Remember a couple years ago? Anton Kabanen split with Battle Beast and to prove he absolutely wasn't even a tiny bit bitter he named his new band Beast In Black. Thankfully, it might be said, the new outfit did try for some different approaches to the sound; poppy inflections, over the top synth presence and schlager inspired ridiculousness (that shit's really big around the nordic countries). And still, the metal that was promised was also delivered in a few obliterating tracks that blew all resistence. Debut album Berserker (2017) did plenty of things right, and it was foreseen that they should only go up from there. Enter album number two, From Hell With Love, and all that balance is seems instantly gone. Many of the metallic elements have been downsized or outright removed, only retaining the skeleton; flashy rhythm section with the blaring drums and a sometimes nasty sounding guitar tone that when you actually listen to it doesn't offer much more than to plod along.
It seems that Beast In Black failed to understand that the glittery garments they embraced did so well only because they were kept in balance by the metallic surroundings and tight songwriting. The song structures are also devolved into the basics, with nothing much interesting on display for the standardized three to four minute tracks. Before, they would go with some lengthy middle parts and bridges to build up the climax, whereas now it’s more like a schlagerized Sabaton, songwriting wise. Granted, the melodics are all big and flashy and poppy, the choruses catchy as they can be, but there is little depth or range to it all. Take opening track, Cry Out for a Hero; you can get why they would open with it, short, to the point and well executed for what it is, but even then it’s already boring by the second time the chorus comes on. Then the token guitar solo and the bridge that just repeats what was already dull. In the same vein, sometimes poppier, sometimes with a bigger emphasis on the guitars, the album drags on for eleven new songs and two cover songs. (Granted, the cover of Motörhead classic Killed by Death is pretty sweet in its new sounding surroundings, but still.)
By far the best thing about the band is vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (ex- Wardrum), who has great range and diversity, as well as a masterful technique. Again, he only gets to show off very little of it here, staying with the high shrieks rather being allowed to delve into his highly effective and oftentimes emotionally striking mid range (listen to Major Denial for example). Not even the useless ballad Oceandeep changes that. As for good sides, there are a few; Heart of Steel standing out the most. The verses are complete 80’s rhythm down to the socks, but here it sounds somehow true to the style, and even though it’s basically in many respects very similar to the rest of the album, the melodies and the chorus, even Papadopoulos’ vocals just sound that much better. Repentless is also decent, but other than that the sameness just keeps going for about 50 minutes, complete with filler and the aforementioned cover songs. In all though, the album is just a complete step back from all the charm the debut showcased.
Standout tracks: Repentless, Heart of Steel