At about the halfway point of Salvation By Fire, the high-octane (if unoriginal) metal of Finland's Burning Point kicks into overdrive. Up until that point, this debut album relies on stereotypical riffs and rhythms (plus song titles like "Lake of Fire" and "Fall of Thy Kingdom") that fail to make a solid case for the quartet. But when twin guitarists Pete Ahonen and Jukka Kyrö rip into the opening lick of "Black Star," Burning Point up the ante and prove they're more than just another by-the-numbers power metal band influenced by the likes of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Yngwie Malmsteen.
The latter half of Salvation By Fire contains furious speed metal ("Stealer of Light," "Signs of Danger"), mid-tempo, riff-heavy rockers ("Black Star," "The One") and progressive-tinged epics (the seven-minute-plus title track). Each song is punctuated by Ahonen's distinct voice, which boasts considerably more depth than many of his peers and begs for comparisons to Geoff Tate's deeper-voiced moments. If the catchy choruses, fluid guitars, and molten rhythm section dynamics that Burning Point display on much of Salvation By Fire carry over onto the band's next effort, these guys could join Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica as some of metal's finest Finns.
Burning Point also earns a bonus point for Salvation By Fire's captivating artwork -- drawn by comic-book artist Bob Eggleton -- that portrays a fiery eye-catching image of mountains, water and a small village.