HGR CD Review: Lady Beast

LADY BEAST – LADY BEAST (Inferno Records) For those who long for the sound of classic ‘80s-styled heavy metal, Pittsburgh’s Lady Beast offers hope in the form of their self-titled debut CD. Formed five years ago, Lady Beast’s sound is entrenched heavily in the tradition of the early ‘80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal; informed by elements of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Saxon (and to this reviewer’s ears, an obscure ‘80s-era Belgian metal band called Acid, I digress). Rampaging, rapid fire rhythms from bassist Greg Colaizzi and drummer Adam Ramage anchor Lady Beast’s attack, topped with snarling power chords from rhythm guitarist Chris “Twiz” Tritschler and searing solo work from lead guitarist Tommy Kinnett. With a confident style reminiscent of the late Ronnie James Dio, Deborah Levine displays her own brand of power and might on the vocal front; boldly singing out odes to warriors, battles, ambitions and honor. Each of the disc’s eight tracks (plus bonus track) attacks from the get-go and hits quick, jarring the listener into full attention. Opening the disc, the group’s title track and mission statement “Lady Beast” sets the ground rules, with Levine proclaiming “I set the bar, the stakes are high.” Lady Beast genuflects to the metal gods with “Metal Rules,” proclaiming devotion to metal music, its majesty and imagery. Battle themes prevail on “Lost Boys” and “Armor,” while honor and ambition shape the words of “Birthrite” and “Hot Pursuit.” The closest thing to a love song here is “When Desire Is Stronger Than Fear,” a hard-hitting pledge of devotion. Lady Beast closes their official set with the hopeful “Go For the Bait,” before slamming an exclamation point on the disc with their charging bonus track “Ram It Down.” The performances are brisk and go-for-broke, as Lady Beast floors the accelerator and never looks back. Levine’s voice proudly rides atop the mix with strength and range, and the mix allows Lady Beast’s attack to bare full teeth with minimal studio polish. This is old-school-styled metal the way it felt in 1982; Lady Beast’s tenacity and enthusiasm makes it vibrant again in the current age, and this disc should provide an ideal soundtrack for “upping the irons” everywhere. (The digital album can be obtained through the group’s Bandcamp page, www.ladybeast.bandcamp.com. The CD can be obtained through www.inferno-records.net.)