01. Blade Runner 02. Bella Donna 03. Highway To Mars 04. Hardcore 05. One Night In Tokyo 06. Moonlight Rendezvous 07. Revengeance Machine 08. Dark New World 09. To The Last Drop Of Blood 10. Broken Survivors 11. My Dystopia 12. Battle Hymn 13. They Don't Care About Us
Following his 2015 departure from Helsinki's renowned BATTLE BEAST, guitarist extraordinaire Anton Kabanen launched BEAST IN BLACK, a project that is equally if not more over the top in its forwarding of unabashed heavy metal thunder. The unit's first two albums, 2017's "Berserker" and 2019's "From Hell With Love", have been revered globally by power metal fiends, to say the least. BEAST IN BLACK is essentially a household name in Finland where the aforementioned releases both reached platinum status. In the face of high expectations, BEAST IN BLACK delivers on their third outing, "Dark Connection".
BEAST IN BLACK didn't have a sophomore slump following its impressive debut, and "Dark Connection" truly does meet the high-water mark left by the initial releases. True to the band's fundamentals, "Dark Connection" is bursting with absolutely blistering riffs and guitar work, which are combined with deeply infectious vocal work and choruses. "Blade Runner" opens things up with a brief but memorable keyboard driven intro that adequately teases, creating an element of tension before the band unleashes crisp and bold pop-laden heavy metal. The song is replete with Yannis Papadopoulos's impressive vocals, which comfortably and tastefully reach toward the heavens when it's time to unleash that glorious falsetto. But follow-up track "Bella Donna" does an even better job of representing BEAST IN BLACK's essence, a beautiful marriage of impassioned eighties-inspired heavy metal and crystalline pop music.
Along with bleeping sounds signifying some form of aircraft or spacecraft, "Highway To Mars" begins with the apparent utterances of a stewardess making announcements regarding a city on Mars. Such augmentations lend the musical experience a cinematic quality. Elsewhere, "Hardcore", a song that's ironically lightweight, moves forth with a prominent swing. "Moonlight Rendezvous" stands out due to the decidedly calmer nature and flow. And while the MANOWAR cover, "Battle Hymn", makes sense considering the ensemble's style, BEAST IN BLACK throws a complete wild card on the table with their MICHAEL JACKSON cover, "They Don't Care About Us". The song choice is logical considering BEAST IN BLACK's pop music inclination, and the bold move pays off proving to be one of the album's strongest cuts, adding considerable depth and dynamics.
With "Dark Connection", BEAST IN BLACK wisely chose to employ the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. Now that they are three albums deep, the band seems comfortable in its stride. What's more, the moody and slower-tempo songs, as well as the MICHAEL JACKSON cover, collectively drag the BEAST forward as a band, ever so marginally yet noticeable enough. The album flows mellifluously in terms of sequencing and because of the thematic science fiction-inspired similarities. There's a sense that BEAST IN BLACK has the potential to reach into the American pocket of mainstream music. Whether or not that happens with "Dark Connection" doesn't matter, though. At the end of the day, in terms of art and creativity, BEAST IN BLACK has hit the ball out of the park with album number three.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).