Battle Born – Battle Born – EP Review

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Artist: Battle Born

Album Title: Battle Born

Label: Independent Release

Date of Release: 26 June 2020

There are times when you just have to embrace the silliness. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy it when all the stops are pulled out in the pursuit of entertainment? And when it comes to classic power metal, silliness is one of the vital ingredients. Rhapsody Of Fire singing about forests of Elves and all manner of mythical creatures, Manowar’s preposterous battle lyrics, and ‘happy, happy Helloween’s ode to the Gameboy are just a few examples right off the bat. I’m sure you can think of a thousand more besides.

The fact then that Battle Born, the latest UK band to make a mark on the power metal scene, veer dangerously close to the absurd, should come as no surprise. With just about every one of the five songs mentioning the word ‘metal’ multiple times, cheesy and cliched lyrics elsewhere, and their very existence apparently based around the Skyrim video game (yes, I had to ‘google’ what Skyrim was!), this quintet have not left anything in the locker on this self-titled, debut EP.

Initially, I was not sold on the content of ‘Battle Born’. I found the lyrics massively toe-curling, some of the vocals I thought were a little ropey when delivered at a lower range, and when the band shout ‘Bring the metal, bring the metal back’ at one stage, they sound less like battle-hardened warriors and more like public schoolboys after a couple of wine spritzers. And, whilst these will be reason enough for some to maintain a wide berth, something very important helped to change my mind: the music.

After a few spins of this twenty-five-minute EP, it is difficult to remain so mealy-mouthed and miserable. As all good power metal should do, the material gets its claws in you, sweeps you up, and carries you away on the crest of a wave of testosterone, leather and long hair whipping in the wind.

Right off the bat, the title track makes an impression, blending melody with fast riffs, up-tempo rhythms and lashings of keys for good measure. The chorus is suitably epic and memorable, a hook-laden slice of power metal goodness. Lightning-fast lead guitar solos are also present, along with a vocalist in Jack Reynolds that has a satisfyingly robust set of pipes, hitting some high notes with aplomb. Assisted by some choral, battle-cry backing vocals, it is a rousing way to begin.

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‘Bring The Metal Back’ begins quietly before launching into a thunderous, wailing and gnashing affair, complete with galloping rhythms and a decidedly heavier, more in-you-face guitar tone. The melodies are utterly infectious and the sounds of battle in the background, such as the drawing of a swords actually makes the fare even more enjoyable. Yes it is a little silly, as is the mid-song quiet break, but it works especially when the immediate aftermath sees some keyboard histrionics alongside the powerful metal fare. Even the aforementioned ‘schoolboy’ moment starts to work in an oddly satisfying way.

There’s a much more 80s hard rock/classic metal approach within ‘Man Of War’. It’s a great track, led by some great riffs and swathes of keys over a pulsing bass in the verses. The lyrics are ludicrous but when the music itself is this disarmingly entertaining, I don’t even care. Naturally any self-respecting power metal band will indulge themselves in a spot of balladry, and Battle Born are no different. Their offering is ‘For Our Home’ and despite being sweeter and sicklier than a vat of candyfloss, it is delivered with complete commitment and panache. The vocals descend into a deeper well at points and they sound a little forced at points. But aside from that niggle, there can be no arguing with the melodic, saccharine composition that begs for an accompaniment of dry ice, a wind machine and epic mountaintop shots. I defy you to not get caught up in those damn melodies. It’s impossible and in spite of yourself, you’ll be smiling in no time.

The final word goes to ‘Sovngarde Awaits’, which is an homage to the Nordic afterlife in Skyrim. It is equal parts muscular trad metal and blistering melodic power metal, creating something rather anthemic in the process. It’s a great way to finish off the all-too-brief EP.

Despite being over in a flash, Battle Born have set out to achieve what I suspect they firmly had in mind: Get in, make a massive impression, and then depart, leaving those who have listened wanting more. After being remarkably sceptical at the outset, I have well and truly fallen for the charms of this EP. I genuinely cannot wait to see what the future holds for this brand new power metal outfit; whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be a fun and adventurous ride.

The Score of Much Metal: 85%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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