Since leaving Battle Beast in rather acrimonious circumstances in 2015, Beast In Black guitarist and songwriter Anton Kabanen has done everything possible to challenge his former, more established bandmates, and with 2017s debut album Berserker (Nuclear Blast), he succeeded in no uncertain terms. With the two acts releasing stellar albums within a few months of each other, it would appear that Helsinki is definitely big enough for both bands, and that any bad blood that may remain between them is at least being channeled competitively into something creative and positive.
Having undergone a tweak in personnel back in February, Atte Palokangas of fellow Finns Thunderstone takes over behind the drum-kit for second full-length release From Hell With Love (Nuclear Blast), an album which sees the Finnish cheese merchants remaining firmly in gloriously full tilt Euro Power Metal territory.
Opening with ‘Cry Out For a Hero’, the album begins with a guitar melody which bears more than a passing resemblance to Hans Zimmer‘s love theme from the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie before turning into a stompy powerhouse with the first of many enormous choruses. ‘From Hell With Love’ follows with a poppy euro-Dance intro and blasting guitars, eighties synths and electronic drums, a suitably widdly guitar solo, and one huge, joyous chorus.
Lightweight, bouncy as hell, and ridiculously catchy, if Finland ever needed another Metal representative for Eurovision then the exuberant euphoria of ‘Sweet True Lies’ would be a perfect candidate. The first of two Slayer-inspired titles, ‘Repentless’ is pure and unadulterated Nightwish worship (right down to blatantly lifting the melody to ‘Shudder Before the Beautiful’ for the middle section), while ‘Die By the Blade’ owes more to ‘Borderline’ by Madonna than the Californian Thrash legends.
The extremely Nightwish-y ballad ‘Oceandeep’ follows, with the occasionally feminine sounding vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos sounding like the offspring of Tarja Turunen and Klaus Meine during its first, quieter half. ‘Unlimited Sin’ boasts another jubilant chorus which will have you singing along with Yannis as he belts out “unlimited power!” like The Emperor in Revenge of the Sith, but backed by a fountain of effervescent eighties keyboards. Not letting up for a single moment, ‘True Believer’ sounds like a David Hasselhoff song lifted from the soundtrack of some long forgotten low-budget sci-fi movie (which is absolutely a good thing by the way).
‘This Is War’ and ‘Heart Of Steel’ see the band getting their Manowar on, and closer ‘No Surrender’ sounds like the theme song to an eighties martial arts film. Close your eyes and you can virtually see a shirtless Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking people in the face in slow-motion and doing the splits for absolutely no reason at all.
Rammed to the rafters with comfortably familiar melodies, contagiously uplifting choruses, and bouncy, boisterous keyboards, From Hell With Love is already pretty much guaranteed to be one of the most deliriously happy Power Metal albums you’ll hear this year. Just smile and say cheese.
8 / 10