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Worthy of Much More Notoriety - 79%

Skarnek, September 12th, 2012

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.