Battle Beast has been on a victorious path for the whole decade. After some difficult decisions and loads of pressure, the band proved its doubters wrong once again and is now one of the heavyweights of Finnish heavy metal.
If there would be a university course named "Rock’n’Roll 101", one thing they probably wouldn’t teach you, is to kick your lead guitarist from the band after a chart-topping album and the most successful tour of your career. Yes, the same lead guitarist who has also written every song your band has ever recorded.
Well, Battle Beast did just that. Gutsy move that sounded like a band’s career flushed down the toilet. But Battle Beast proved that they're a beast of a band, and willing to battle.
“Crisis in general is one of the reasons behind our ascending career. State of crisis always leads towards improvement and rebirth both spiritually and physically”, says Noora Louhimo, the singer of Battle Beast.
Louhimo says that the remaining band members felt a lot of pressure debuting their own compositions after having three albums written thoroughly by the sacked axeman Anton Kabanen.
“But soon we found out what each of us had in common: we were stubborn as hell and willing to do anything to get the band as big as possible.”
Bringer of Pain, the follow-up to 2015’s Unholy Saviour, was released in February by the independent metal giant Nuclear Blast. Underlining the shift in band dynamics, all songwriting is credited to “Battle Beast” instead of any specific band member. Under the massive pressure, the band's expectations were modest to say the least.
“Our basis was to write music that feels good to us. We were sure that we had some solid songs that are emotive – both positive and negative. But the reception of the album was beyond anything we dared dream of.”
The album relied on Battle Beast’s familiar elements: traditional heavy metal, power metal, some glam rock and hints of 1980s pop. Instead of holding back the band threw itself all-in: the fist-pumping anthems were more grandeur, the poppier parts cheesier and everything truly over the top.
Bringer of Pain debuted on the Finnish album chart’s peak position and got rave reviews in the metal press almost without exceptions.
“The artist in me says that chart positions aren’t a priority to us, but of course they show us that we can go by the name Battle Beast without any doubts, and that there’s an increasing demand in our music. It’s fantastic to see how many people around the globe want to hear us.”
“A world tour means numerous rehearsals, a lot of planning, months and months of work away from home, meetings, loading-in and out, soundchecks, make up, hairspray, thousands of cans of beer, tour flu, broken down buses, failures and successes.”
2017 has taken Battle Beast to its first world tour. Their typically Finnish modesty rises again in Louhimo when asked about the tour – which is something that most bands never get to achieve.
“World tour means to me that our hard work pays off and we get a chance to prove ourselves to the world. It means numerous rehearsals, a lot of planning, months and months of work away from home, meetings, loading-in and out, soundchecks, make up, hairspray, thousands of cans of beer, tour flu, broken down buses, failures and successes.”
“And on top of it all, you have to play every single gig like it was your only chance to impress the audience. It has to be spot-on.”
In March 2017, Bringer of Pain entered the German album chart at number 14 – a higher position than Stratovarius or Sonata Arctica has ever reached. The groundwork for the album's success has been done on stage, as Battle Beast has played plenty of shows in Germany. Now the European leg of their world tour takes the band to German metal festivals and clubs again.
“I see Germany as the promised land of heavy metal. We’ve done a lot of work there and gained a nice sized audience. We want to see excited fans and have great parties!”
And what does the future look like for Battle Beast?
“With our latest album we showed the world that we’re here to stay. This is just a waypoint on our career. We have ambitious goals. We hold our flag high but keep our feet on the ground.”
I, for one, am going to stay away from the path of this determined beast.