After getting a go at the North American fanbase a few times with Kamelot in 2018 and last year, as well as gracing the stages of the heartbeat of the US progressive and power metal scene that is ProgPower USA, it is incredibly past due for Finnish-based Battle Beast to bring their amazing flavor of power metal to this side of the Atlantic!  Sweetening the deal that is the “Circus of Doom over North America 2024” tour, Blackbriar, hailing from the Netherlands, opens up the evenings on this amazing tour, sharing with North American audiences their unique melancholic gothic metal masterpieces live for the first time.

After arriving at Toronto’s famed Opera House mere minutes before Blackbriar went on (thanks, legendarily bad Toronto traffic!), I noticed that the room felt incredibly full – the show had to be almost sold out, as it was difficult to work my way to the front to gain access to the photo pit. The crowd was very much under the spell of the captivating and unique voice of frontwoman Zora Cock from the first moments of their set, and she seemed very much in her element in front of these new crowds as she would at home in the Netherlands.  The rest of the band was also quite entertaining to watch, especially bassist Siebe Sol Sijpkens, who was a fountain of endless energy as he cavorted across the stage!  Lighting at The Opera House is on point, and whoever was LD for this set was doing a great job using the system in the venue.  To be honest, I’m very happy to see this band make it over here – I’ve had the great fortune of seeing Blackbriar open for Epica in the Netherlands in 2019, and I’ve been waiting very patiently for them to end up over on this side of the pond.  They really seem to be hitting their stride, and I look forward to their eventual return.


After a quick changeover, Battle Beast took the stage directly at 9:30 PM, blasting right into “Circus of Doom” followed by “Straight to the Heart!”  Frontwoman Noora Louhimo is incredibly powerful as a singer whose on-stage charisma is over the top, and there was no exception here – dancing the entire time as well!  The rest of the band is also very engaging, where moments like Janne Björkroth pouring Jack Daniels and Cokes for the crowd make the show very memorable.  Setlist-wise, things were relatively standard, with hits like “Bastard Son of Odin,” “Eden,” “Beyond the Burning Sky,” “King for a Day,” and “No More Hollywood Endings” comprising the bulk of the setlist – but that is no problem, as these tracks are made of pure catchiness!  

Overall, this tour was well worth the four-hour jaunt up the 401 from Detroit to catch, and I’m sure they will return in this capacity, as the crowd was definitely buying what the Finns were selling!

Battle Beast