For Finland’s Battle Beast, 2015 was a year of high’s and uncertainty. The band topped the charts in its homeland with its release, Unholy Savior, and then parted ways with its principal songwriter while riding the success of the new record. Fast forward two years and Battle Beast returns with its fourth studio album, Bringer of Pain, and a new attitude of enthusiasm.
Throughout the band’s career, guitarist and co-founder Anton Kabenen, served as the group’s primary songwriter and domineering force. When he departed the band in 2015, at odds with his band mates, many thought Battle Beast would be over. Bringer of Pain marks a declarative statement that the sextet is still as powerful as ever. The group, which features vocalist Noora Louhimo, bassist Eero Sipilä, keyboardist Janne Björkroth (who also produced the record), drummer Pyry Vikki, and guitarist Jusso Soinio, added Janne’s brother Joona Björkroth on guitar to solidify the line-up. This week, Metalholic caught up with Louhimo to chat about the new record, the band’s newest member, and their upcoming U.S. tour with Sabaton and Leaves’ Eyes.
Bringer of Pain is a huge, perhaps pivotal album for the band. Previously the songwriting within the band was something of a dictatorship, and now the dictator is gone, and you were all free to write as a unit. That had to be both liberating and a little nerve-wracking.
“Yes, exactly. You always have the pressure on to write good music and do a good album, but now we had extra pressure because people had their suspicions. People were already judging us that, ‘They’re not going to make it. They’re not going to make as good music.’ But as you can hear, yes we can [laughs]! So, yes, it was a nerve-breaking, but still a very rewarding process to do this new album. For me personally, this was such a great experience. I learned so much about the other guys; the other band members. We got Joona to be part of this Battle Beast family and now I’m just full of excitement. I can’t wait to get on the road and bring the pain!”
To my ear, Bringer of Pain has a lot of classic metal elements but also a strong sense of 80s rock, even pop in a couple of places. As an example, the title track has a very Judas Priest vibe to it…
“Yeah! Thank you. That’s something that I was hoping for, that people could get from that.”
The first single, “King for a Day” has a bit of Michael Jackson Thriller vibe in the keyboards.
“Yes. That’s true. That was my enthusiasm also.”
Tell us about Bringer of Pain from your perspective.
“This time, I really got excited about this kind of true heavy metal, Judas Priest sound that the ‘Bringer of Pain’ demo had. When I heard it for the first time, it inspired me straight away. The lyrics and the melody got born instantly. So that was an easy song to write.”
How do you think having 6 songwriters instead of one impacts the sound and dynamic of the band?
“We all learned a lot from each other; how we want to work together. There are so many different ways to write songs. For example, Janne likes to write songs by himself and bring them to the table when they are almost final. I like to do solo also, but I like co-writing also. With Joona, we have a similar wave we are on, and we have a really good work ethic, and a good friendship also. So it’s very easy to work with him. I did write some demos with Eero, our bass player, and our other guitar player Jusso, and it was fun also. I think through these next years, we are going to find new ways, and the best ways, for Battle Beast to produce music.”
You can listen to the full interview with Noora below, as she digs into some of the songs on the new record, Joona’s impact, and the mystery vocalist on “Lost in Wars.” Bringer of Pain releases February 17 through Nuclear Blast records.