For those that need some back history to this Finnish band, it was formed by Anton Kabanen when he left Battle Beast in 2015 and on the back of that brought in a raft of talent that resulted in the exceptional debut album “Berserker” in 2017. Anton is an enormous creative force, you only have to hear his contributions to Battle Beast to know that, and his ability to write overtly catchy metal songs is boundless as this sophomore capitalises on the momentum garnered by the debut along with a run of tours supporting big names plus headlining gigs and the odd festival appearance the world is ready for the Beast to lay waste to the world.
In another era much of this album would have been labelled as rock as at its fervently beating beat is energised riffing, scorching melodies and anthemically driven choruses that will fire up your adrenalin to stratospheric proportions. Practically every song on this album could be a proverbial ‘hit single’ though “Sweet True Lies” has been given the honourable duty which I will get to as the album smoothly breezes into life with “Cry Out For A Hero”, the synth start gives way to a gas fuelled riff and vocals that fill your room with their saccharine delight without being too sugary to the point of sickliness. They have an edge like Accept have in their songs, a touch of grit in the throat that enable them to soar majestically as the songs chorus wafts over you wonderfully. Like the previous album the synth histrionics are ever present and whilst not quite the dance oriented tune like “Crazy, Mad, Insane” was on the debut that tendency is there as the title track delves wholly into 80s metal worship, in a good way I might add. The rousing chorus will have you singing I guarantee it and if it doesn’t, you’re a soulless ghoul, as the electronic drum fills are prime 80s that lead into the solo fret burning that will have you air guitaring if you still do that; I do.
That single, “Sweet True Lies”, I mentioned is next and that syrupy sweetness rears its head completely here and is very reminiscent of early Bon Jovi initially and even if you hate that conviviality of metal around that time this album has an assured metallic spirit that is brought about by its guitar work even if the chorus screams 80s hair rock. “Repentless” changes things slightly by increasing the power slightly, injecting double kick and morphing the vocal tone down as you’ll detect a Sabaton essence here. I will need to mention “Oceandeep” only because I don’t like it, I never have liked ballad like songs, but this one is beautifully done, the sentimental vocals aren’t my thing but are flawlessly sang with a backing choral display that leads the song into a folk like aura that eventually transcends into the archetypal stadium power ballad rocker with lighters held aloft but alas it’s not my thing but I appreciate it’s inclusion as “Unlimited Sin” returns us to fist pumping with rousing keyboard melody. Quite how Anton and his brethren manage to write such a cornucopia of catchy songs is unbelievable really as this one stamps hard with its beat using the keyboards predominantly.
“This Is War” offers a heavier side again with a chunkier riff delivery and is likely to be in the live set mainly because of the easy chorus shout of the title, you can easily picture the crowd with fists in the air chanting and fist pumping in unison as the song leads into some hero worship with “Heart Of Steel” and a chorus that will pluck your heart strings and leaves only “No Surrender” to completely capture you and leave you in no doubt that this beast has indeed clawed at you, scarred you with its scintillating melodies, soaring choruses, pristine vocals and most of all an exhilarating listen.
(9/10 Martin Harris)