loud? And heavy.

Fortunately, this Finnish six piece have veered away from using said over-played descriptive and instead concentrated on producing a debut album packed to the gills with – well, how can we say this? Fuck it, let’s just spit it out: Battle Beast have produced 12 tracks that live up to their name – a beast of an album, ready to take the metal battle to the rest of the riff-fearing world, and packed to the gills with solid steel. In other words… yes… we’re going to say it… heavy metal as it should be!

Welcoming us right from off as we ‘Enter The Metal World’, this mob have everything; pounding drum and bass, raging riffs, soaring solos, stomping anthemic choruses – and that’s just in the first track! Right away the performance that hits you right between the eyes is vocalist Nitte Valo – a woman possessed with one helluva set of lungs (if you’ll forgive the double entendre), the likes of which we haven’t heard since Doro and Anne Boleyn (no, not the one beheaded way back when, the drop dead gorgeous one from LA!) gave teenage metalheads their first legal boner, while at the same time drawing more than worthy comparisons with the likes of Biff Byford or Udo Dirkschneider, such as one the extremely Accept-ish ‘Armageddon Clan’, the gloriously inane and breakneck ‘Justice And Metal’ or the soaring ‘Show Me How To Die’.

Of course, a singer is nothing (well, almost) without a good backing band and material, and this case Valo is blessed with both. The rhythm section of Pyry Vikki and Eero Sipilä are as tight as fuck, and the twin guitar attack of Anton Kabanen and Juuso Soinio (the PM spellchecker is loving this mob!) are as effective as you would want them to be, producing some hugely monstrous riffs and equally stunning intertwining solo work, while Janne Björkroth adds some nice keyboard touches which give just the right amount of pomposity to the likes of ‘The Band Of The Hawk’ and ‘Show Me How To Die’.

It’s hard to pick any genuinely below par moments on this highly, impressive, mature first outing, as it displays a consistency and values all too sadly lacking in many more experienced outfits.

A well-deserved 9 / 10.

• ‘Steel’ is out now on Nuclear Blast

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff
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