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Thunderstone - 'Dirt Metal' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/af/7f/d6/593_ThunderstoneDirtMetal_1285009783.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 20, 2010    
 
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Heavier and darker than any of the previous albums from the band.

It’s been over three years since the release of ‘Evolution 4.0’ and the power metal band’s fifth album finds them with two new members amongst their personnel: vocalist Rick Altzi (whose third gig this is as he also sings with AtVance and Sandalinas) and keyboardist Jukka Karinen (also with prog metal band Status Minor).

Heavier and darker than any of the previous albums from the band, I have struggled to connect with much of what is on offer here. Gone is the vocal sheen and the glorious choruses of yore (come back Pasi Rantenen!) and also most of the neo-classical references leaving us with a much more one-dimensional – though solid – album of songs that include some interesting ideas here and there, but mainly fail to properly ignite into anything really special. The move away from past glories is nowhere more obvious than on the absolutely dire ‘Star’ where Tomi Joutsen guests with abrasive shouted and growling counterpoint vocals. This may very well signal Thunderstone’s attempt to attract a new audience, but it will sure as hell alienate those of us who have travelled with the band thus far. The song actually has quite a decent chorus, but the rest…oh dear! This does contrast with the relatively wonderful ‘Counting Hours’ – a great song, amongst the band’s best: but so desperately needing Rantenen’s vocals.

Elsewhere songs such as the title track, ‘Dodge The Bullet’ and the concluding epic ‘Suffering Song’ (which actually has some pretty decent harmony vocals, and a wonderful acoustic guitar coda) continue to provide some hope that the band will rediscover its former glories, but overall this is a major disappointment, and prospective purchasers should proceed with caution!

Paul Jerome Smith

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