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After the storm comes a forbidding blaze. - 90%

hells_unicorn, August 22nd, 2014
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Nuclear Blast

It wouldn't be much of a stretch to treat Thunderstone as something of a temporary replacement for the then declining power metal mainstay Stratovarius. The two share a good number of stylistic similarities that are pretty difficult to miss, and while the former has a very unique approach to reaffirming an already established sound, by the time their sophomore LP The Burning comes into the picture, they've all but fully adopted the mantle of the latter. That isn't to say that this album has no identity of its own, but given its timing and heavy similarities to the widely heralded late 90s opus Visions, one is free to assert that this is the album that Timo Tolkki and company would have put out following the largely mediocre affair in Infinite had their songwriting been a bit more consistent.

While on their near flawless debut there was a very strong 80s vibe permeating the listen, Thunderstone opts for a sound that's a bit more in line with late 90s practices. This mostly manifests in the character of the guitars and drums, which have a greater degree of punch and less of a distant, traveling from an arena to the audience character to them. In fact, the only thing that really keeps this from being a full out homage (and an excellent one to boot) to 90s Stratovarius is Pasi Rantanen's vocals, which carry the exact same harder edged, slightly raspy character that falls more in line with an iconic 80s heavy metal front man than the post-Kiske, clean as a whistle head-voice style exemplified in Timo Koltipelto. Indeed, one might liken Rantanen's semi-sleazy style to that of a lighter, higher version of David Coverdale.

The song selection on here is a bit more meticulously structured than previously, resulting in an overall listen that's a bit more of a grower than an impact based affair. Faster songs such as "Break The Emotion", "Side By Side" and "Evil Within" hit the ears with more of a tempered, Neo-classical character that emphasizes lead guitar and keyboard themes a bit more, though the second song under consideration here does kick things off with a punchy and thick principle riff that almost reminds of something Gus G might dabble in. Similarly, the album's mid-paced epic crowd fanfare number "Until We Touch The Sun" opts for a shorter duration while still perfectly incorporating the "Soul Of A Vagabond" styled groove and running with it to a more interesting place.

The thrash metal background that the guitarist and bassist of this outfit come out of might come as a shock to anyone first hearing this band given how it listens a lot closer to an affirmation to the opposite end of what constituted the metal spectrum in the 80s. Indeed, the first place that one would be prone to look, insofar as the decade in question is concerned, is to the mid 80s output of Ozzy Osbourne and Yngwe Malmsteen, insofar as this album is concerned. It's a bit more competent than that of Burning Point, a bit less speedy and riff driven than that of Celesty, and not quite as catchy as Dreamtale, but it shares a musical commonality with all of said fellow Finnish outfits to appeal to the same audience. Think of this album's predecessor as the grand lightning strike that started the fire, whereas this album is the towering inferno that results. It's a matter of personal taste as to which is the better album, but both are essential for anyone with a taste for power metal with a strongly melodic bent.

The Burning Passion - 93%

Azurewraith, May 9th, 2009

A mighty album which really gives me the impression of soaring above the skies into space. Thunderstone have always given me this impression that making music is not something hard or tough to make; but an aura which contributes both a good feeling and also the ability to achieve one's wants in an abstract way. This fact about Thunderstone also energizes me, and I bet all those who listen to this album will too.

From what I heard when listening to this album; the first song really got me going with very eccentric raw guitar riffs in the first song: "Until we touch the burning sun". The first and best song on this CD gave me the feeling of rebellion; with above average vocals and lyrics. This really describes a "reality" which would go on unless provoked by a specific weakness or condition. Apart from this song, other songs give a great deal of symphonic guitar riffs; as well as thrash riffs at the same time which promote excess energy in the making.

The transitions between each song is extremely short and hard to even hear for; but transitions wouldn’t be required if you knew what you were doing. This is what I think Thunderstone did. As a passion for power metal, these guys have been around the block; and done subsequent music; but this album in my opinion gave the best meaning out of all the other albums they released. Some songs might be occupied with orchestral instruments; but the combinations of vocals added in promote the music as if it was antique.

When these guys make a song, they always seem to stick to it; and the result might even give off other features to give a better need for their music. Great job overall to the time used up in making this album (however long they took). This album pushes them into my favorites personally. Some songs might be sorrowful or a bit a sad. This does not make them change their image; but instead give out more content which a band is made of. These guys fit in the theme of "Inner Struggles" perfectly; and have certainly used every instrument they know how to use to the max, for example in: "Side by Side".