It’s been a long wait for Lady Beast to release their second album, the appropriately titled ‘II.’ The pride of Pittsburgh recorded the album back in the spring and summer of 2014; however, the CD release did not occur until June 2015 via France’s underrated Inferno Records. Thankfully, the wait was well worth it for fans of twin-guitar traditional U.S. heavy metal. Lady Beast’s mission statement, their manifesto as it were, is encapsulated in the high-powered musical adrenaline rush and heartfelt lyrics of opening track “Heavy Metal Destiny,” whose chorus includes the lines “I pilot this machine, it’s powered by dreams / Together we will live our destiny / Our heavy metal destiny.” Those lines and that song speak volumes concerning the band’s mindset and approach to their craft. This is heroic stuff, worshiping at the altar of what made the genre magnificent in the 1980s yet still feeling alive, powerful and poised to ascend greater heights in 2015.
Lady Beast’s brand of heavy metal is of the decidedly no-frills, old-school, blue-collar variety. Tempos vary from mid-paced to speedy (although the balance tips more towards the former overall), and most of the nine songs hover around the four-minute mark. The dual guitars of Tommy Kinnett and Chris “Twiz” Tritschler are the focal point of Lady Beast’s attack, delivering the kind of top-quality, always-prevalent melodies and harmonies that recall legendary masters like Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy. (Maybe they recall it too much at times, as the opening salvo of “Heroes of Our Time” sounds uncomfortably close to the song “Iron Maiden” before Lady Beast shift gears at the 40-second mark.) Among contemporary bands, the guitarwork might be reasonably compared to the likes of Christian Mistress, Steel Prophet or a peppier, doom-free take on fellow Pittsburghers Argus. The guitar melodies are the engine that powers this Beast, and they range from the effective to the sublime. Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to call the band “Lady Beast” unless there were a female presence in the band, and there is, in the form of vocalist Deborah Levine. Although her voice feels a bit overpowered by the music at times and occasionally it sounds like she’s trying to fit too many syllables into her vocal lines, Levine is a confident and effective singer who reminds me of Sinergy’s Kim Goss in spots.
The bottom line here is straightforward: Lady Beast’s second album is a delightful, well-executed 36-minute romp through classic-metal terrain, with catchy tunes and killer guitars. Sure, this album isn’t revolutionizing the genre, but the material is delivered with such earnestness and passion that it’s difficult to envision even the most jaded gray-bearded trad metal elitist keyboard warrior (and you know who you are) listening to Lady Beast without cracking a smile, tapping a toe and nodding along. For my part, I hope my first encounter with Lady Beast in the live arena happens sooner rather than later, as I’m quite sure these songs, which are enjoyable as hell on disc, would truly shine on a sweaty club stage. I am looking forward to fulfilling that part of my heavy metal destiny soon.
~ Review by Kit Ekman~