Battle Beast

SKU: 3037-2
Label:
Nuclear Blast
Category:
Power Metal
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"It's not every day I get my hands on such an amazing slab of Power Metal goodness. So when that happens, the albums tends to make a special impact, and what an impact the band's second album makes, and almost instantly (more on that later). This is my first exposure from this band, and I will revisit their debut soon. From what I understand, this album features new female singer Noora Louhimo, in replacement of the Nitte Vänskä.

The album starts with the best song on the album, and after 10-15 seconds you know from the guitar melody, that you will love this album, even before Noora starts singing. While the bombastic guitar powered intro to this song is ultra catchy its also recognizable, I couldn't say exactly if it reminds me of Sonata Arctica or Thunderstone, but I get the feeling I know these notes from another band, nevertheless after the intro the song starts rather calmly to arrive to the mind-blowing chorus, and the song name Let It Roar, makes perfect sense as Noora truly ROARS that chorus like a lion, in a voice that reminds me of AC/DC, U.D.O. (or Accept when Udo was still the front man) and W.A.S.P. all at once ! The screams/roars are executed to perfection (to tell you the truth on this song they are the best I've ever heard, period !) and still send shivers down my spine even if I must have listened to this song at least 100 times by now. Upon my first listen I wondered how the band could do ANYTHING after that song that would make any sort of impact. Sure Let it Roar is the best song of the album, heck it's the best song of 2013 so far, and an instant entry into my (virtual) list of all-times best song. But the thing is the album is full of surprises and even if no other song tops it, they are all of such high quality, masterfully crafted Power Metal with powerful riffing, great soloing, and absolutely amazing vocals that my initial fear quickly vanished in the course of my first listen.

The production is crystal clear, powerful and definitely on par with the best of them. Vocals need to be underlined, the range of voices and abilities Noora brings to the table makes it that no other song feels the same, and there is little repetition throughout. One could say Battle Beast suffers the same formulaic similarities with bands like Powerwolf or Sabaton, but I find they are actually more able to tackle a wider variety of songs, even one that seems simple at first, then grows over time (and repeats), with a variety and mastery at every level (vocals, guitars, keys & rhythm section) that the album feels near perfect.

My favorite songs, if I must choose (as it's not that easy), would be Let it Roar, Out of Control, Neuromancer (reminds me of Nightwish), Raven, Machine Revolution, Kingdom, Black Ninja & Rain Man. But it's important to note that the entire album is extremely solid, and never do I feel the need to hit the next button. Even the little instrumental track Golden Age is a great little interlude to calm things down in the middle of the album, only to take back things where they were left off... The bonus track Shutdown is also a great song, maybe not as good as those mentioned as my favorites, but better than some others on the album.

I cannot underline how strong this power metal album (and band) is, there's no question in my mind that this will be on my surprise of the year list, and baring another bigger surprise, I see it on the top spot. The passion with which the bands plays and mixes all styles of heavy and power metal alike makes it a great all-rounded, highly addictive and catchy as well as perfectly finished (up to the excellent artwork) product ! If you like bands like Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Sabaton or Powerwolf but also the Heavy metal classics like AC/DC & Accept, then you have to listen to Battle Beast (immediately I must add) : power metal at its best ! My favorite album this year (with Pretty Maids & Stratovarius) and a band which career I will definitely keep a close eye on. If Power Metal is your game, then Battle Beast is the name, period!" - Metal Reviews

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    $6.00
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  • "A new stunning 2CD Live audio release from the reigning kings of Progressive Rock. Featuring special guest Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, Mr Mister) Recorded at De Boerderij in Holland 2007 Roine Stolt, Tomas Bodin, Pat Mastelotto, Jonas Reingold, Hasse Fröberg."Live in The Netherlands 2007 Disc 1: 83 minutes Disc 2: 64 minutes Total Running Time 143 minutesDigipak and 20-pages bookletSetlist:1. Love is the only answer2. There is more to this world3. Retropolis4. Trading my soul5. Hudson river sirens call6. I am the sun7. Life in motion8. Brimstone flight 9999. Babylon10. Stardust we are11. What if god was alone12. Blade of Cain13. Sum of no reason
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  • "Danish rockers Volbeat have always been extremely popular in their home country, and with each album they’ve gained more momentum and fans. However, 2010‘s ‘Beyond Hell/Above Heaven’ was their true breakthrough in North America, spawning hit singles such as ‘Heaven nor Hell’ and ‘A Warrior’s Call,’ which both topped the Billboard Active Rock chart.For Volbeat’s follow-up disc, Rob Caggiano was brought aboard to produce ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies.’ The collaboration went so well that Caggiano ended up joining Volbeat as their permanent lead guitarist shortly after exiting Anthrax.Anticipation has been high for ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies,’ and Volbeat deliver. Their sound has always drawn on many different influences, from classic rock to punk to metal to rockabilly. Those influences and more are evident on this album, perhaps their most diverse to-date.After the acoustic western-tinged intro “Let’s Shake Some Dust,” the album kicks off with the ultra-catchy ‘Pearl Hart.’ The rock charts are packed with sound-alike bands that are good, but lack a unique identity. That’s not a problem with Volbeat. In addition to their diverse influences, singer Michael Poulsen’s voice is very distinctive.Volbeat have the ability to morph from accessible rock to heavy but melodic metal like ‘Dead But Rising’ without missing a beat. They may not be ‘metal enough’ for some fans that like their music more extreme, but they bring aboard a guest singer who is undeniably metal. The legendary King Diamond lends his world-class pipes to ‘Room 24.’The song has heavy riffs, creepy female backing vocals and plenty of vocal acrobatics from King Diamond. Poulsen’s melodic singing contrasts nicely with Diamond’s falsetto. King isn’t the only guest on the album. Sarah Blackwood from the Canadian band Walk off the Earth duets with Poulsen on ‘Lonesome Rider,’ which has some steel guitar and a rockabilly vibe.There’s a cover song on the album as well. Volbeat does ‘My Body,’ originally recorded by Young the Giant on their 2010 self-titled album. The track did well on both the Alternative and Rock charts, and many will recognize it.‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies’ has something for fans of numerous genres. It includes a Western theme with a little twang, lots of radio-friendly cuts, harder edged tracks, the aforementioned guest vocalists and a lot of variety. It’s an impressive effort that’s both credible and commercial." - Loudwire
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  • Domestic jewel box version includes the bonus track "I Wish I Could"."At the very least, THRESHOLD may well be the UK's answer to DREAM THEATRE; progging on since 1988, 2014 sees a follow-up to 2012's "March of Progress", titled "For the Journey". Their brand of Prog Metal (let's face it, every band does it differently) involves less of a focus on instrumental technical showy-offy-ness, and emphasizes the heaviness of individual riffs, and the soaring atmospherics and ambience."Watchtower on the Moon" is teetering on the edge between classic prog motifs, and spacey, futuristic, sci-fi permutations. Upbeat, with a (largely) followable jive, a strong, groovy riff carries the first half of the track, slightly downplayed to best put the vocals out there, and what stellar vocals they are. The blend of delivery of catchy hooks, power and diction, that programs the 'Prog' name with unadulterated listenability. Interestingly enough, as the song evolves, instrumentals are brought to the forefront, and the fabrics of time signatures are toyed with, allowing melodic interplay between guitar and keyboard to flourish. "Turned to Dust" is quite the heavy piece, if not the heaviest on the album; the riffs punch through with a percussive power belied by the flamboyant melody arrangements, and also happens to contain my favorite chorus on the album."Autumn Red" is a smooth, liquid display Prog excellence, the chisel struck by the juxtaposingly heavy riffs; the "keyboards from the 70s' used to great effect, perhaps raking up nostalgia in the PINK FLOYD fans among us. Lyric enthusiasts among us will be drawn to this track; as I perhaps didn't emphasize enough, Damian is the man for the job, delivering poetry into a new artform; pure, melodic diction that embosses the expansive tapestry set by the band. "Siren Sky" is easily my favorite piece; perhaps one of the more "metal" track on the album. The first instance of riffage surged forth tall waves of pure 'epic'. Never a dull moment on this track, the riffs prepared on the piece are emotive like no other on the album; I'm legitimately without words.Easily in my top 3 of this year's Progressive releases, it is no wonder that veterans of the genre are behind this mastery." - Metal Temple
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  • "From the very sound of their name - a name shared by their 2009 debut - Halestorm sounds like a generic active rock band of the 2000s, and to a certain extent that's true: the band does specialize in strident power chord rock not too dissimilar from what their former tourmates Shinedown, Avenged Sevenfold, and Trapt sound like. What sets Halestorm apart from their pack is lead singer Lzzy Hale, the rare female in this testosterone-obsessed sound. Unlike Evanescence's Amy Lee, there isn't a shred of brooding gothic romanticism to Hale: she's a straight-out rock chick, the farthest thing from an angel, a tough girl who gets off on the fact that you're getting off on her. The mere fact that she flips mook-rock on its head is enough to give Halestorm an identity in a genre ruled by anonymity, but they also stand apart from the pack because they've studied not only the scale of classic arena rock but also its hooks, another area that's typically neglected by the male-fronted aggro-rockers. Of course, having Lzzy as their frontwoman does allow Halestorm to sneak in some flair, such as the Queeny pre-chorus of "Love/Hate Heartbreak," and it also allows them to flirt with genuine crossover power ballads like "Bet U Wish U Had Me Back," which sounds a bit like a louder, angry Kelly Clarkson. This gives them more variety than almost every other band of their ilk, but it's the combination of the group's pop skills and Lzzy Hale's charisma that makes Halestorm a bit of a pleasure, albeit somewhat of a guilty persuasion for some." - Allmusic Guide
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  • "What are we going to do with Angra? I don't really enjoy their early material that much – sure it's very well written, and technically sound at that, but it has not yet engaged me and the vocals of then-frontman Matos rub me the wrong way. Temple of Shadows was good but held back by a lot of things that made it hard to listen to all the way through – for instance, it was fruity as hell, and overloaded with too many ideas. Aurora Consurgens fixed those problems and delivered a great album of modernized power metal. But I still thought they could do better...and hence, Aqua.This album is just really awesome. It's proggy and dense – much more so than anything else they've ever done. This is not the kind of album that you would expect after hearing Temple of Shadows alone, and for that I think this is getting a lot of unwarranted bad press from the metal community. In reality this is the sound they seem to have been shooting for all along. Where on Temple they just tossed random elements into a melting pot and hoped it came out with some good hooks – succeeding only half the time – on Aqua, they condense their rumbling guitars, folksy melodies and epic vocal lines into full-throttle progressive metal without any apologies.The restraint on this album is just maddening, as when you think the song might explode into a high-flying chorus or screaming climax...it doesn't. And that's what's so good about it – they've managed to construct a bunch of tunes that never go for the obvious hook, rather choosing to try for a new twist – most of the time it works really well. Edu Falaschi's vocals are reigned in to a deeper, darker intonation than he's ever had, and his vocal melodies are just superb on here. They're slow-burning growers, but once they hit you, they really hit you, as on "Hollow" or "A Monster in Her Eyes." "Weakness of a Man" is just great with this, too.The guitars are always heavy and rhythmic, not always going for a straight-ahead metal attack, but always being complex and riveting – check out the blistering "Awake from Darkness" or the more straight-ahead power metal cruiser "Arising Thunder." There are some subtle folk elements on a few tracks like the excellent "Lease of Life" and the crushing, searing "Weakness of a Man," and a lot of slow, ballad-esque moments that allow Falaschi to stretch out his pipes and the guitarists to cook out some more emotive moments. "A Monster in Her Eyes" is absolutely stunning in this regard.Nothing on here is really done in a way you'd expect, and since the hooks are so angular and fresh, the songs never wear out their welcome, always sounding cool and innovative. There is a somber twinge to the melodies here at times, and at others, an angry, wrathful one, making this album sound somewhat like a journey through the raging, untamed wilderness – if not for the pristine sense of refinement in the songwriting, that is. With Aqua the band eschews more and more of what held them back in the early days and also brings closer the themes and motifs they always wanted to get down in their lyrics and atmosphere. This album is progressive, raw, subtle and a huge grower if there ever was one, revealing new layers with each spin. Angra has never sounded better." - The Metal Crypt
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  • Epica finally releases a live set and in typical fashion its nothing short of over the top and immaculate. The performance was recorded as part of the Bartok + Miskolc International Opera Festival in Miskolc, Hungary on 6/14/08. The set starts out a bit weird...the orchestra starts off with some classical pieces and then they are joined by the band who kick in and energize these warhorse tracks. They even do some oddball covers of movie soundtrack music. Finally Simone Simons takes the stage and the band soars through a selection of material from their catalog - all with the backing of the orchestra. I don't think there is a DVD planned although I wish there was - this must have been a sight to see. Once again Epica are EPIC! Highest recommendation.
    $16.00
  • Fifth studio album from this always interesting Polish prog band.  Lizard's music always has a dark quality to it.  At times there is a noir quality that reminds of King Crimson but there is a strong symphonic rock component that dominates their music.  Master & M is a conceptual album based around Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master & Margarita" novel.  It consists of five long chapters with some intense instrumental passages.  Vocals are excellent but the problem with Lizard is that band leader Damian Bydlinski sings in Polish.  Highly recommended.
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  • Third album from this progressive metal band based out of Sweden.  The band is fronted by former Seventh Wonder/current Aeon Zen vocalist Andy Kravlijaca who frankly is very underrated.  Silent Call touches on a variety of genres while firmly rooted in the metal realm.  You'll hear some fluffy AOR bits and some prog rock at times.  Very much a band that is strong on melody.  Highly recommended."I’m torn. Torn between championing the cause of a massively underrated and under-exposed Metal band, and the pride I feel when chatting about Progressive Metal to like minded people and playing them Silent Call – who invariably they have never heard of, and can’t believe they have passed them by! The secret will be out of the bag y’see. No more gloating for yours truly, no more “Surely. You’ve heard of Silent Call”, complete with knowing smile. Nope, people can just read this review and know all about them – which is the least the band deserve! Decision made then. Ladies and Gentlemen, fans of Melodic Progressive Metal, I give you Silent Call…unless, of course, you’ve already heard them and it’s just here in the windswept hills of deepest Yorkshire where they are unknown…a bit like super fast reliable broadband…This is Silent Call’s 3rd album – I got their debut way back in 2008 because it was on Escape Records (home of all things light and fluffy) and someone sold it to me after being horrified that Silent Call weren’t in the least bit light OR fluffy! He even wrinkled his nose (the nerve!) when he described the heaviness of the guitars and drums. This was the same day I informed him that one of his favourite Melodic bands of the 80’s – Fate – were in fact previously called Mercyful Fate (omitting the fact it was only Hank Shermann in Fate), so he rushed off to buy their back catalogue, Harrgh Harrgh, Harrgh…I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me… But I digress – Silent Call are way too heavy for a Melodic Rock label, and hopefully now they have found a worthy home on DOTT.For existing fans (because I’m sure there are many fans outside the UK), “Truth’s Redemption” is just as good as their previous two – The production is a little bit heavier and fuller which just enhances things more and allows the songs to have even more impact. You will not be disappointed! For the uninitiated, Silent Call have their sound rooted in the best of the Progressive Metal bands around the turn of the Millennium. Blending aspects of Angra, Lion’s Share, Eldritch, Stratovarius, Labyrinth – even early Kamelot and Sonata Arctica to name but a few. Their technicality is more subtle, crafted, and less showy than Dream Theater and their ilk, leaning more towards a sound centred around melody and memorability than individual musicians egos. And this is what really works for Silent Call and widens their appeal. The vocals are an expertly delivered mid-to-high range, somewhere around an amalgam of Carsten Schulz, Apollo Papathanasio, David Readman and maybe Tobias Sammet…but then, it isn’t really, as his tone – his ‘timbre’ if you pretentiously prefer – is quite unique to Andi Kravljaca. The Drums, Bass, Keys and Guitar are all executed with precision and flare, always complementing each other yet shining when it is their moment or when specifically listened out for. Musically, I’ve covered some of their bases, but their attention to detail, delivery and arrangements open the band up to fans from Pink Cream 69 through to Evergrey.The predictable thing to do here is to try and sum up the album with one or two songs – well I’m not going to make it that easy for you. Mainly because I can’t pick out a favourite OR a track that if you randomly chose it, then it wouldn’t convince you to hear the rest of the album. Every band member’s performance on every well-crafted track is first rate, there are no fillers – just top quality Melodic Progressive Metal from start to finish. If you’ve got this far through the review then surely you have thought this album is worth checking out? So one of my best kept band secrets is now out there – the cat is out of the bag as it were, so run Kitty run, run and be free…LOOK OUT FOR THAT TRUCK…!!!" - Ave Noctem
    $5.00