October 30, 2017 Beast In Black – Berserker (Album Review)
In 2015, respected Finnish Metal Guitarist Anton Kabanen and Battle Beast parted ways following 7 years and 3 albums together. A move that took fans by surprise, later that year, Battle Beast carried on and so did Kabanen, going on to form his new band, Beast In Black. Joining forces with Kabanen are Guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen (ex-Amberian Dawn, ex-U.D.O), Drummer Sami Hänninen (ex-Brymir), Bassist Máté Molnár (Wisdom), and Vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (Wardrum).
With a group of seasoned Metal musicians, soonafter, eager to expose a new animal to the Metal audience, Beast In Black seized the opportunity to share a stage with Nightwish. In the same breathe, Beast In Black spent the next year plus in the recording studio crafting new music. Now, after scoring a record deal with Nuclear Blast Records, Beast In Black and fans alike are excited for their debut – Berzerker – set to release on Friday, November 3, 2017. Produced by Kabanen himself, a key feature to Berzerker is the theme of Japanese manga and anime Berserk, an entity Beast In Black is extremely proud to bare in their debut. Further credit is owed to Artist Roman Ismailov for designing the brilliant artwork on Berzerker, who previously designed cover art for Battle Beast among other notable Metal bands.
Awakening a new Beast, Berzerker sees Kabanen maintaining a Power Metal force similar to the first 3 Battle Beast albums. A theatrical explosion Berzerker steamrolls over 13 tracks, rattling the listener’s ear drums with shredding guitar, compelling synthesizer, and vocals fit to shatter glass. A stampede of bulls – namesake cut – “Beast In Black” opens the album by praising a new master and marking the arrival of Beast In Black. Next, “Blind And Frozen” – the first video and single off Berzerker – is vividly melodramatic and symphonious seeing Papadopoulos at the height of his vocal talent. “Blood Of A Lion” roars with piercing vocals, dynamic synthesizer, and crushing drums molded together in grand theatrics setting free the caged animal.
Raging on, – reminiscent of Kabanen’s departure from Battle Beast -“Born Again” wishes for a rebirth of something no longer existing but only in a memory. Wailing, “Zodd The Immortal” reigns from the heavens – warning of a great demise – in blistering volume. Anointed, “The Fifth Angel” blesses a straight-up ass-kicking of vintage licks resembling Judas Priest.
Moving along like a freight train, “Crazy, Mad, Insane” – lending diversity – brings Electronic Rock to the table. Saturated in a colorful array of synthesizer melodies, this track can get fists pumping at any show. Without a doubt, the touch of guitar soloing towards the end preserves Beast In Black’s style. Thereafter, “Eternal Fire” rises from the ashes as Papadopoulos screams in the night.
Nearing the final chapter, a lightning bolt in the night, “End Of The World” slices open the sky in a theater of war. Berzerker fittingly ends in epic fashion with “Ghost In The Rain.” A masterful saga – the one ballad on hand – “Ghost In The Rain” is lyrically and musically perfect, a charming, yet painful portrayal of a bleeding heart searching for lost love. Papadopoulos’ vocals ring like a desperate cry as he rides the wave of emotions driven by striking lyrics.
The beast lives inside Berzerker, a musically passionate collection of Metal. Kabanen has formed an army of musicians fearlessly ascending above and beyond the call of duty. Note for note, each song is well stitched together, delivering the best in Power Metal. Kabanen and Heikkinen assault on guitar,Papadopoulos can melt steel on vocals, while Molnar and Hanninen provide a battering rhythm section. In support of Berzerker, Beast In Black have the honor of touring with the great WASP through late November likely gaining fans from city to city. All this said, fans of Battle Beast and Power Metal will surely be pleased hearing Beast In Black. A must listen, CrypticRock gives Berzerker 4 out of 5 Stars.