I fell in love with BATTLE BEAST's music when they first entered the metal scene. Since then, the band has been releasing a great amount of solid records that managed to surprise me every single time again. "Bringer Of Pain" won the metal album of the year award at Emma Gaala, and I couldn't have possibly agreed more. That album was mindblowingly good. The heavy metal act is now ready to release their new studio effort "No More Hollywood Endings" on 22 March via Nuclear Blast.
Looking at the title and cover art alone, already made me realize this was going to be something quite different. The release of the first single "No More Hollywood Endings" really shocked the whole industry, as it was an unexpected change. Personally, for me the initial listen of the song left me with a rollercoaster of feelings. I honestly can say that I did really like the song. It reminded me of a slower, and more dramatic version of the 80s classic "Fame". I'm not here to talk about solely one single, I'm here to talk about a whole album, and in that mindset I do have to be honest, "No More Hollywood Endings" left me with an empty stomach after a Sunday brunch.
Now, before you're panicking, don't worry... There are still plenty of things that are amazing about the album, let me get straight to the good stuff... Noora Louhimo's vocals again are very much on point. In fact, this album shows a lot more sides to her voice, that often surprise and captivate me. In fact I dare to even say that she's simply one of the greatest vocalists in the genre. The other musicians also show a lot of skill and musicianship and that's clear in the great keyboards, compelling guitar solos, and amazing guitar melodies. "No More Hollywood Endings" has a production that will literally blow you away. A big sound, very cinematic and very beautifully balanced. Some of the songs on "No More Hollywood Endings" are truly exceptional (more on that later), and sometimes certain sections of songs can blow you away. Take the opener "Unbroken" if it weren't without the slightly more progressive section of the song that starts at 3:13 I probably wouldn't have liked it. That section is brilliant, and a definite surprise that completely took the song to another level.
"Unbroken" sets a very great beginning for the album, especially because of that section... It then continues into the familiar title track of the album "No More Hollywood Endings", which already divided many BATTLE BEAST fans in two camps. After the title track, is where for me the problems start... A lot of songs go by without really capturing my attention. "Eden" is an uplifting classic BATTLE BEAST song that unfortunately misses a hook or two for me. "Unfairy Tales" starts off very unsettling with a Shania Twain moment, which even makes me cringe. That's also the moment I realize what's going on in here. While most of the early material was inspired on eighties pop, an absolute killer combination, it feels like some of the newer songs are more inspired by the late 90s, early 2000s pop. Since I grew up in that era, and do have some guilty pleasures here and there, I never really imagined a combination with heavy metal being possible. After listening to "Endless Summer" and "Unfairy Tales" I unfortunately think that I'm not really a fan of this combination. "Endless Summer" completely misses its mark for me, it doesn't grab me and even now I don't remember what the song sounded like. If you'd ask me to sing the melody for you, I don't think I could do it. In fact, while listening to the album again and again and again, I often found myself skipping those songs. I'd go from "Unbroken" to "No More Hollywood Endings" and then straight to track number 6 "The Hero".
"The Hero" delivers exactly what you would expect from BATTLE BEAST. A sudden burst of energy that makes you dance and feel excited, with Noora Louhimo's trademark screams, and great musical moments. "Piece Of Me" is perhaps on the average side, but still energetic and catchy enough to enjoy. "I Wish" is exactly what I would have expected out of an album with such title. It's very cinematic, very dramatic and simply beautiful, and fits together very well with the title track.
Then the magic starts to happen... The anthemic "Raise Your Fists" blew my mind. This is probably the most creative and refreshing BATTLE BEAST song I have heard in years, with a ridiculously good guitar solo that completely makes up for those average tracks in the beginning, finally a climax! "The Golden Horne" shows another side of the nineties, has a ballsy intro filled with eurodance, but then introduces a fast and heavy power metal song with heroic lyrics that begs for no mercy. "World On Fire" contains those catchy choruses that we are used to from a band like BATTLE BEAST, moreover, it shows a very different side of Noora's vocals. More poppy, but certainly not less powerful.
"No More Hollywood Endings" certainly is a varied album, in which the band tried to look for a new direction. I do believe that ultimately BATTLE BEAST has found the right direction in their experiment with songs like "Unbroken", "Raise Your Fists" and "The Golden Horn". Even though some of the songs really didn't trick for me, I did enjoy the album a lot, especially because of these specific great moments. Fans of the band, will certainly enjoy the album as well. "No More Hollywood Endings" has a lot of power, is emotional at times, offers catchy poppy songs, but more importantly is heavy metal down its core.
If "No More Hollywood Endings" was a movie, it would be one that one romantic comedy filled with a lot of cliches in the very beginning, but as it progresses, the cliffhangers and plot twists keep on coming, and as the plot thickens it starts to really grow on you.
2. No More Hollywood Endings
4. Unfairy Tales
5. Endless Summer
6. The Hero
7. Piece Of Me
8. I Wish
9. Raise Your Fists
10. The Golden Horde
11. World On Fire
Noora Louhimo - Vocals
Joona Björkroth - Guitars
Juuso Soinio - Guitars
Janne Björkroth - Keyboards
Eero Sipilä - Bass
Pyry Vikki - Drums