I’m no connoisseur of Power Metal, but I surely like to blast it on my headphones when making my way through the urban landscape of our busy cities. That said, a friend recommended Berserker to me – the debut album of Helsinki-based Beast in Black, the brainchild of former Battle Beast guitarist Anton Kabanen, and I like it! However, let’s see what other reviewers have to say.
Laura Vezer at metalwani.com seems to be unimpressed noting, “Every band member in Beast in Black is exceptionally talented and that is evident all through this record. However, this album doesn’t offer the listener anything new or innovative and as such, I struggle with its authenticity.” Laura has a point, the album does not reinvent the Power Metal-wheel, so to speak. But is that necessary? I feel bands such as Sonata Arctica, Edguy, Firewind and the likes build al their new music upon given elements of said sub-genre and keep coming up with excellent new compositions. In regard to its authenticity, I would argue that the album sounds authentic. It would not be the case, if songs would sound like songs of other bands, which is not the case from what I can tell, or if the band tries to sound like someone else. Hence, Berserker sounds authentic to me.
And, Christian Graus at overdrive-mag.com seems to agree with me writing, “[Beast in Black] is a very different beast though, a slick sounding, polished slab of Euro metal that will both appeal to fans of bands like Rhapsody and Sonata Arctica, and to fans of heavy metal willing to broaden their horizons. A smashing debut and a must purchase album.” Exactly.
Furthermore, Alan Faulkner at distortedsoundmag.com says, “BEAST IN BLACK seem to have a more aggressive edge to them compared to conventional power metal bands, and because of that it is a refreshing take on the genre.” I concur. The album keeps a strong upbeat groove going with high-level dynamics from all sonic perspectives. Even a song such as Crazy, Mad, Insane, that is characterised by a slower tempo, does not lack the mentioned edge. Au contraire, the stomping off-beat drums create a raise-your-fists-in-the-air atmosphere that will be fantastic to experience live. The ballad Ghost Of The Rain adds a strong melancholic touch without losing the afore-mentioned edge.
In the end, Yannis Papadopoulos (vocals), Mate Molnar (bass), Sami Hänninen (drums), Kasperi Heikkinen (guitars), and Anton Kabanen (guitars, vocals) did a phenomenal job in creating a spherical Power Metal album that leads its listener through a beautifully crafted metal world. I’d like to conclude with a statement given by Larry Best at metal-observer.com that I share 100%: “Berseker will rock you to hell and back again! The Beast is back, and I’m fucking ecstatic that it’s Black.”