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Thunderstone: Tools Of Destruction

Thunderstone not only has a fantastic name but also a very solid stand on the Heavy Metal genre. Their sophomore release of Tools Of Destruction on Nuclear Blast Records really has some key moments to it. Hailing from Finland, a Country that seems to be responsible for most of the worlds Power Metal these days, the group takes a slightly different direction with their music. They did not follow the gruff vocals and intensity of Children Of Bodom or the Operatic Adventures of Nightwish, but instead deliver a "Traditionally" styled opus that is full of clean vocals on top of truly solid guitars and drums. There is a fair amount of technical precision displayed in such tunes as "The Last Song" which has a nice keyboard riffs over an impressive double-bass drum run and it just draws you into it. When the song "Without Wings" plays you almost feel like you are listening to Sonata Arctica since it could pass for one of this bands tracks. I felt this record was almost like a safe introduction to the world of Power Metal music and I mean this in the most positive way because this was very user-friendly stuff. Great hooks with a nice vocal mix and easy to remember tunes overall. I think this must have been hard on the band to decide which avenue to follow because their fellow Countrymen have achieved amazing success by testing the limits of the Metal genre and instead Thunderstone decide to stick with a more conventional delivery.

The lineup is Pasi Rantanen vocals, Nino Laurenne - guitars & backing vocals, Kari Tornack keyboards, Titus Hjelm - bass & backing vocals, Mirka Rantanen drums. Each member really seems to show their level of talent on the CD and while I don't have their first release The Burning (also on Nuclear Blast Records) it is most probably a lot more of this type of stuff. Either way I shall be looking into it. There are some other tracks that stood out for me, and "Liquid Of The Kings" is one as well as the slow and trudging "Welcome To The Real". I found that the more I listened to this CD the more that I felt that Century Media's Nocturnal Rites are a perfect companion band to this one. Fans of Whitesnake and Dio and even Deep Purple will appreciate this release. It's a high recommendation for those seeking a familiar style brought to you by a new face. Check it out.

Track List
1. Tool Of The Devil
2. Without Wings
3. Liquid Of The Kings
4. I Will Come Again
5. Welcome To The Real
6. The Last Song
7. Another Time
8. Feed The Fire
9. Weight Of The World
10. Land Of Innocence

Added: March 10th 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Thunderstone Website
Hits: 3319
Language: english

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Thunderstone: Tools Of Destruction
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-09 22:18:24
My Score:

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.

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