Beast In Black - From Hell With Love - (10/10)
Published on January 23, 2019
Genre:Melodic Power / Pop
Hail to the Band of the Hawk!
The beast is back! After blowing the power metal community’s collective minds with Berserker in 2017, what was initially considered a spin-off project has now achieved full status. The inevitable comparison to fellow Finns Battle Beast will have to be made but it is most certainly in Anton Kabanen’s favour. Beast In Black’s debut album completely blew Noora and co’s Bringer Of Pain out of the water two years ago and, judging by the quality of “No More Hollywood Endings”, they’re about to do it again. Friendly rivalry? Hostile competition? Couldn’t give a shit. BIB are officially better than BB – and From Hell With Love confirms it with hammering affirmation. Buckle up, fuckers – this is about to get Berserk.
If you are at all familiar with Beast In Black, you are completely justified in expecting more of the usual: completely overblown, hard-rockin’ melodic power metal with a heavy ’80s pop influence, screaming vocals and cheesy-ass synths. This time, the pop vibe is embedded even deeper into the integral core of the music and, dare I say, is the best thing about this album. I can’t stop myself from grinning at almost every bouncy electronic backbeat and blaring synth melody. This is metal for metalheads who are unafraid to smile and shove their tongue so far into their cheek they cause ulcers. Remember “Crazy, Mad, Insane” from the previous record? Yeah. That. But MORE.
Within seconds of opener “Cry Out For A Hero” I guarantee a massive skeletal smirk and the urge to air-guitar and air-keyboard the shit out of this entire record. I hope these guys pioneer a new wave of bands who will start to fuse ’80s disco and synthpop with power metal because Beast In Black make it sound so natural – like it was just meant to be. All manner of keyboard effects are layered wonderfully above, and in the middle of, the super-tight metal underneath. Kabanen’s orchestration and arrangement talents cannot be denied. The Wisdom guitarist inserts as many cheeky synth-tom fills and sampled handclaps as he can, ensuring From Hell With Love never drops its energy for one second. Not even in the unspeakably beautiful “Oceandeep”; this album’s token ballad (and yes, it’s even better than “Ghost In The Rain”!).
Now, we all know power metal songwriting frequently revolves around the effectiveness of the chorus. Well, BIB have absolutely nailed the art of chorus-writing. Every refrain explodes out of the speakers with instantly memorable hooks and layered vocals which seem to bounce with sheer vibrancy. Just check out the phenomenally cheesy “Sweet True Lies” or the Sabaton-as-fuck “Heart Of Steel”, look me in the eyes tell me you don’t already know the lyrics and tune after only one listen. Don’t lie, you do. And you wanna hear it again. I understand. However, my number one chorus on this LP has to be the stunning title-track. It’s just…unspeakably glorious. These dangerously infectious choruses are aided by the immensely talented Yannis Papadopoulos whose vocal skills are stratospheric. He can melt your heart with sweetness or blow your skin off your stupid face with bone-melting screams; always 100% in tune and full of attitude. A god among men.
FHWL is structured perfectly. Bookended by two fast-paced rockers, the album is chocked with jaunty power-disco anthems (“Unlimited Sin”), fist-pumping tributes to the Berserk manga (“Die By The Blade”) and all-out power metal assaults (“Repentless”). All expertly positioned in such a way that no two tracks sound too similar when experienced in order. Even though every number is basically perfection, my personal favourite is the super-slick “True Believer” which is akin to a 1980s action movie training montage or an NES side-scrolling beat-em-up boss battle soundtrack. There’s a flute solo; badass riffs (“No Surrender”); falsetto screams; insanely blazing fretwork; tambourines galore; a lyrical nod to Battle Beast’s first album (no joke! It’s in the chorus of “This Is War” – cheeky fuckers!) and choruses catchier than tuberculosis. If you need anything else in your life, you’re asking too much from this world.
To get a 10/10 score from me requires some special X factor, an unidentifiable ‘something’ that elevates the release and lets it transcend our puny human qualms. Beast In Black almost had it with Berserker but, here in 2019, they feel settled in their skin and ready to churn out the band’s true vision. From Hell With Love only gets more appealing with every spin – and that’s the measure of a truly ‘classic’ record. What the hell are you waiting for!? Pre-order this shit right now, don those leather trousers you obviously own, hit the disco this Saturday night and BABY BABY TELL ME MORE OF YOUR LIES!!