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Epic fantasy power metal that packs a punch - 70%

TrooperOfSteel, April 30th, 2012

The fantasy related power metal genre’s population has just increased by 1, with Finnish group Thaurorod finally releasing their debut CD entitled ‘Upon Haunted Battlefields’. Forming in 2002, the name Thaurorod originates from a fiction language spoken by elves in the J.R.R. Tolkien novels called Quenya, and the translation means Evil Mountain. Yeah, it’s a bit geeky, much like those who claim to speak Klingon, but at least the name is definitely unique and different. It is also adequate, considering Thaurorod’s sound is fantasy-based symphonic/epic power metal, with a touch of melodic metal thrown into the grand mix. This is the perfect type of power metal when watching men clash swords with orcs and ogres throughout the land of middle-earth.

Releasing three demos from 2005-2007 to a fair amount of acclaim, Thaurorod then signed with Noise Art Records and released its debut album in September of 2010. Five of the eleven tracks on the disc are re-recordings of the original recordings found in the 2nd and 3rd demos the band released, while the remaining 6 tracks are new songs, written for the debut. The band has also gone through a fair amount of vocalists since their inception; with six singers going through the revolving door, including Markku Kuikka who sung on the debut CD. Kuikka left the band shortly after the release, and replaced by Michele Luppi (Killing Touch, ex-Vision Divine).

Thaurorod’s music in its grand and epic power metal nature, would appeal to a vast arrange of metal fans. Similarities that come to mind when hearing Thaurorod reminds me of bands such as Fairyland, Dragonforce, Stratovarius, Alestorm, Sonata Arctica and also early Dragonland. The music on the album is quite impressive, with wonderful and crisp lead guitar riffs, hooks and wails, hearty and lengthy solos; not to mention the melodic riffs and supreme keyboards and tempo changes, the atmosphere this all creates really catches your attention. The pummelling double bass and orchestration throughout builds up the music to an epic and bombastic feel, and I’m quite impressed overall with the effort and dedication these guys have put into making this disc.

Where I find ‘Upon Haunted Battlefields’ to fall short, however, has to do with the song-writing. Despite the music being attractive and bombastic to the listener, there are a few songs on the disc which aren’t very memorable. There are no tracks which really stand out far and high above any others on the release, but at least they are all very consistent with one other and they are of a very good quality. I think at times it could be to do with an over-use of the lyrics in certain songs and as a result they become long-winded. This is nothing against the departed Kuikka, his voice is quite harmonious and melodic, and indeed fitting for this type of metal. It is unfortunate that he has decide to part ways with the band, but let’s hope Michele Luppi carries on the great work done so far.

The pick of the bunch I would mention include the album opener “Warrior’s Heart”, which is in fact a great song with a catchy upbeat chorus, followed by the wonderfully melodic “Shadows And Rain”. Again it is the ripping chorus which makes this song so good, as well as Kuikka’s soaring and majestic vocals. The title track “Upon Haunted Battlefields” is another song to get the thumbs up, sporting frequent tempo changes and long instrumental passages throughout; while “Mourning Lake” is another catchy upbeat melodic track after the slow ballad-esque opening.

For a debut, ‘Upon Haunted Battlefields’ continues the trend of metal bands achieving great success and popularity with their first release being heralded with such great quality. Debuts just seem to get better and better these days and Thaurorod can now join this important list as their album has caught everyone by surprise by its immediate impact. Reviews sprinkled about for ‘Upon Haunted Battlefields’ have all been positive thus far, and it is completely understandable why. Fans of the abovementioned bands should take the time to track this one down, while those metalheads who love their fantasy themed epic power metal should already be in the process of finding this CD long before this review has even come to an end.

Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com