|Thunderstone: Tools Of Destruction
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-09 22:18:24
Thunderstone is a very good power-metal band. That one, simple sentence sums up Tools of Destruction - but to give the band its due, let's elaborate:
There is little 'progressive' about Thunderstone's music. It is pure power-metal, with everything that is good and bad about that genre. All the elements are there - the upbeat songs, the keyboard orientation, the strong guitar work, the pretentious demons-and-wizards presentation, and the excellent clean vocals often sung with a 2- and 3-part backing chorus. The songwriting is not exceptional, but certainly solid, and every aspect of this record is well executed, finely polished, and nicely produced. True to the genre, most songs here have good melodic hooks and there's a high-energy vibe to the music that is driven by a solid riff-oriented rhythm and many breathless sections dominated by double-kick and that sunny disposition that is peculiar to power-metal. Heck - this isn't new. We said something similar in our review of their previous album, The Burning. There's no questioning the class and quality of Thunderstone's music. The only thing you may wish for is a little more originality, and greater variety from song to song.
The strongest performance on Tools of Destruction is Pasi Rantanen's singing. His voice is pure metal - pitch-perfect, upper-ranged, just a bit gritty and with no falsetto wailing - in the vein of a Jorn Lande. As good as the singing is, though, the album tends to be a bit too vocals-oriented and would benefit from more restraint in this area, and a little more diversity.
Finland's Thunderstone was formed in 2000, and this is their third CD - including a demo released early in their career. The album comprises 10 tracks spread over 52 minutes, and a digipack version has 2 extra bonus tracks. Other than the obligatory power ballad "Another Time" there's a lot of similarity from song to song, but the standout tracks are the opening track "Tool Of the Devil" and the excellent closing piece, the 8-minute "Land Of Innocence" which is a showcase for what Thunderstone ought to strive toward in their next CD. You can't easily criticize any aspects of Thunderstone's performance. It is refined, solid, and really, virtually faultless. All it needs to make the the big leagues of fellow countrymen Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius is a little more flair and a lot more imagination.