Battle Beast
Circus Of Doom

As I’ve stated many times before in these very pages, I’m very picky about my heavy/power metal. It’s not a genre I generally really enjoy or get into, but I’ve certainly come to appreciate the likes of Blind Guardian, WindRose, Dragony, Fairyland, Thy Majestie, Grail Knights, Pathfinder, Twilight Force,  and the 23 Rhapsody related bands, and If you can’t tell, I certainly have a ‘type’, preferring big, cheesy, keyboard filled high fantasy bombast.

Two other such bands I’ve also recently started to enjoy in the last couple of years are Battle Beast and Beast in Black, two Finnish bands inherently connected by guitarist/keyboardist Anton Kabanen, who acrimoniously left the former to form the latter, and seem to release albums pretty close to each other (Beast in Black released their third album, Dark Connection in late 2021, but more on that later).

I rather enjoyed Battle Beast‘s last effort No More Hollywood Endings, in part due to powerhouse vocalist Noora Louhimo, who has an amazing set of pipes (I’m REALLY looking forward to hearing her and Seven Spires‘ Adrienne Cowan live and in-person alter this spring). And While Battle Beast has been the ‘least’ cheesy of the two rival bands, relying on more of a Priest/Manowar heavy metal prose and delivery compared to Beast In Black‘s almost pop-metal/anime metal pep, that gap looks to be closed a bit.

Battle Beast has never shied away from synths and epic choral arrangements, but they seem a little more present here, with almost Therion-like pomp, bolstered by a bigger, heavier, more bombastic, hefty production (both provided by keyboardist Janne Björkroth). And while No More Hollywood Endings had a few more standard rock/ Heart-ish, radio-ready standard numbers, Circus of Doom, feels more orchestral, symphonic, epic, and rousing throughout. And for me, that’s a good thing.

The typically darky, circus-y title track, opens things up (with what I think is a trumpeting blast that Therion has actually used?) with a stern mid-paced stomp and dramatic chorus, that immediately highlights the seemingly larger choral/orchestral elements that remain for the next 9 mostly high octane songs. All of which deliver high energy, pounding, catchy metal that the band is known for. In particular, the more high-energy tracks like “Wings of Light”, “Eye of The Storm”,  the utterly guilty pleasure-laden, pop-metal romp of personal favorite “Russian Roulette”, Manowar-ish gallop and lyrics of  “Freedom”,  triumphantly uplifting “Armageddon” and ‘goddamn it, I’m singing along!’, crowd-pleasing closer, “The Place We Call Home”. Even steady, mid-paced stompers like “Master of Illusion” “Eye of the Storm” and particularly enjoyable “Where Angels Fear to Fly’ have that fist-pumping, montage metal, rousing factor that’s hard not to enjoy.

The fact I’m reviewing this and never got around to reviewing Beast in Black‘s Dark Connection, tells you which album I prefer. Dark Connection wasn’t bad, but its sci-fi concept missed the mark despite some decent songs (same can be said for Orden Ogan‘s 2021 album). Circus of Doom, is consistently better from start to finish and doesn’t have a weak song. Even with two ‘bonus’ tracks, on the 2cd edition of the album,”The Lightbringer” and killer “Tempest of Blades” (another Manowar sounding fist-pumper), which are usually throwaway numbers but are not here, and the most commercial number “Road to Avalon” being a bit too radio-friendly for me, Circus of Doom is arguably the band’s best album, if not, certainly their most catchy and epic one.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 31st, 2022


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