Battle Beast/Future Palace -

Club Academy, Manchester, Friday, 16th September 2022

A night of two Female fronted European metal bands! First up from Berlin, Future Palace, pink haired tattoed frontwoman, Maria Lessing is up on the monitor with her gentle melodic voice performing opener 'Dead Inside' leading into some nice heavy riffs from guitarist, Manuel Kohlert and all sounds good.

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I’m thinking 'steady sounding rock band here no problem' then we’re into ‘Flames' with its rap intro and scratching electronic beats and all of a sudden a bellowing death roar finds its way from her lungs and hits you head on! What a surprise!

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Double surprise when you also realise there’s no bass player yet they still have this thunderous bottom end to their sound assisted by drummer, Johannes Frenzel tucked away stage right. Maria can switch from death roar to clean melodic easily and as they have brilliant songs its certainly no gimmick.

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The assembled throng of fans were into this band ,who were informed that this was the first UK tour for Future Palace, and gave their appreciation. Other noticeable songs were 'Defeating Gravity' and a personal song, 'Illusions' that is close to Marisa’s heart as she informs us she was a victim of domestic abuse and it's written about that topic. A slower song compared to the rest with an excellent vocal performance. A band certain to be going places!

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Battle Beast from Finland, home of fellow female fronted band, Nightwish, another band with a formidable female singer in Noora Louhimo. She presents a striking figure with her hair turned into Maleficent style horns and bright green corset with a fantastic voice that can do cheery melody to high scream instantly!

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Touring their Sixth album 'Circus of Doom' and the title track is their opening song with keyboard into supplied by Janne Bjorkroth on the keytar- upfront and in your face 80's style!

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Battle Beast sound is very straight down the middle classic Power metal. One anthem after another, strong riffs from the two guitarists crammed onto the fairly small stage, alongside a bassist, a drummer and the aforementioned keytar player bringing out the crunchy Battle Beast sound.

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'Straight To The Heart' rouses the cheers from the crowd as as a shower of sparks shoot up from the stage edge as the pyro bursts into life. These crazy Europeans and their pranks, when mid-set they 'force' Guitarist, Eero Sipila into a performance of 'Whole New World' from 'Aladdin' - phones were up in the air to record that one!

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No more messing round after that as the band powered on with 'Where Angels Fear To Fly' and 'Bastard Son Of Odin' with Noona punching the air to the chorus: “bastard Son of Odin born to kick your ass”. Maybe a larger venue would have been better as previously stated here the stage is too small and judging by the capacity crowd they could have filled one.

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The one-two punch of heavy classics ‘Master of Illusion’ and ‘King For Day’ rounded off the encores and a blistering set where even Noona was emotional at their last UK gig.

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Hope it’s not too long before they’re back –in a bigger venue please!

Review By Mark Bedford

Photographs By John Mather