BY: TJ FOWLER
Through the past few years Battle Beast have steadily grown in popularity here in Finland and abroad in mainland Europe with their penchant for releasing chest pumping metal anthems while putting on a live show that is filled with a furious energy. The band’s latest album, ‘Unholy Savior’ topped the charts here in Finland and the band embarked on a mainland European tour in support of the album. The show here in Kuopio marked their second date in their homeland after returning from that tour. And of course people who follow the band know this show and the band no longer includes guitarist Anton Kabanen.
Now before you read further, if you are looking for some inside scoop as to who the new guitarist is, will be or for me to slag on the band…go click elsewhere. While I will mention how the band performed without Anton, I am not here to write some article to get ‘click bait’.
So, the show! Battle Beast opened the sold out show with ‘Far Far Away’ which is from their new album and got thecrowd rocking from the moment they took the stage. Noora as always knows how to command a crowd and has an excellent stage presence and her vocal ability never ceases to impress me. Unlike most female singers these days she has the ability to sing raspy and growly and also soft and smooth while employing a wide vocal range. She reminds me of a heavy metal Bonnie Taylor. Meanwhile, Eero Sipilä also has taken a larger role in talking to the crowd, making jokes and giving a fired up performance that really entertains the crowd and sets a fun mood. Also I think the band is trying to make the keyboard player an alcoholic as they have a penchant to funnel beer down his throat as he plays the ‘Imperial March’. Darth Boozer!!!
So by the end of the first song the crowd was already whipped into a frenzy. It also should be noted that the new material from ‘Unholy Savior’ translates very well live and fits into the setlist very nicely alongside the older songs. ‘Touch in the Night’ really was nice to hear live and Noora even showcased more of her vocal range on some older songs and really belted out the ‘Iron Hannnnnnnndddddddd…..’ for a very long amount of time that was really cool to hear.
So by the end of the night I managed to turn around and look at the crowd behind me and noticed people from the front to all the way in the back were throwing hands in the air and rocking the house which was great to see. The fans were really pouring out the love
Now of course I come to the part where I have to mention how the band performed without Anton and my thoughts on it. Well in my opinion, overall the band shows they can hold their own live without him in terms of commanding a crowd and based on the strength of their current material. I did notice that on songs like ‘Let it Roar’ the band let the crowd take over Anton’s vocal parts, which is fun to let the crowd participate in. I also noticed that Juuso (guitar) and Janne (keys) took over some of the solo duties that normally would be for Anton and this I think was to help take off the pressure of the temporary player in the band as he has had such a short time to come in and learn the material. Which is fine for right now considering the circumstances.
So in short, I think right now the band will do fine live. They proved they can still hold a crowd because the band still displays a lot of energy, fun, professionalism and great attitude while performing. And they have strong songs the fans really love. I think what is important to note is that when the time comes for the band to pick a permanent lead guitarist that they do need to be very wise as to who they pick. Picking someone who can play the solos, while important, is not the concern for me, that can easily be addressed. Anton’s screams is the one area that I think the band needs to think about. While letting the crowd participate in some songs for those parts is fine, I still think it is important for a band member to be able to perform those parts.
If you can get out there and see Battle Beast live do so. Even with the line-up change the band still puts on a great show and are really fun to watch. As long as the band keeps pumping out catchy songs and displays the energy that I saw here tonight they should be fine when they pick a proper replacement. And with songs like ‘Far Far Away’, ‘Touch in the Night’, ‘Let it Roar’ and ‘Iron Hand’ you can’t have a more fun evening in a crowd full of fellow metal heads singing along.