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BEAST IN BLACK Dark Connection

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Friday, October 22, 2021 @ 8:33 AM


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BEAST IN BLACK
Dark Connection

Nuclear Blast Records




Sharp-edged riffs!
Piercing choruses!
And lots of sci-fi/fantasy/cyberpunk stories to tell!

BEAST IN BLACK are a multi-faceted band with a fairly nomadic history of sorts. Not just stemming from its lineup being multinational with its inclusion of a few veteran Hungarian and Greek musicians within their squad and having their base in Helsinki, but moreso because of their storytelling skills replete with colorful imagery which will someday make for some of the most entertaining cosplay ever in the world of anime.

Formed in 2015 by Finnish composer/musician Anton Kabanen following his departure from BATTLE BEAST, the quintet, also featuring former UDO/AMBERIAN DAWN axeman Kasperi Heikkinen, Hungarian bassist Máté Molnár (ex-WISDOM), Greek vocalist/keyboardist Yannis Papadopoulos (ex-WARDRUM) and compatriot Atte Palokangas on drums, BEAST IN BLACK fuse their love of classic metal such as PRIEST, ACCEPT and MANOWAR with lots of flashy Euro synth pop and the aforementioned Japanese manga/anime scene. So far, with three albums into their career including their most recent opus titled Dark Connection, the band have ramped up their creative inspiration to feature the dystopian overtures of the sci-fi classic movie Blade Runner. And with a global pandemic still gripping much of the planet thus far, the set tone for Dark Connection proves to be rather easy to emulate; the first track is even titled “Blade Runner”, featuring a lush keyboard intro courtesy of Yannis himself, before launching into several galloping frets and riffs of fury. And with the movie itself having inspired the overall cyberpunk scene nearly 40 years ago, it seems fitting that the similarly-named track would serve as an homage to the Ridley Scott cinematic classic on this album. From there on in, BIB set their own template in the cyberpunk realm – aerodynamic cars, a mass sprawling intergalactic metropolis comparable to what Dubai would look like if the city had been founded on Tatooine, promiscuous leather-clad femmes fatales, ruthless emotionless killers, and lots of flashy neon signs. Of course, that’s pretty much my own visual – if not overall limited – perception about cyberpunk/manga, which, to be honest, doesn’t appear to be all that entirely off compared to how Anton describes the scene.

For the most ardent of cyberpunk/anime fans amongst the BIB faithful, they’ll immediately catch many references to the likes of Armitage III, Cyber City Oedo 808, AD Police and Battle Angel Alita on tracks such as the straightforward progressive-sounding “Highway To Mars”, the obscure sleekness of “Moonlight Rendezvous” and “Dark New World”, the hard-sounding “Revengeance Machine” and the uber-pop-sounding “One Night In Tokyo”. And often with most sci-fi-inspired power metal bands whose vocal variations often lead no further than how high of a note can be sung and held for an extended period of time, Yannis, by comparison, makes a serious attempt to stray a bit further outside of the box when it comes to diversifying his range. He handles bonafide future classics such as “Blade Runner”, “Dark New World” and “Hardcore” with ease, making them sound exactly like the fist-pumping ragers they’ve been written to be while retaining the melodic and catchy vibe on tracks like “One Night In Tokyo” and “To The Last Drop Of Blood” through his varying timbre, aware that exercising the volume of one’s voice has its time and place. Even Yannis’ soft vox on the erstwhile ballad “My Dystopia” channels Marko Hietala’s overall work with NIGHTWISH.

And for an added bonus, Dark Connection brings forth an unlikely marriage – or connection, if you will – of two spontaneous covers: “Battle Hymn” by MANOWAR (which might not be all that entirely spontaneous as they are an integral influence to BIB’s sound) and MICHAEL JACKSON’s “They Don’t Care About Us”, which both work amazingly well in the realm of this album’s tone.

Travelling cyberpunk power blues has never sounded this animalistic or dark.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

https://beastinblack.com/
https://www.facebook.com/beastinblackofficial
https://www.instagram.com/bib_band/
https://twitter.com/bib_band


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