Who doesn’t remember the moment Beast In Black released “Blind and Frozen” as their first single? My reaction to that video was somehow a quite ecstatic “Hell yeah, Anton Kabanen is back for more!” Blind and Frozen had Kabanen written all over it, but somehow a bit controversial, if you hadn’t watched the video before listening to the song, it was quite difficult to determine what gender the vocalist has, or in my confusion I initially thought it was a duet. No such thing, but hey, what’s gender anyway?! “Blind and Frozen” was deemed a single that stuck and left a lasting impression. But now it’s time for the entire album “Berserker”, released tomorrow 3rd November by Nuclear Blast.
The album opens up with the second single “Beast In Black”. The song is a very good opening track because it’s basically a blast in the face. The song shows the potential of vocalist Yannis Popadopoulos. Who sounds more like a Ripper Owens here. Who would have expected that after “Blind and Frozen”? Drummer Sami Hanninen opens up the track with his powerful play. The chorus is not only catchy, but shows the talent of Anton Kabanen as a creative song and lyrics-writer. Guitarists Kasperi Heikkinen and Anton Kabanen show us their impressive dueling solos, quite an epic battle. The song is definitely a strong start.
We already know what’s following “Blind and Frozen” yes, that song has been stuck in my head for over a month and once in a while it keeps on coming back. I don’t know how Kabanen does it, but he does have a talent to come up with earworms. Up to today I’m still not quite entirely sure if “Blind and Frozen” will ever leave my head. The song is so mellow and quite cheesy, but it works so well with the vocals and it was definitely a smart move to let Popadopoulos sing in this manner. And this is exactly why Popadopoulos was a great choice as a vocalist. He is like a chameleon, he has many sides and layers to his voice, approaches every song differently, but overall still has a very distinctive sound.
Another highlight of the album in my opinion is “Zodd The Immortal”. This song specifically reminds me in the beginning of Iced Earth or even Judas Priest at times. And adds a different, but yet interesting perspective to the album. The guitars and drum parts are very epic in this song and we see yet another side of the vocalist. This thrashy sound to the song is a great layer next to the more poppy 80s approach of the rest of the album, where the keys are definitely a more important part. “The Fifth Angel” continues more or less in that same heavy style, even though the song is more driven by the keys again.
The album ends with “Ghost In The Rain”, surprisingly a ballad, it doesn’t get that heavy anymore in the song, but what’s a metal song without an epic guitar solo? “Ghost In The Rain” shows us how great the backing vocals are on this album, the details of the keys and definitely gets us hyped up enough and brings the album to an end, maybe without that blast, but it sure leaves us wondering if we should immediately press the replay button.
1. Beast In Black
2. Blind and Frozen
3. Blood of a Lion
4. Born Again
5. Zodd The Immortal
6. The Fifth Angel
7. Crazy, Mad, Insane
8. Eternal Fire
9. End of The World
10. Ghost In The Rain
Yannis Papadopoulos – Vocals
Mate Molnar – Bass
Sami Hanninen – Drums
Kasperi Heikkinen – Guitars
Anton Kabanen – Guitars, Vocals
If you want to read more about the album and the songwriting, check out the interview we had in the beginning of October with Anton Kabanen and Kasperi Heikkinen!