|Review: Thunderstone - Dirt Metal|
Year released: 2010
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: July 14, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.71/5 (74.12%) (17 Votes)
It's been a long time coming, but here we finally have the fifth release from Finnish hard-hitters Thunderstone, one of the more reliable bands in the Power Metal big leagues that have never released a lackluster album. Until now, sadly. With the departure of the amazing Pasi Rantenen and keyboard prodigy Kari Tornack, we all knew Thunderstone would never be the same, and they aren't, even with current At Vance rasper Rick Altzi taking the mic from Rantenen and trying to fill boots that are rather too big for him. Don't get me wrong, he has a good voice, but this music needs something bigger. In short, it needs Pasi Rantenen on it.
Those gripes aside, Thunderstone have bigger problems here. For a start, the band have moved even further from their speed/neo-classical roots with Dirt Metal, producing an album that is chock to the brim with groove-laden riffs (damn you, Nino Laurenne, where are the harmonies?), slow to mid-paced foot-tappers (what, no double kicking, Mirka?) and, frankly, rather boring choruses where the old belters used to be. Production-wise this thing doesn't pack the same punch as Evolution 4.0 or Tools Of Destruction either, being a heavier but some what more mono affair that never really shakes the walls like the old albums did (and still do).
There are some good songs here, however, some that are certainly worthy of the Thunderstone cannon. "Counting Hours", for example, is one of the best songs the band has penned and without a doubt the choice cut here. Along with the epic "Ghosts of Youth", "Suffering Song" and the tasty title cut, you can tell Thunderstone still have a lot of fire in 'em, but this is far from the flaming conflagration of 2003's The Burning. Plus, there are times here when the band forget who they are, veering dangerously into modern territory with the awful "Star", sounding like a mix of Machine Head and BLS (uh, yuck), and that is frightening coming from a band who used to play songs like "Let The Demons Free" and "Without Wings". My, my. A disappointment, indeed.
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