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I'm not exactly sure why, but the initial vibe I got from this release wasn't the good one I maintain now. I think the colors and awkward attempt at a menacing cover bearing a notebook-like, etched title subconsciously stirred up the wrong impression for me. Regardless, the slick and classy power metal album at hand here has actually got a lot going for it.
"Flower" accusations be damned, as Thunderstone give us muscular and infectious metal with Tools of Destruction, played in that great classic-metal-on-steroids fashion that a lot of us wish was more of a commonality in power metal. Vocalist Pasi Rantanen contributes heavily to the testosterone of the enjoyable adventure presented; bearing a gritty, almost Jorn Lande-like style. This is a healthy aspect, forgoing the usual, sometimes prissy good-guy voices of the aforementioned "flower" metal scene. Don't get me wrong. I actually dig that style as well. It's just...dammit! Sometimes I need a little more heft, not that we have Gravedigger on our hands here, but...) Thunderstone delivers. What we have here is a collection of memorable melodies, creative, mid-paced, and slightly chuggy rhythms, hard rock flavors tastefully injected into it's metal spine, topped off with adequate and impressive musicianship.
Te occasional synth-lead and rhythmic interplay once again bring to mind Jorn's Masterplan stuff, albeit a bit lighter on the prog, as Thunderstone are definitely a straightforward camp. Yet, any hints at greats like Masterplan (maybe even a bit of Firewind) are a good thing. The group's ability to dynamically distribute savory aspects with the right amount of meticulousness is undeniably impressive, as an intelligent band knows that good songwriting prevails over too much flash any day. Providing bits of showiness once the quality is firmly in tact is- in Thunderstone's case- what they have going for them.
Production-wise, Tools of Destruction comes off clear, balanced (save for the slight lack of bass), and just hard-hitting enough. There's minimal filler, and one's mood tends to nod toward the realms of pumped and uplifted once the listener indulges willingly. I certainly recommend letting yourself get into this one.
Having never actually heard of this band before, I downloaded this medley they had made of all the tracks on their album (I guess it was their promo), and decided it sounded like pretty decent power metal. So I went in to my local record store, and ordered it. And I have to say, it was a good choice.
The album starts out with a great track, Tool of the Devil. This awesome bass line starts out with drums behind it, and then after a good run of it the guitar cranks up and slides in and plays over it. It's just a perfect way to start an album. The lyrics are very well written, and the singing is really good and different for a power metal album. Their vocalist has a very distinct sound as he switches from a softer to a louder type of singing. Very tasteful guitar solo too.
After that, the next tracks are decent (though slightly generic), mostly all at a pretty steady and high upbeat tempo. A few of them even have predominant keyboards, which is pretty cool. Then you get to Another Time which has an accoustic intro with a clean guitar playing over it, and then vocals... A very well done mix there too. The guitar kicks in properly, but there isn't a major tempo shift.
Then after one more song in between, there's the ending track Land of Innocence which starts out with this little piano intro. The guitar and bass and drums kick in over that while the piano is still going, and it is a very cool sound. It's a good twist on the old sound of power metal.
Honestly, if you want some decent thought slightly generic power metal, you'll be pleased with this album. Heck, it's worth it just for the title track Tool of the Devil and the 8 minute long ending track. And these guys don't seem to try and be funny power metal like GWAR or Manowar, this a more traditional style like Dio or HammerFall or Blind Guardian... Albeit not quite as good, but still worth a listen.