BEAST IN BLACK
“From Hell With Love”
Heavy / Power Metal
Nuclear Blast Records (2019)
This album embraces even the cheesiest ’80s influences, evident right at the start with “Cry Out For A Hero” which perfectly blends the Priest’s energy and Bonnie Tyler’s sensibility.
How do I best describe “From Hell With Love” for you? Picture Judas Priest’s “Turbo” that’s not ashamed of what it is. Does Disco Metal already exist? If not, Beast In Black just created it. Unlike the aforementioned legends’ slightly misunderstood album, “From Hell With Love” embraces even the cheesiest ’80s influences, evident right at the start with “Cry Out For A Hero” which perfectly blends the Priest’s energy and Bonnie Tyler’s sensibility.
The title track “From Hell With Love” and “Sweet True Lies” continue down the same path, both graced with extremely memorable choruses inspired by the Desmond Child/Max Martin school of writing. The same school is the alma mater of both “True Believer” and “Die By The Blade”. At the same time, the latter track is the closest to the sound of their debut. Although all the songs are catchy, quality tunes, the tracks on the first half of the album certainly stand out as favorites.
The other side of the coin that is “From Hell With Love” are mid-tempo, fist-pumping tunes that draw inspiration from the new wave of power metal spearheaded by Sabaton. Some of the standouts and future live favorites include “Relentless“, “Unlimited Sin” and “This is War”. All the songs are very rich in keyboards and sound effects, much more than it was the case with the predecessor. However, I have to note that the guitars did not suffer as a result of that, as they still sound razor-sharp and fit well into the mix.
What I really miss on this album are the upbeat, bombastic power metal tracks like “Zodd The Immortal” and “Beast In Black” were on their debut. It’s evident that the band wanted to explore a new side of themselves and look for inspiration elsewhere this time around. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but will certainly disappoint those who fell in love with the band because of power metal gems such as these.
In an interview with Anton Kabanen, guitarist, founder and main composer of Beast In Black revealed that most of the tracks were composed much earlier, stating: “Some of the songs were already written before the debut album. Many songs were more or less existing some years ago. Some songs were born very spontaneously like ‘Oceandeep’or the title track ‘From Hell With Love’. Those are the newest songs, but all the rest were more or less complete songs or clear ideas from the past”.
Personally, I miss the harmonic balance of genres found on the first album. It had it’s fast and bombastic, but also slower and emotional moments, as well as an homage to the ’80s in “Crazy Mad Insane”. The Sabaton influence evident on both their albums is what stirred me away from the band in the first place. It was only when I heard them live that I decided to give them another chance. And I didn’t regret it! Since then, they have become one of my favorite younger acts – if not the favorite one. However, if “From Hell With Love” was the first record I’d heard, I’m not sure I’d be sharing the sentiment.
But don’t get me wrong – “From Hell With Love” is a fantastic album in its own right. If you already love this charming band, I’ve no doubt in my mind you’ll enjoy the new record as I did. There’s something for everyone on there: catchy melodies straight out of old cartoons, a terrific sound, and a fantastic retro atmosphere. Even though merging modern and vintage is a tricky task, the production manages just that. The album sounds warm and organic but does not lack the “boom” effect of a modern record. This is the balance that in my opinion Sabaton has been chasing after, but haven’t quite caught on to.
To sum up, if you were eagerly waiting to hear how Beast In Black is going to top their incredible debut or are itching for some “guilty pleasure”, I wholeheartedly recommend “From Hell With Love”. You’ll find well-arranged songs, incredible musicianship and outstanding production are reason enough to thread this neon-lit retrofuturistic atmosphere as you dive deeper into the album.
Does Disco Metal already exist? If not, Beast In Black just created it.