Bringer of Pain
Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Andrew McKaysmith
This scribe had the fortune to interview Battle Beast's stunning Finnish frontwoman, Noora Louhimo, for Hot Metal Online recently. The most prominent attribute I could ascribe to Louhimo is her confidence, and not the boring bravado so common to the 'fake it till you make it' crowd. No, this is the type of confidence borne of thousands of hours of public performance and dedicated rehearsal. In short, Louhimo is a certified rock star in waiting.
Will the album bring the band closer to mainstage and nearer to the consciousness of high school aged youth and young adults - the type that have the disposable income ready and willing to shower their favourite bands in exchange for merch, physical album copies, and gig attendance? I certainly hope so, as Bringer of Pain is a thoroughly enjoyable blend of metal, euro-pop, disco and '80s style rock.
If Louhimo is the band's obvious strength, then keyboardist Janne Bjorkroth is their secret weapon. According to Louhimo, Bjorkroth is responsible for writing "Familiar Hell" and "Dancing with the Beast". Along with "King for a Day" they are the album's choicest cuts. In much the same way keyboard player par excellence, Roddy Bottum, adds so much to Faith No More's sound, Bjorkroth achieves a similar outcome on Bringer of Pain. "King for a Day" actually sounds like a heavy metal/rock version of Abba's music or "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" era Rod Stewart, which is something Louhimo didn't disagree with during our chat.
If the band were to make any changes to their approach after this album, I'd recommend that they lean on the disco and pop elements a little more. The real strength throughout Bringer of Pain is the type of metal to which you can dance, a rare and all too infrequent occurrence. I'll temper that comment by assuring the reader that rock/heavy metal is thoroughly imbued through the band's DNA and their music will never stray too far from the head bangers creed.
Battle Beast are likely only joined by Austria's ausgezeichnet Kontrust, helmed by Polish dynamo, Agata Jarosz. Both are 'metal' bands whose music could easily be played to a room full of sweaty, dancing bodies in nightclubs across the globe. A real compliment to both bands. As someone who has played in rock bands to rooms full of enthusiastic punters, I have observed those same punters stick around and behave in a very similar manner when the DJ comes on as we in the band have finished our set and make moves to trawl Gallien-Krueger speaker boxes and guitar cases through the reams of now gambolling youth.
Finally, there is that voice. Louhimo's voice sits somewhere between Pat Benatar and The Rose era Bete Midler. I actually asked her if she gets compared to Doro Pesch, as it is such a lazy comparison based solely on her long locks of blonde hair. Louhimo's response was intriguing: "Yes, I have heard that a lot, many people have said I am like Doro, but also my influences are mostly guys, like of course Ronnie James Dio is number one."
So that says it all really. If you could merge the very best elements of Abba with Strange Highways era Dio... it may sound a lot like what Battle Beast have produced on Bringer of Pain.