BEAST IN BLACK has been on the rise since Anton Kabanen parted ways with BATTLE BEAST a few years ago. With a similar sound but a new band, these guys have been claiming fans old and new, and not only within Finland! Musicalypse hasn’t done a proper gig report from these guys during a club show as of yet, so we hit up the second leg of their tour in support of “From Hell with Love“ (2019) at Tavastia in Helsinki on April 21st, 2019. Check out the gallery here.
This show was round two of the Finnish tour for the new album, with the first show being a few months ago. Both shows were sold out, so it goes to show that these guys are really gaining ground in Finland.
We arrived over 30 minutes before showtime to see the dark Tavastia stage waiting with the “From Hell with Love” banner on the back of the stage, and plastic skulls adorning the mic stands and drum kit – a bit cheesy but oddly fitting. The show was set to start at 22:00, and the venue was already packed long before then. The place was full of people from all walks of life, young and old.
A roadie appeared on stage at 21:59 and some poor soul in the crowd failed to start a “Beast! In! Black!” chant, but he didn’t need to wait long as the intro track began to play at 22:00 sharp. Atte Palokangas (drums) was the first to take the stage, followed by the rest as the intro track ended and they got the show started with the first song from the new album, “Cry Out for a Hero.”
It’s easy to immediately fall in love with Yannis Papadopolous‘ charisma and sound. He has the voice of an angel and spends half his time on stage individually pointing at people and winking at the crowd. He’s got a lot of energy and flare as a frontman. They were all at full energy, though I would’ve liked them to take the vocals out of the backing track – Papadopolous let the crowd and backing vocalists sing the “all our lives are on the line” parts, but either I could still hear the backing track over them, or these guys are so polished that they don’t sound any different from the album.
Some bands get applause after a song, but these guus got uproarious cheers and screams every single time. They followed with “Unlimited Sin,” which had every hand up in the air, and then Papadopolous greeted the crowd before they set into “Beast in Black” itself. Kabanen is a proper classic heavy metal guitarist, so it was great to see him and Kasperi Heikkinen trading off solos.
Another classic, “Eternal Fire,” got the crowd up and jumping, and we were promised more new music before, “This is War.” This was a bit too consistent to be a great live track but worked as a bit of a breather for the crowd; not a song I’d keep on the set indefinitely, but of course it was nice to hear as much new music as possible. After a marching song about war, Papadopolous asked if we were ready for something faster, and said that a true believer can only be recognized by his heart of steel.
I had expected “Born Again” from their debut to be at the very end of the set, seeing as its so catchy that it plays on radios in my dreams, so I was surprised to hear it midway through the set. It was a definite favorite for me.
I also partially take back what I said about the drumming in the album review. It can be basic in beat, but Palokangas does it with such flare and a big lion grin to boot. Even if the beat itself is simple, he can add style to it so they aren’t boring.
Another nice thing about the band is that they’re cheesy, yet with a clear sense of tongue in cheek. They know they’re cheesy and they’ve embraced it. Papadopolous talked about their band story, starting with a lot of opening lots on other bands’ tours, but here in Finland the venues are selling out just for them. They were naturally very appreciative.
“Crazy, Mad, Insane” was the last older track before they closed out the main set with the first single from the new album, “Sweet True Lies,” and then ended the main set with “From Hell with Love.” That took care of almost every song from the new album, leaving the encore open for “No Surrender,” “Blind and Frozen,” and “End of the World”; all nice treats for the loyal fans willing to stick through an 18-song set on an Easter Sunday!
There was an odd moment wherein a girl at the front had fainted or seemed like she was going to faint before the encore. I didn’t see it happen myself, but it was clear that for some reason there wasn’t much/any security at the venue. I had noticed it myself as the show wound down and I watched the last couple songs in the bar on the screens so I could escape the muggy body heat in front of the stage. There was one guy watching the door, and otherwise there wasn’t anyone else there that I could see It was very strange and a lot of people were wondering what was up.
I really only had one complaint about this show and that was the mix of the live band with the backing track. The vocals were just too loud, so if the guitarists/bassist were singing too, they couldn’t be heard, and the same goes for the crowd. Even Papadopolous was a bit hard to hear over the backing vocals at times. It created a bit of a polished, produced feel that made the live show seem – at least sound-wise – no different from listening to the album at home.
Other than that though, the show was phenomenal. The vocals were phenomenal and seemed to come out so easily. Kabanen and Mate Molnar (bass) were eyeing the crowd almost hungrily half the time, and the energy shared between the stage and the audience was maxed out all night.
Overall, if you like their music, I wouldn’t hesitate to see one of their shows. It was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for BIB during the summer festivals!
1. Cry Out for a Hero
2. Unlimited Sin
3. Beast in Black
4. Eternal Fire
5. This is War
6. The Fifth Angel
7. True Believer
8. Heart of Steel
9. Born Again
11. Ghost in the Rain
12. Die by the Blade
13. Crazy, Mad, Insane
14. Sweet True Lies
15. From Hell with Love
16. No Surrender (encore)
17. Blind and Frozen (encore)
18. End of the World (encore)
Outro: No Easy Way Out
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Miia Collander