I love Battle Beast, their albums, live shows, attitude and all round approach to writing catchy heavy metal songs but I definitely struggled to engage with this fifth album. There is absolutely nothing wrong or weird about the album, every song is a catchy anthem waiting to be played live to their ever growing masses of fans in the world but I felt that at times the record is treading water, with too many of the songs sounding similar with little variation compared to the bands previous albums. With that context laid out, the album opens with “Unbroken” a mid-tempo track that I reckon the band could write in their sleep if they wanted to. The catchy chorus is there, along with symphonic backing and choral vocals which marks an addition to their template and generally their introduction is decent enough but are they actually needed when you have such a powerful voice by Noora their enigmatic front woman.
As ever there is a huge 80s aura to the songs which continues with the title track, as string arrangements filter in at first before a stomp like beat ensues. The song has a sinister edge to it, created by the riffing and vocals where Noora has a mournful tone partly. Granted the song is charismatic through these adornments, having a flair for the melodramatic and theatrical that fans I’m sure will revel in, but personally I found it labouring as I stated earlier. “Eden” is more typical of the band by notching up the pace, enriched by symphonics and choral vocals the song is a pumping anthem with a trademark catchy chorus.
“Unfairy Tales” is very different, with a moodier approach and synth driven structure as you can detect an AOR flavour too though the chorus is supremely catchy. “The Hero” has a synth drive too on its opening complete with synth drum fills as the song erupts into life and here those preferring the upbeat material of the band will thoroughly enjoy it, as Noora’s vocals are soaring and pristine. The heavier “Piece Of Me” is bolstered by muscular drum work, punctuated with double bass rhythms making the song a stand out and hopefully a live set inclusion. “I Wish” is dramatically introduced with string like arrangements that leads into an emotive melody creating a film score like posture that continues into “Raise Your Fists”, a longer track relatively for the band the song’s escalating build up is lengthy but well balanced before the song unfurls its metal credentials. Again the power is here, with a dense backdrop produced by the drumming as the song has an anthemic touch.
Like previous albums this one also has a dance like beginning piece that starts “The Golden Horde” before the track charges headlong into power metal territory with pounding intermittent double kick infusions. The vocals soar stratospherically continually as the song is the fastest on the album something I will never complain about. I am sure as you read this review you’re thinking the guy can’t make his mind up, saying some songs are excellent and others passed him by and indeed you’d be right, I still can’t decide whether I personally like it as a whole opus but for all Battle Beast warriors out there you will either think it’s the best album they’ve done or be like me, individual songs stand out but overall I wasn’t too excited about it in the end but I’ll still buy it as it’s a decent metal record.
(7.5/10 Martin Harris)