(Nuclear Blast Records, out Fri 8 Feb 2019)
Finnish band Beast In Black have made their second album From Hell With Love a homage to the eighties, a decade so loved by Anton Kabanen, the founder and driving inspiration behind the band.
From Hell With Love picks up where their 2017 debut album Berserker left off, with instantly memorable melodies and hooks all delivered in Kabanen’s inimitable foot-stomping powerhouse style. Virtually every musical genre (bar house and rap) from the 80s is included making the album very commercial and instantly accessible across a broad audience.
Berserker reached number 25 in the UK album charts. This is set for greater things, given that Beast In Black made so many new friends when they supported Nightwish on their recent British tour.
Kabanen continues to draw on his love of Japanese manga and anime series. The album’s opening track Cry Out For A Hero is inspired by the 1980s anime series Fist Of The North Star, a fast-paced rocker with screaming vocals that sets the bar for the rest of the album to follow.
The title track and Die By The Blade both drive along apace with a disco groove, the perfect vehicle for Yannis Papadopoulos’s soaring vocals. It is impossible to avoid comparisons with the many 80s influences; Asia-esque orchestrations and horns immediately take (the older) one back in time. Big productions and blistering guitar solos are evident throughout the album. Heart Of Steel is another that could also have appeared anywhere in Asia’s catalogue.
Oceandeep sits in the middle of the album and provides a welcome interlude from the furious pace. A beautiful, gentle, ballad, it begins with folk pipes building slowly, then a key change into twin lead guitar solos, before another key change into a glorious power ballad, Papadopoulos’s vocals soaring high above.
Unlimited Sin is a return to the fast pace, and introduces an electro-pop back beat which appears again on True Believer. This is War is much heavier with menacing vocals, more reflective of the band’s debut album.
Kabanen was a founder member and musical leader of Battle Beast before leaving in 2015 citing musical differences. He promptly surrounded himself with a set of quality musicians in Yannis Papadopoulos (vocals), Kasperi Heikkinen (guitars) and Mate Molnar (bass). For this second album Atte Palokangas has replaced Sami Hänninen on drums.
Kabanen has a supreme talent for writing catchy melodies and hooks. He recently revealed that some of the tracks on the new album have existed, in some form, for a while. “Some of the songs were written before the debut album, more or less existing some years ago. Oceandeep and the title track From Hell With Love were born very spontaneously, they are the latest songs, but the rest were more or less complete songs or clear ideas from the past.”
The first single from the album, Sweet True Lies, is a typical 80s power anthem, with great vocal harmonies and guitar licks. Musically, this could be Rainbow; lyrically – Britney Spears!
This album has been highly anticipated among Beast In Black fans. They won’t be disappointed and should be joined by a whole legion of new ones.