Artist: Battle Beast
Album: No More Hollywood Endings
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Battle Beast has been on the rise since their inception, and they’ve already reached their 5th album. No More Hollywood Endings is set to be released on March 22nd, 2019, through Nuclear Blast Records.
I confess that I love to hate Battle Beast sometimes. I couldn’t stand them at first with Nitte Valo on vocals, though I’ve warmed up to them a lot since. “King for a Day” was one of my favorite songs of 2017 and I do think Noora Louhimo is a huge step forward for them vocally. I even enjoyed Bringer of Pain (2017) on the whole. My relationship with this band reaches the polar opposite ends of the scale, so when I readied myself to listen to their latest release, anything was possible.
The album opens with “Unbroken”, an upbeat, catchy pop rock song. It’s nice to hear that Louhimo has got a lot more control over the grit in her voice now – she sounds strong, but not like she’s tearing her throat to strips. The song is catchy, with those basic disco drums that I loathe so much, and a high-medium energy level that I feel will be better live. The orchestrations are clearly Nightwish-influenced, and if you’d like your Nightwish with a bit less “Holopainen” in it, this is a bit of a tamer version of what he does.
Frankly, a few songs in, a lot of the album feels pretty basic. While Louhimo and Joona Björkroth (guitars) are doing just fine, the drums play the exact same beat throughout the entire album and there might as well not be a bass player, for all you can hear from Eero Sipilä. “Endless Summer” is one of the most shameless songs I’ve heard in ages (and I hear a lot of shameless songs), it’s so cheesy. It’s almost frustrating – that perfect 80s sound really comes through in the keyboards, guitars, and vocals at times, but there is just zero soul in it. A little more kick and these might sound less like cheesy forgettable knock-offs and more like songs you’d be hyped up to hear at a festival.
When listening through, at the midway point around “The Hero”, all the songs had started to blend into one another and sound the same. “Piece of Me” was almost great because of its notably darker and cooler mood, but still suffered from the same lack of oomph. I’d hoped to say that “I Wish” is a touching track, but it doesn’t really carry much personal feeling. I can’t see myself getting mesmerized in the artists’ passion on stage while this song plays live. The album sort of fizzles out without at any point standing out; none of the songs were even catchy enough to get annoyingly stuck in my head.
Pros of the album? Louhimo sounds the best she’s ever sounded. Her vocal technique has come so far and it’s great to hear her sounding so strong and in control. I also didn’t notice her doing any of that talk-screaming that I’ve never enjoyed. And it’s not a bad album musically, per se – I could put it on in the background while doing something and never find myself annoyed. However… it just has the most boring disco drums imaginable and never quite steps things up to “amazing.” The riffs are fairly interesting, but the bass and drums aren’t; as such, the memorable parts of the album fall flat without any power in the rhythm section. Sadly, while the album didn’t offend my ears, I likewise never felt compelled to put it on a second time.
Rating: 5/10, 2.5 stars
2. No More Hollywood Endings
4. Unfairy Tales
5. Endless Summer
6. The Hero
7. Piece of Me
8. I Wish
9. Raise Your Fists
10. The Golden Hoarde
11. World on Fire