Released: 2007, HMC
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Ok, I gotta admit I hardly ever go back in time any more to tune my stereos for some classic hard rock stuff that bands churned out a lot in the golden ´80s. However, I do sometimes tend to make exception to this rule by being shamelessly in a nostalgic mood for some catchy hard rock stuff that turned my head more often than my beloved grandmom´s hot pancakes ever did.
Sturm und Drang, these 5 sensational youngsters from Finland (the average age of the band members is hardly 16), have obviously got some extraordinary remarkable vitamins through their mothers´ milk because they have ingeniously, in a weird, but great way, managed to absorb things from that ´80s hard rock era into their own sound, and spiced them up with doses of today´s somewhat trend-ish power metal, too. Sturm und Drang strongly rely on catchy choruses, mind-capturing hooks and overall very well executed songs that can be easily adopted by any fans of melodic hard rock/metal. In fact, I can see LEARNING TO ROCK appealing f.ex. to the fans from The Scorpions to Iron Maiden to Sonata Arctica because one is able to spot some clear echoes from all those directions for sure. Despite these fellows´ youth, they play like any other more experienced and established band out there. André Linman, who both plays guitar and sings in the band, is pretty phenomenal especially with his vocals as he doesn´t sound like a guy his age at all. He even sounds more mature than the Finnish Idols winner, Ari Koivunen - and overall seems to be a light year ahead of Ari as far as his vocal technique and overall attractiveness of his voice are all concerned. Also, many people will surely be amazed by Alexander Ivars´ highly skilled guitar playing. This young guitar wizard is extraordinary skilled at playing solos, and his lead work is constantly on an admirable level.
As for standout tracks on this very impressive debut of theirs, of course the 1st single song "Rising Son" is naturally such one, but one is also able to find some potential competitors in the form of such tracks as "Broken", "Talking to Silence", "Forever" and "Learning to Rock" that all - in fact, represent one of the key factors in Sturm und Drang´s songs: sounding extremely catchy. These guys are gifted by doing ballad type of songs, too. "Indian" is about a perfect example of that. The band´s creativity in writing an albumful of very strong material, in unquestionable. And the more you think of their age, the more amazed you actually become by thinking of it.
LEARNING TO ROCK is a great debut album from such a young band that Sturm und Drang is. It´s no wonder either that a major German label Gun Records wanted to get this young Finnish talent under their strong wings of success.