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Thunderstone
Tools of Destruction
May 2005
Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

This is a becoming a recurring duty for me. Thunderstone releases a new CD and invariably it ends up on my desk to review. That’s ok in my books because Thunderstone is one of the best bands to come along in the last 5 years. The resurgence of powermetal resulted in tons of bands being signed. Some better than others but Thunderstone has consistently proven that their popularity is not a fluke. With each album they step up to the plate and up their output by a notch or 2. The latest release from the Thunderstone camp is TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION. Prolific might be the word I would choose to describe the recording habits of the band. It was only a little over a year ago that they released THE BURNING. That CD was my #2 pick for 2004 so needless to say that I was looking forward to seeing how the band would approach TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION.



As with their previous work, Thunderstone have chosen to go with 10 songs on the release with the digi-pak version containing 2 bonus tracks. Kicking off TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION is “Tool of the Devil”. Right out of the starting gates this track makes it case for the best song that Thunderstone have released in their career. Songwriter/guitar player Nino Laurenne has a gift for writing metal songs that retain their heaviness yet contain hooks galore. His thrash roots with Antidote certainly help him with the heaviness factor but his ability to write catchy tunes must be a gift from the metal gods. “Without Wings” kicks everything into high gear with a great speedy headbanging track that surprisingly wasn’t one of this writer’s favourites upon initial spins of the CD but with steady listening it has grown to become one of the discs strongest songs. With all of the strong material on TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION, including the aforementioned “Tool of the Devil”, one song sticks out because of its message as much as its music. “I Will Come Again”, along with its infectious sing along chorus, tells of someone who has slipped into darkness when it seems they have had a shining past. He is in the depths of despair till he realizes that he can pull himself out of the darkness with a positive mind and his own free will. This is an interesting song in that it relates to what people go through everyday as we make our way through life. The subject matter covered in the song is much different than that covered by many metal lyrics. Again the introspective lyrics continue on the masterful closing track “Land of Innocence”. The epic 8 minute mid tempo track deals with the possibilities of starting our lives all over again and how we would do things differently. “Land of Innocence” is a very powerful song and the perfect way to end the CD.



I think one of the keys to Thunderstone’s success is their ability to keep a steady lineup. Each CD seems to build on its predecessor. Vocalist Pasi Rantanen has again taken the next step in his vocal style. With each CD he gets better in not just his range but also his phrasing and, dare I say it, soul. The band also continues to move farther away from the traditional powermetal sound as there is more variety throughout the disc with even a few sections that are heavier than what the band has tried before. With TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION Thunderstone has moved to the upper echelon of the metal genre and it will only be a matter of time before everyone knows it.
Track Listing

01. Tool of the devil
02. Without wings
03. Liquid of the kings
04. I will come again
05. Welcome to the real
06. The last song
07. Another time
08. Feed the fire
09. Weight of the world
10. Land of innocence

Lineup

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


Next review: » Thunderstone - Tools of Destruction
Thunderstone
Tools of Destruction
July 2005
Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast/Sound Pollution
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Thunderstone was formed by Nino who earlier played with the Finnish thrash band Antidote. The band consists of Pasi, Titus and Mirka and that have been the steady line up until this day. The guys recorded a demo that gained quite good reviews in the Scandinavian press and shortly after that came Kari on keyboards along for the ride.



Some serious work on the material began and the band went shortly after that into Sonic Pump Studio in Helsinki Finland to record the debut album THUNDERSTONE. As a result of that the band landed a record deal with their current label and opened also up for a support tour through Europe with Stratovarius as head act. By that tour the band gained a lot of fans that waited eagerly to hear what their follow up THE BURNING would sound like. The bio says the following about that album “THE BURNING surprised people and press alike setting new standards for the band. The name THUNDERSTONE was spreading world wide and the reactions were incredible. The THUNDERSTONE virus spread out through fans in Finland and the rest of the world”.



As the bio already mentioned there are 10 tracks on the album and you can guess by looking at the titles what kind of metal these guys plays. The digi pack version of the album includes two bonus tracks and on the Japanese version it features a cover of the Dio track “Rainbow in the dark”.



Thunderstone delivers well played and strong melodic power metal jammed with different tempo changes and it sounds like the guys have worked really hard with the material. There are a lot of keyboard parts, melodic guitar tunes and a steady use of double bass pedal as always in this genre. The choruses are extremely catchy and stick in your brain instantly. The standard ballad is called “Another Time” that’s a mix of both ballad and uptempo ballad. The only uptempo ballad is “Land of Innocence”. To paint an even clearer picture of what this bands music sounds like I’d say that there are influences of both heavy metal and neo-classical metal here and there.



Pasi’s voice fits excellent to this bands music and Nino, as the only guitar player, are really skilled to say the least. The rhythm section lays a solid foundation for the other members to stand on and Kari is quite impressive behind his keys.



Even if this band doesn’t add anything out of the ordinary to this genre it works pretty good. I think they have a really nice production and set of songs as well as skilled people in the band and some pretty good and catchy songs. The only negative thing I can come up with is that the music has a slight tendency of being a bit too melodic sometimes.



Favorite tracks are “Tool of the devil”, “I will come again”, “Liquid of the kings”, “The last song” and “Feed the fire”.
Track Listing

Tool of the devil
Without wings
Liquid of the kings
I will come again
Welcome to real
The last song
Another time
Feed the fire
Weight of the world
Land of innocence

Lineup

Pasi Rantanen – lead vocals
Nino Laurenne – guitar, b-vox
Kari Tornack – keyboards
Titus Hjelm – bass, b-vox
Mika Rantanen – drums


Next review: » Thunderstone - TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION





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