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Beast In Black - Dark Connection review



Reviewer:
9.0

92 users:
7.54
Band: Beast In Black
Album: Dark Connection
Release date: October 2021


01. Blade Runner
02. Bella Donna
03. Highway To Mars
04. Hardcore
05. One Night In Tokyo
06. Moonlight Rendezvous
07. Revengeance Machine
08. Dark New World
09. To The Last Drop Of Blood
10. Broken Survivors
11. My Dystopia
12. Battle Hymn [Manowar cover]
13. They Don't Care About Us [Michael Jackson cover]


Berserker was one of the best debuts I ever clapped ears on, one of my highlights of the 2010s – and then, for whatever reason, From Hell With Love just sank for me. This is the all-important third-album test. Can Beast In Black make another Dark Connection?

Well, I know you can’t see from where you’re reading, but as I type this, I’m sporting moon boots, a triple-decker perm, Ray-Bans, a bright pink jumpsuit, and a brand-new tattoo of Roy Batty on my chest. I had none of these things when I started listening to Dark Connection, but I’m easily influenced, and this album is an hour-long retrofuturistic digital scream backed by super-shimmery synthsplosions so decadent that they would make Vangelis consider picking up a banjo instead. I’ve had such trouble defining why From Hell With Love doesn’t cut ice with me, since it is very much the same album as Berserker, and after the immense pleasure and infinite replayability yielded by Berserker, I was legitimately concerned that I had already lost my ability to detect the Beast In Black groove. There’s a very personal sense of relief that comes with hearing just how exciting Dark Connection is, but even if you aren’t me, this album might be the purple-plated, moussed-up, flash-dancing arcade that sets the high score for the year.

Beast In Black’s first two albums were absolutely addicted to synthesizers, as any three-second clip of any track will prove, and yet somehow that wasn’t enough. Where Berserker and From Hell With Love approached the instrument as a useful and stylish mechanism for injecting cheese directly into the bloodstream, Dark Connection has six Yanni-grade banks of keyboards plugged straight into its cyberbrain and pumping disgustingly gorgeous neon pulses of fried cyberpunk nightclub at a rate of 1000 Europe units per minute. This isn’t just music to dance to – it’s music to DDR MAX 2 THE EXTREME to, four all the way through the goddamn floor, zig-zags of strobe lights burning all the way into your synapses, bigger bounces than if you dropped Flubber off Tokyo Tower. Dark Connection sounds denser and heavier than ever before, as if you’re hacking and slashing your way through layers of disco-infested undercity on your way to detonate a frag grenade in the brain of the world-computer megaframe. The last two albums actually sound lean by comparison, and I never thought I’d be looking back at “Beast In Black” or “End Of The World” and thinking, “Gosh, these could use a couple more layers of everything.”

Gang vocals do a lot more of the dirty work around chorus-time, which gives us a bit less time with Anton Kabanen’s trademark screams, but Yannis Papadoupolos continues to increase his voltage in the front; he carries a bit of a rasp on this album, and that huskiness serves to bridge the gap between him and Kabanen while also covering every hook in a beautifully sinful aggression. It’s amusing to note that, between the two covers at the end of the album, it’s the Manowar song that feels more out of place than the Michael Jackson song; after hearing their version of “They Don’t Care About Us,” it’s hilariously obvious just how much Yannis takes after the King of Pop in his vocal delivery.

I’m prepared to say that this is Beast In Black’s strongest album yet; I find Berserker heavily weighted on either end, and I’m still gearing up for a renewed assault on From Hell With Love to convince myself that I like it. Dark Connection is just a straight shot of bruising bigness from start to finish, with none of the filler and twice the octane. It’s a bit weird hearing songs about Blade Runner instead of Berserk, but in case you don’t know this, Blade Runner is an amazing movie. So is Blade Runner 2049. So is Ghost In The Shell. Johnny Mnemonic is... fun. It may be that single-mindedness that takes Dark Connection to a level that From Hell With Love could not ascend to. It may be that now, more so than ever, I feel a concerted projection that Beast In Black is not a Battle Beast offshoot – it’s a band in its own right with its own sound and style. For the nonce I still find the highest highs on Berserker, but Dark Connection puts up serious competition in tunes like “One Night In Tokyo,” “Bella Donna,” “Moonlight Rendezvous,” “Blade Runner,” “Hardcore,” and, well, all of them, and in terms of performance, production, overall sound, and album cohesion, this is definitely the best yet.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 8





Written on 25.10.2021 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 201 users
25.10.2021 - 11:22
nikarg
Mod
This is a very enthusiastic review, it is clear you had fun with the music.
I am waiting to listen to the whole album, but I have to say that I did not like the first two singles at all. I did love both previous albums though.
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25.10.2021 - 11:31
FeskarN

I'm very eager to hear this album and even more after this review. I have read also some reviews that this is their heavyiest album yet. So I'm excited about that too!
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The Land Is Silent... Before The Storm!
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25.10.2021 - 11:56
musclassia

Written by nikarg on 25.10.2021 at 11:22

This is a very enthusiastic review, it is clear you had fun with the music.
I am waiting to listen to the whole album, but I have to say that I did not like the first two singles at all. I did love both previous albums though.


I was surprised to see that this was SSUS's first 9+ score in 2 years; for some reason I thought he gave them out far more frequently, but I think it's just because of what albums do get it (that previous 9+ score was a 9.7 for Sabaton's most recent record), you just assume that there must be loads of albums getting such high scores in that case

I have not been a fan of Beast In Black by any means thus far, but given the glowing review from our Editor-In-Chief, I'll give this new one a listen to see if I can be won over this time
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25.10.2021 - 12:35
Zap

Written by musclassia on 25.10.2021 at 11:56

that previous 9+ score was a 9.7 for Sabaton's most recent record

A Sabaton album doesn't get released without SSUS giving it at least a 9, I think that's one of Metal Storm's rules at this point
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And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
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25.10.2021 - 14:46
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by nikarg on 25.10.2021 at 11:22

This is a very enthusiastic review, it is clear you had fun with the music.
I am waiting to listen to the whole album, but I have to say that I did not like the first two singles at all. I did love both previous albums though.

I think we need booze and dancing chicks and a lot of booze to listen it in it's entry.
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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25.10.2021 - 23:46
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by musclassia on 25.10.2021 at 11:56

Written by nikarg on 25.10.2021 at 11:22

This is a very enthusiastic review, it is clear you had fun with the music.
I am waiting to listen to the whole album, but I have to say that I did not like the first two singles at all. I did love both previous albums though.


I was surprised to see that this was SSUS's first 9+ score in 2 years; for some reason I thought he gave them out far more frequently, but I think it's just because of what albums do get it (that previous 9+ score was a 9.7 for Sabaton's most recent record), you just assume that there must be loads of albums getting such high scores in that case

That's shocking to me, since I believed my own reputation of handing out 9+ scores like candy, but you're right - and the last time I gave out a 9+, it was for Chthonic, who are one of my favorite bands anyway. This was a terribly exciting first listen, though, and it's been a while since I was this stoked for a new release. This is going straight into album-of-the-year competition.
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"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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26.10.2021 - 00:40
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Awesome review, I have been looking forward to this one.

Time to retro-disco again :-)
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26.10.2021 - 01:08
Grom

What a fun review, I didn't think my anticipation for this album could get any higher. Also "disgustingly gorgeous neon pulses of fried cyberpunk nightclub" is my new way of describing this music.
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Amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.
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26.10.2021 - 02:44
M C Vice
ex-polydactyl
The review is giving me Blood Stain Child's Epsilon vibes.
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"Another day, another Doug."
"I'll fight you on one condition. That you lower your nipples."
" 'Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!"
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14.11.2021 - 17:06
Mr Sausage

Best album of 2021 by a distance!
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