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The Burning
December 2003
Released: 2003, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

Back in the “old” days bands didn’t waste time between album releases. Most groups released albums on a yearly basis and sometimes even faster if you want to look at such heavyweights as Sabbath and Priest who sometimes had a scant 7 or 8 months between discs. Nowadays it seems that many bands wait two and even three or four years between the release dates of their albums. Thunderstone released their self-titled disc a little over a year ago yet here they are back again with their sophomore release simply called THE BURNING.

As with the debut, Thunderstone have just 10 songs on THE BURNING and that is one of the strong points of this CD. There is no filler and every song stands on its own. On THUNDERSTONE the band chose to open the disc with one of their fastest tracks and it set the stage nicely for what would follow. On THE BURNING they have decided to employ the more mid-paced and majestic “Until We Touch The Burning Sun” as the opener. It is an excellent choice as it is one of the strongest songs on this CD. The first thing that grabs my attention is the improvement of the vocals of Pasi Rantanen. His performance is grittier and his delivery is more powerful. This bodes well for the rest of the CD. “Mirror Never Lies” is another of the strong mid tempo tracks on THE BURNING and is a strong contender for the best song on the CD. The new and improved Pasi Rantanen is especially evident on “Forth Into The Black”. It is here that he shines as he snarls his way through the verses with an intensity that brings a new dimension to the Thunderstone sound. In fact the whole CD is slightly darker lyrically and sonically heavier than the debut. I don’t know what accounts for this slight change in sound but it is a welcome improvement. The disc closes with the keyboard driven and keyboard/guitar duel heavy “Evil Within”.

Since hearing Thunderstone’s demo in 2001 I have been keenly interested in this band. Their debut self-titled debut was one of my favourite discs of 2002 so I was slightly worried about how the band would approach their sophomore release. THE BURNING heads in a heavier direction than the debut yet Thunderstone manages to keep the melody intact. I can’t say enough about the vocal performance of Pasi Rantanen. He has added an aggressive element to his performance that brings a rougher edge to the bands sound. On THUNDRSTONE I thought the production was a bit too polished but THE BURNING does not suffer from this problem. The production fits each song and though I would have liked the band to try their hand at even one song that was a little heavier, the 10 songs on this disc contain enough variety to keep my interest even after repeated listens. Thunderstone have created themselves a winner with this CD. I am sure that THE BURNING will find its way into quite a few top 10 lists for this year.
Track Listing

01. Until we Touch the Burning Sun
02. Break the Emotion
03. Mirror never Lies
04. Tin Star Man
05. Spire
06. Sea of Sorrow
07. Side by Side
08. Drawn to the Flame
09. Forth into the Black
10. Evil within


Nino Laurenne - Guitars
Pasi Rantanen - Vocals
Titus Hjelm - Bass
Mirka "Leka" Rantanen - Drums
Kari Tornack - Keyboards

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