Battle Beast - Unholy Savior

Battle Beast Unholy Savior cover
Battle Beast
Unholy Savior
Nuclear Blast
Let’s see... I hated the first Battle Beast album and their original singer, considering it, both a trite, boring album and her (Nitte Vänskä) a subpar singer with no presence. When the band released their second album, I was quite blown away, since she was both gone and replaced by the far more talented and presentable Noora Louhimo but they also had managed to write a bunch of pretty good songs… resulting in a pretty incredulous second album… now the return a couple of years later and they seem to be a little misguided or for lack of a better word, maybe taking some reviews to heart and taking very extreme approaches in order to change their style, resulting in possibly some quite bizarre results…
Take for instance songs like the pompy, poppy, not too bad, but guitar wise, thin sounding and kinda “Cheerleader metal” of opener Lionheart”. Not exactly, striking the right balance, while the solos you hear are capable, it’s more like those ridiculous histrionics in the “MMPR” (Power Rangers Theme).
Unholy Savior” seems to fix, things up a bit, still too utilizing a very fairytale-esque intro and Louhimo, singing in a sort of thin, soft voice over it, which doesn’t sound too great – feels like a mocking voice – a woman – imitating a man’s falsetto, before she switches to a fuller delivery for the rest of the song, which is far smother.
I Want the World… and Everything in It” unfortunately, awakens flashbacks from the debut album, songwriting wise, it harkens to the rather weak debut and the male singer, that the band sometimes utilizes, that sounds like a nasal, turbo charged Udo on acid and is one thing that I kinda hated on the sophomore album, makes an unwelcome reappearance on the somewhat otherwise, nice chorus, kinda ruining it.
Madness” is the first proper “video” the band released and it’s a fairly indicative track of the band’s style with Noora... but it turns all the way to 11. They seem to have improved most of the issues that plagued their previous album in terms of sounding amateurish, but now they seem a little too “much”… I feel like I’m hearing Battle Beast attempting to be Sabaton in a way (too much and slightly unnecessary bombast and NL, trying harder than she really has to, to convince... the video itself, was so ridiculously over the top, that I found it very cringe worthy… ridiculous hairdos and corsets that looked bad and girls swishing their arses around?! Cheap and not entirely nasty, to mis-quote the good ole Cov… I dunno, without being a bad song, it’s not exactly the band’s or the album’s peak for me. (In retrospect, it’s the catchiest thing so far, but that’s not saying much.)
Sea of Dreams” is a nice enough ballad, but it’s way too simple to blow your mind and while, the vocal performance is also very nice, both in the softer part and when there’s a certain crescendo reached over a solo towards the end, but again, it’s not a song for the ages, like some classic ballads have managed to become, edging themselves in our psyches. One of the better moments of the album nonetheless.
Speed and Danger” is a typical, double bass rocker, with my favorite, “scream guy” (Anton Kabanen I presume  One of the guitarists?) giving it another unfortunate go. Typical, not too good, or too bad either and thankfully Anton’s vocal infusion remains minimal!
Touch in the Night” was the first song to be released from the album as a lyric video… and it was “strange”... to say the least. A super soft, disco/pop song, that’s very reminiscent of Samantha Fox’s power pop, moments, it sort of establishes, a new genre that it alone seems to also populate “SAM FOX metal”, silly! And do we love Sam?! Of Fu#$ing course! It ain’t too bad, but it’s derivative and way too “disco”! In the context of the album it’s a good “break” but… still... it makes you cringe a bit, it could have had bigger drums and more guitars and it wouldn’t have been this embarrassing – so I tend to believe it was done on purpose. Actually, compared to the rest of the tracks it’s #%$%@ great! (But I would have also released a full metal version with more drums and bass)
The Black Swordsman” seems to be a short semi-spoken intro to the “Hero’s Quest”…?! Dunno if BB, were big Sierra’s fans, or whatnot, but this really frilly instrumental with only a couple of “Heys” while, quite nice, sounds a little out of place. A nice piece of music, but it feels either like an unfinished song or something “completely different”…
Far Far Away” is from a performance standpoint good. But it’s one of those – in the glory / for the glory of metal, corny songs, that lyrically makes you wish it was an instrumental or the singer was addling, instead of singing… yeah... again this invokes the ghosts of BB’s debut for me, which I consider to be cornier than Korn!
Angel Cry” is another ballad, with loads of strings and here it sort of all comes together rather nicely... a pretty majestic piece that works beautifully and when it climaxes it leaves you gasping for air. Very well done!
There’s also another song – billed as a bonus – “Push it to the Limit” that’s some of you might recall from The Scarface OST, originally by Paul Engemann, which is done justice and sounds better than several of the songs of the album, I’m afraid to say.
While, I totally, love the voice of NL and I see in her somewhat of a heiress to Doro’s throne (and with almost no accent at all) and I consider the band quite capable for greatness, the songwriting and overall direction of this album seems to be quite misguided. Third time’s not the charm and it’s mainly because of the band not being focused enough. I think they’ll come into focus though, being into a big company and all, they have the time needed to do it.