Battle Beast - No More Hollywood Endings

Battle Beast No More Hollywood Endings cover
Battle Beast
No More Hollywood Endings
Nuclear Blast
Oh boy… while I had my qualms about a lot of Battle Beast’s earlier output, I always thought Noora Louhimo’s addition was a big asset for the band, replacing a less appealing and more banal Nitte Valo, who sung on the band’s debut.
The band toured relentlessly through their next two and strongest albums, but when they replaced their primary composer and lead guitarist, Anton Kabanen, it was evident that there was trouble in paradise. Granted I didn’t like his raspy vocal attempts during the songs, but that’s another thing altogether and they did seem to get less frequent too. His exit prompted him to create Beast in Black, while Battle Beast soldiered on for an album without him that seemingly did well, probably on the strength of the releases that preceded it. The band continued touring replacing Kabanen with Joona Björkroth, the brother of Janne (keys), who was made permanent after a couple of years.
“No More Hollywood Endings”, the band’s fifth release, is the first album that really showcases the strengths and reveals the shortcomings of the “other Beast” in Nuclear Blast’s dungeons.
While Kabanen and his merry men seem to be drunk on an 80s disco frenzy that they mix with halfordesque screams and screaming guitars, Battle Beast reveal a more pop oriented style, wich tries to fit their canon, but manages only to do so, solely on the vocal prowess of miss Louhimo.
The riffs still exist, but they’re not characteristic as before, with the band relying more on keys, vocal melodies and grooves to leave their mark, which makes for a sound that is more reminiscent of their debut but also considerably more neutered.
“Unbroken” is a rather underwhelming opener with verses that fail to engage the listener, saved by a chorus that is more impressive in execution rather than content. The solo ain’t bad, but has nothing on Kabanen and the whole symphonic pretensions the song has, are just that as it fails to make strong use of those elements.
“No More Hollywood Endings” attempts to be the more sophisticated cousin of “Touch in the Night” with mixed results; I mean it does stick after a few listens, primarily due to its infectious melody and the exemplary singing of Louhimo, who pretty much has managed in my mind to become the heiress to the crown of one Dorothea Pesch.
“Eden” is a fairly decent tune, garnished with lots of ah’s and orchestral hits, with verses and chorus blurred into a unison.
“Unfairy Tales” begins with some bizarre huffing and puffing and surely borrows heavily from everything you could think of ie Pink’s “You and Your Hand”, a couple of Italodisco classics and so on, but at least does offer some cohesion in the end result.
On the other hand, “Endless Summer” is rather uninspired hard rock with FM radio aspirations, the AOR stuff that Frontiers loves churning out in heaps. It’s not terrible, but neither is it great and I could have done without the campy video that more than anything reminded me of Costa Cordalis’ epic seashore, escapades.
“The Hero” is an original that mimic the same style of Jim Steinman and obviously Loohimo sounds like a turbocharged Bonnie Tyler, so somehow it would have made more sense to me if they did a cover of “Holding out for a Hero”, instead of this. It ain’t bad and I even liked the soloing here, but...
Piece of Me” is a piece of derivative attitude rocker, with crazy dynamics and very prominent vocals. It works up to a point, but doesn’t really sound too original.
“I Wish” is an anachronistic ballad with tons of banal clichés, sung amazingly, but suffering from the same issue that plagues much of the album ie, form over substance.
“Raise Your Fists” probably is as presumptuous as anything that Hammerfall have ever released, but even a little campier and if it weren’t for the pretty commanding vocals, I’d have a nerdgasm if I were a nerd, but otherwise I’d be laughing my ass off, while rolling around in baby oil. Sufficient to say is that this gives some of the latest Doro and Manowar a run for its money.
“The Golden Horde” is the closest thing that I could think to “metal”; all guns blazing, double bass and screaming vocals and easily the best moment of the album, even if it feels vastly different to most of it and it has the second solo I could give a damn about.
“World on Fire” tries to cover all bases and at the same time experiment with some almost Nightwish like ideas, possibly trying to find a sound the band could embrace going forwards without repeating themselves. It’s promising enough, but it doesn’t clearly subscribe to any specific genre, thus being a little confusing, over to what roads the band might be following in the future.
The digi and LP feature a further two bonus tracks, “Bent and Broken”, a so-so ballad, with some pretty incredible vocals and “My Last Dream”, a pretty straight forward rocker that actually mashes up a ton of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Mod influences (ie The Who) even pilfering riffs etc., trying to produce something that’s listenable, but only just.
Well, while Battle Beast (with the dual B on the cover looking more like a gigantic Xmas tree, than anything else) sounds on auto-pilot, at least on this album, is a little clearer about its priorities. I am pretty sure that the band could continue on the strength of its past glories, but since they sound progressively weaker and lighter, they’d need to pull all stops in the near future to avoid being relegated to the annals of cosplay/nerd metal. If this was released on some much smaller company these guys and gal would be touring in support of some cheddar-shredding codpiece lotharios like Glory-hole-hammer or Dragonfarce. Well history of a time to come, bitchaz…