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Thunderstone: The Burning

Someone poses the question: "What is power metal?" You would probably tell them that it's principally a Eurpoean style based on the sounds introduced by Helloween in 1985, unlike most metal it mainly uses major keys rather than the doomy, heavy minor chords of other genres of metal, it is usually positive and upbeat, and the sound is often characterized by big 2- and 3-part vocal harmonies with not a grunt to be heard. Or you could simply say "It's like this-" and play them Thunderstone's second album, The Burning.

This Finnish band must be sick of the inevitable Stratovarius comparisons. But those associations are not made just because of a shared national identity they are musically valid. Thunderstone also has a lot in common with fellow Scandinavian/Nordic acts like Sonata Arctica, Nocturnal Rites and Hammerfall.

Frontman Pasi Rantanen's voice has a remarkable range. The standard falsetto wailing seems to come easily, although his delivery is a little rougher than the Kotipeltos of the world, recalling the best of the '80s. But Rantanen shows his versatility in the lower registers, which gives the songwriters latitude to explore a good variety of styles on this album ranging from speed metal to riff-based mid-paced rockers to the inevitable power ballad. The vocals and the solid songwriting are the biggest strengths on this album. The song structures are varied but do not have the complexities or technical flair of progressive metal, but the guitar work is solid, and several passages feature blistering guitar / keyboard interchanges.

We understand the commercial release of The Burning will include digipak versions of six bonus tracks. three covers and three demos of songs from the group's debut.

This album breaks no new ground. It is generic power metal, well played by a very talented quintet, and superbly produced. But then who said it had to be unique? Some music doesn't have to be anything special to be a very nice listen.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Touch The Burning Sun
  2. Break The Emotions >mp3
  3. Mirror Never Lies
  4. Tin Star Man
  5. Spire
  6. Sea Of Sorrow
  7. Side By Side
  8. Drawn To The Place
  9. Forth Into The Black
  10. Evil Within

Added: December 25th 2009
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Thunderstone's Web Site
Hits: 3880
Language: english

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Thunderstone: The Burning
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-12-25 07:26:17
My Score:

***********This is a review of the 2009 remastered/reissued version of The Burning****

Metal Mind Productions is at it again, this time with a reissue of the 2004 release from Finnish power metal act Thunderstone. The Burning is a very capable affair, the original album featuring 10 potent melodic power metal tracks brimming with some catchy hooks, strong vocals, crunchy guitar work, plenty of keyboards, tight grooves, and a smattering of prog-metal styled virtuosity. Thankfully the band doesn't try to out-speed their countrymen like Sonata Arctica or Stratovarius, instead Thunderstone mixes up their attack to include slower, powerful numbers with some raging speed metal. Opening cut "Until We Touch the Burning Sun" is a chunky, melodic rocker, followed by the blistering guitar/keyboard rager "Break the Emotion". This is how most of the CD goes, as the emotional, heartfelt rocker "Mirror Never Lies" follows, giving way to the heavy & manic "Tin Star Man", complete with breakneck double bass drum barrages, searing keys, and crushing power metal styled riffs. The vocals of Pasi Rantanen are very solid throughout The Burning, as he soars to the heavens with the high pitched wails and simmers below the surface with some silky smooth mid range. Prog metal fans will love the use of keyboards here, and there are quite a few unison exchanges that really get to show off the talents of both keyboard player Kari Tornack and guitarist Nino Laurenne.

This reissue contains six bonus tracks, three of which are cover tunes and the other three original pieces. Their version of Metallica's "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" is kind of odd, especially in that Rantanen's Finnish accent really shows through, but on the Judas Priest staple "Diamonds and Rust" the band fares better, as this cover is fueled by some crushing riffs and well placed keyboards. Of the original tunes, "Let the Demons Free" is a raging track, and it's here that similarities to Stratovarius or Helloween pop up, but their more melodic side comes up again on the haunting "Voice in a Dream". Both are excellent numbers and a great addition to this reissue package, which comes in a stunning digipack that mirrors the rest of Metal Mind's offerings.

Overall rating reflects not only a very solid power metal release, but a well done reissue complete with plenty of top notch bonus material.

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