The Beasts in Black announced a change in their line-up. Sami Hänninen parted with the band due to “new circumstances” in his life, as he explains online and lasting health issues with his left hand. As he has been a friend of Anton Kabanen, as he mentioned back in summer 2017, long before the band was founded no surprise they part as friends. Sami opens the slot for “an absolute BEAST of a drummer”, as he describes Atte Palokangas who is well known for his activities in many bands – most of all perhaps for Thunderstone with whom he toured supporting Sonata Arctica on continental Europe only in April 2017.
But actually he is the drummer of so many bands that is hard to avoid him if more than three Finnish bands meet on a festival. So no surprise I ran into him on the Metal Crane Festival in Helsinki lately where he played the furious opening gig with Among the Prey. But you will also see him with Agonizer, for example. Or you may recall him from Before the Dawn or noticed him playing live with Waltari. And now, he is a Beast in Black, officially.
Although, not only now. Actually he has stood in for Sami on all the tour activities of the Beasts back in autumn/winter 2017. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to experience Sami live so I have no idea what I missed. But when Beast in Black started preparing for their tours and photos of Atte announced him joining the band on their journey I was more than pleased that he would stand in.
How did Atte and the other Beasts in Black find together, I asked Anton when I met him some weeks back. “I met a friend of mine, a drummer, who recommended Atte”, he tells me and I can’t hide my enthusiasm: “He is amazing!” – “Yeah. Atte is like perfect guy. It’s always kind of risky when you don’t know a guy and ask him to fill in on a tour. But he ended up being perfect guy. Very professional. Great drummer. Great personality.” – “And very entertaining for the audience”, I add while memories of that Thunderstone gig flicker through my mind. “Yeah, exactly. That as well.” – “I mean; he alone could fill a live program.” – “Yeah and he is always smiling! Positive. That fits to us.” – “Absolutely”, I agree, although honestly spoken I had no proof so far. But I got that only minutes later. Atte really is perfectly complementing their shows. His bea(s)tific smile, his childlike joy when drumming and marvellous talent as an entertainer – I can’t get enough of that and it so much fits their attitude.
The Beasts in Black had their first ever headlining show only last night in Jyväskylä’s Lutakko. After all I have heard so far, it was sensational experience. They spiced their own songs from the incomparable “Berserker” album with some cover songs from WASP and added some from Anton’s Battle Beast era. The show was sold-out such as is the next one tonight. And from next week on they join Rhapsody on their anniversary tour through South and central Europe, but also the UK and Sweden. No doubt they will conquer the hearts of the fans all over.