Beast in Black - Dark Connection (2021)Release ID: 32193

Beast in Black - Dark Connection (2021) Cover
Shadowdoom9 (Andi) Shadowdoom9 (Andi) / January 06, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

I didn't feel too bad about severing my ties with heavy/power metal. However, recently this band Beast in Black became popular among some of my metal-loving friends and even my brother who recommended one of their songs to me, so I knew I had to check out their music. I was blown away by the 80s pop-influenced synths, riffs, and solos by founder Anton Kabanen. He was part of a similar band that's more keyboard-focused and female-led, Battle Beast before he left in 2015. Now I can hear his masterful writing again in a different band. His stylistic antics can be heard in the brilliant new Dark Connection!

Ever since Kabanen left Battle Beast, that band ended up descending into a more hard rock-ish direction. Their earlier thunderous 80s-inspired metal would be brought back up by Beast in Black, though here they have a male vocalist named Yannis Papadopoulos with high Halford-like shriek-singing to go with his power metal delivery. The earlier synth prominence now takes on a cyber-electronic vibe, which fits well for the 80s sci-fi themes in many of the songs. You may already know that theme just from the cover art with the cyborg woman in a computer realm. The songs in the album focus a little more on atmosphere and don't force in too much heavy impact, and that's the kind of blend I'm looking for, with elaborate lyrics to match.

Opening this offering is "Blade Runner" (an obvious nod to a certain 80s sci-fi film) punches through with the fury of Kabanen's time with Battle Beast, adding in some Accept influences in the impressive vocals and guitar shredding, in addition to sweet keyboards. Having a little more groove is "Bella Donna", with more of the Accept-infused riffing combined with 80s techno-pop hooks to sing along to. "Highway to Mars" pays tribute to Total Recall with an anthem of rage and rave, as Yannis continues his power metal vocals delivery. The song title "Hardcore" made me think there would be some hardcore/metalcore influences, but NOPE, none of that. Still pretty cool though.

The techno-fueled single "One Night in Tokyo" combines the band's metal heaviness with ABBA-like pop synths that can almost fit well in Mortal Kombat. The slow long keyboard cruiser "Moonlight Rendezvous" has more of a synthwave vibe that sounds fresh out of a 90s sci-fi anime. Killer soloing appears in "Revengeance Machine". The technical speed goes wild in the power metal, enhancing the catchy melody of this band and genre. "Dark New World" continues the headbanging metal.

"To the Last Drop of Blood" is the song my brother recommended to me that finally made me cave in and explore what's all the rage between my metal-loving friends, to fantastic results! The 80s-rock-powered riffs and hooks punch through again with easy 80s action film potential. "Broken Survivors" has more of the 80s synth beauty. The serene symphonic closing ballad "My Dystopia" is actually one of the most memorable songs here. So beautiful! Two bonus tracks appear, starting with a cover of Manowar's "Battle Hymn", maintaining the smooth epic metal march and militant lyrics in a better fashion. Then another cover, this one of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us". Yannis makes an impressive impression of the King of Pop's falsetto, though I'm a little surprised the original lyrics that were deemed derogatory to Jews were kept in.

What a massive perfect album Dark Connection is! This blend of melody and heaviness complete with 80s sci-fi vibes has made me up for another attempt in reviving my on-off relationship with power metal. Nothing can get more modern and retro simultaneously than this offering!

Favorites: "Blade Runner", "Highway to Mars", "One Night in Tokyo", "Revengeance Machine", "To the Last Drop of Blood", "My Dystopia", "Battle Hymn" (Manowar cover)


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Dark Connection
The Guardians

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Beast in Black chronology