BEAST IN BLACK

Power metal with bite – from the man who brought us Bat­tle Beast

Metal Hammer (UK) - - News - WORDS: DOM LAW­SON

“SOME OF THIS STUFF IS BLAS­PHEMY!”

When things go

spec­tac­u­larly tits up, the only sen­si­ble re­sponse is to dust your­self off and get back to it. In 2015, An­ton Ka­ba­nen left Bat­tle Beast af­ter a ma­jor fall­out with other mem­bers. Hav­ing founded the Fin­nish power met­allers in 2008, not to men­tion cho­sen their name, writ­ten ev­ery song and co-cre­ated their mas­cot (the Beast) with artist Ro­man Is­mailov, he could be for­given for be­ing some­what bit­ter and twisted at this point, par­tic­u­larly as Bat­tle Beast ap­pear to be do­ing pretty well with­out him. But in­stead, An­ton has sim­ply formed a new band and picked up where he un­ex­pect­edly left off two years ago.

“My orig­i­nal vi­sion was to make a heavy metal band, sim­i­lar to my own idols like Ju­das Priest, Manowar, WASP and Ac­cept,” he ex­plains. “It lasted quite a few years but there were ten­sions be­tween me and some of the oth­ers in Bat­tle Beast. I started the band – it was my child from the be­gin­ning – but when we started ar­gu­ing about our di­rec­tion and then who owned the rights to the name, it was ob­vi­ously a bad sit­u­a­tion. In the end, cer­tain forces meant I had to ac­cept that the oth­ers keep the name. I wanted to keep go­ing so Beast In Black takes me back to my orig­i­nal vi­sion.”

Judg­ing by the ex­plo­sive and en­joy­ably over-the-top metal an­thems on Beast In Black’s de­but al­bum, Berserker, the sound An­ton un­veiled on the first three Bat­tle Beast al­bums has been given a ro­bust up­grade. Chuck in oc­ca­sional curve­balls like de­mented disco-metal sin­ga­long Crazy, Mad, In­sane, and art­work that could hardly be more metal if it was carved in steel, and An­ton’s re­turn should prove wholly ir­re­sistible to broad-minded fans of balls-out tra­di­tional metal.

“I’m sure some of the purist guys will think it’s blas­phemy to have a song like Crazy, Mad, In­sane,” he laughs. “But most met­al­heads are pretty open-minded when it comes to that va­ri­ety of styles, as long as the core of what we do is still heavy metal. We just use dif­fer­ent flavours. Only in metal can you can go from a whis­per into a deathly roar. There’s no other genre where you can ex­per­i­ment so wildly.”

As with the early Bat­tle Beast al­bums, Beast In Black’s de­but takes much in­spi­ra­tion from manga mas­ter Ken­taro Miura’s dark fan­tasy clas­sic, Berserk. In fact, the band’s name is a di­rect trib­ute to An­ton’s on­go­ing ob­ses­sion with the Ja­panese comic.

“My friend in­tro­duced me to it back in 2006 and I have been in love with it ever since,” he says. “I’ve been writ­ing songs about it from the start. The main char­ac­ter, the Black Swords­man, his spirit an­i­mal is the Beast Of Dark­ness. It’s all about con­ti­nu­ity. The word ‘beast’ ob­vi­ously con­nects to my past, so we be­came Beast In Black. Ro­man [Is­mailov, artist] cre­ated the first Bat­tle Beast al­bum cover and now he’s done our first al­bum. We’re go­ing to keep the Beast char­ac­ter on the al­bum cov­ers in fu­ture as well.”

Cur­rently on tour

in Europe with An­ton’s idols WASP, Beast In Black will focus on their new ma­te­rial un­til they are able to play big­ger, head­lin­ing shows. At that point, they will wheel out plenty of Bat­tle Beast clas­sics, too. More im­por­tantly, An­ton is back in busi­ness and full of op­ti­mism that, this time, ev­ery­thing will go ex­actly to plan.

“There are some very ele­men­tal, ba­sic things that have to be in place for a band to achieve its full po­ten­tial,” he con­cludes. “The mu­sic, the men­tal­ity, the live per­for­mance, they are all im­por­tant. We have all of that. Most of all, we all stand be­hind the fact that we’re a heavy metal band. This has al­ways been my dream.”

BERZERKER IS OUT NOW VIA NU­CLEAR BLAST

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