Review Summary: 49% headbanging, 51% dancing
Beast In Black released their well-received debut two years ago and, despite the positive reviews and the interesting lineup, I hated it. There is a very fine line that separates poppy metal from Eurovision crap, and I felt that these guys went way too far. Everything about Berserker
seemed over the top; I felt that the instruments were leaving very limited space for the music to breathe, the vocals filled the aforementioned space, and the production was way too loud and plastic. The result of that was disregarding these guys almost completely. However, 2 years later, I have to admit that I was wrong.
All things considered, Beast In Black is still the same band doing the same thing, which is producing bombastic metal. Nevertheless, the major change on the band’s sophomore effort is the level of songwriting. Simply put, the melodies here – based on ‘80s pop – are more memorable, the drums leave some breathing room, and the production is modern and polished but not overly loud. In terms of influences, From Hell With Love
is a blend of Turbo
-Judas Priest, modern power metal in the vein of Sabbaton, symphonic metal reminiscent of Nightwish, and of course ‘80s pop (think of Bonnie Tyler). And if you’re thinking that this is a cheese-fest, you’re right. But, at the same time, it is really fun and not tacky.
In addition, there is a nice variety of different styles such as uptempo tracks like the GTA Vice City “True Believer”, “Sweet True Lies” with the ‘90s pop a la Britney Spears chorus, “From Hell With Love” and “Heart of Steel”, those with more metal elements like “Cry Out For a Hero”, “Repentless”, “Die by the Blade” and “This is War”, and even a ballad (“Oceandeep”). One of the reasons that, despite the unquestionable cheesiness, this is such an enjoyable listen, is how seamlessly and naturally synth-heavy and metal parts come together within the same song. Of course, the execution is also at a high level as the guitars and the soulful vocals a la Rob Halford shine.
From Hell With Love
is the very definition of a feel-good album and even though the second half is not on par with the first one, the LP still ends on a high note with two well-done cover versions of “Killed by Death” (Motorhead) and “No Easy Way Out” (Robert Tepper). At the end of the day, I am happy that I gave Beast In Black another chance and even happier that this multinational band proved me wrong.