Artist: Battle Beast
Title: Circus of Doom
Release Date: 21st January 2022
Label: Nuclear Blast
When I read the album title of BATTLE BEAST’s latest release, I assumed that it might be a live recording from a venue by the name ‘The Circus’ in Helsinki, where they had played years ago. When the first track blasted from the speakers, I realized that I was mistaken and listening to brand-new material. The opening track ‘Circus of Doom’ indicates what kind of entertainment you’ll be witnessing during the next 40 minutes. There is a lot going on in this song coming to tempo and beat, as well as the lyrics that come with several metaphors. Noora’s voice gives the whole spectacle a solid frame with just the right dose of vocal attitude towards every chapter of this introductory performance.
“We decided to name the new record after the opening track. ‘Circus of Doom’ is a big-sounding, adventurous and rather complex song and as such it reveals a lot about the newcomer as a whole - of course keeping in mind that one track can never reflect the album itself”, says keyboardist Janne Björkroth.
A reminder of the band’s first releases and heavier sound is ‘Wings of Light’ with fantastic guitarwork, intense vocals that underline the story of the lyrics and a chorus that is gentle and balances the song out. ‘Master of Illusion’ is more Pop prone in the beginning due to the keyboards and high-pitched guitar chords. The stomping rhythm and the constant guitar riffing does not give this one a real Metal touch though the solo parts are quite outstanding. The lyrics of this song reveal that this album does not only deal with happy, funny and gaudy themes you might expect in a circus - it’s rather telling you the Doom part of the story dealing with a character that is quite self-centred and greedy creating nothing but destruction.
Noora tells you the story performing the leading vocals with a sigh or a deep breathing exactly dosed to enhance the story, the guitar solo parts are intense and reflect the feelings the story might evoke until you follow the story again, the chorus parts gather intensity after every short bridge part and underlines “The game is over” acting as the judging force lead by Noora’s voice. From Doom to happier sounds - ‘Where ‘Angels Fear to Fly’ is quite strong on synths in the background while Noora’s clear and quite high-pitched voice tell you a story that seems to tell you that you should keep the faith, no matter how miserable your situation might be. The bridge parts are quite groovy and the background chorus adds force to the parts of the song that are meant to be encouraging. The symphonic elements become more audible as the song progresses, sometimes interrupted buy short guitar solo parts to merge with guitars and vocals to end.
‘Eye of the storm’ starts with a slow acoustic guitar intro whose melody is taken over by intense and powerful e-guitars for a moment until Noora’s crystal-clear voice dominates the song. The drums give the song a steady beat that perfectly fits with short guitar riffing intermezzos in the beginning that lead over into steady riffing during the vocal parts and later perfectly suits the melody and the vocals that seem to get higher and higher verse by verse. Those who love heavy guitar riffing will fall for ‘Russian Roulette’ that unfortunately is sometimes over-dominated by synth parts. This song shows a new aspect of Noora’s voice; this time she seduces you and lures you into the world of gambling. A perfect Las Vegas song, though very Pop prone due to the artificial drums we all know from the eighties. The mix sounds a bit unbalanced as all the “background noise” sometimes makes the vocals hardly audible. Sorry to say so, but it reminds me of BEAST IN BLACK’s latest album in this aspect.
Turn you back on this overloaded song and make your ready for a Metal anthem that comes with many twists and turns. A chorus and a decent guitar make an epic opening until the merciless and straight-forward double-base drums kick in. If they had left out the synths, it would have been a straightforward Metal song. Noora masters the galloping beat of the melody during the main vocal parts without effort. The chorus parts are brining everything almost to a full stop until the chase starts again. A great and powerful song for a live performance, giving the audience the chance to perform the chorus parts.
‘The Road To Avalon’ gives you time to breathe and dive deeper into the world of high female vocals, taking you on a voyage. If you listen close you might be hearing a story of a band that consists of different characters that formed a bond although there are struggle and the road is bumpy. The band’s road is their home “Divine Symphony of the streets” and their Avalon is the next gig. ‘Armageddon’ is not what it seems, no destruction or the end of all days. It’s rather an airy singalong song that gathers positive intensity and an uplifting pace and the bright and uplifting synthies parts asking to “reach for the stars” and telling of your personal nightmare. Atypical powerful BATTLE BEAST song with a wonderful guitar solo in the bridge.
BATTLE BEAST end their performance in the ‘Circus of Doom’ with the song ‘Place That We Call Home’ that is very upbeat coming to the drumming while the melody is rather epic in the beginning until Noora shows the full power of her voice, giving the vocals enormous power until the chorus part gives a short harmonious intermezzo. Again, the song gathers strength and intensity tune by tune, leaving spaces for guitar solos and strong riffing just lead over to Noora’s crystal clear vocals and is joined by a chorus and ends in a finale furioso.
So, is the ‘Circus of Doom’ - the place, that BATTLE BEAST call home? Certainly! The album comes with significantly more Power and attitude than the previous once, that more or less resembled “Pop Metal”. The songs on ‘Circus of Doom’ are rather short and varying in style and intensity. Vocalist Noora once more proves that hers is one of the best voices in female fronted Metal at the moment and she effortlessly switches between intensity and emotional aspects and many vocal ranges to deliver perfect vocals for every song.
‘Circus of Doom’ is an album, that will win back the fans that rated the band’s last releases as to Pop prone and wish for the power and energy of the band’s first albums and will satisfy those who like the band’s music as such. It was a good decision to keep the songs short and leave out anything balladry so the album became highly energetic. Metal fans who like female voices in Metal should give the album a try and might find a few songs, that fit their taste.
“Where ‘Angels Fear to Fly’ on the other hand tells of those who have made the world a better place for all of us. The song is also dedicated to anyone who has faced for example belittling, discrimination, or prejudice in their lives. Then ‘Place That We Call Home’ is a song about finding your place in the world, flavoured with a dose of mysticism. These, of course, only serve as a couple of examples.”
01. Circus of Doom
02. Wings of Light
03. Master of Illusion
04. Where Angels Fear To Fly
05. Eye of the Storm
06. Russian Roulette
08. The Road To Avalon
10. Place That We Call Home
Noora Louhimo – Vocals
Eero Sipilä – Bass
Joona Björkroth – Guitars
Juuso Soinio – Guitars
Janne Björkroth – Keyboards
Pyry Vikki – Drums
Total: 8.5 / 10