Thunder Storm - _As We Die Alone_
(Dragonheart, 2007)
by: Yiannis Stefanis (8 out of 10)
The Italian metal scene has evolved quite dramatically during the last fifteen years, but sadly the main focus of the music industry has always been on the promotion of melodic / power metal bands like Rhapsody and Domine. Thunder Storm is a heavy / doom trio that first appeared during roughly the same period as the above-mentioned bands, but whose music moves in a totally different direction, mainly influenced by the works of bands of divine status like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Candlemass and Trouble.

It is quite easy for most bands to sound dated and repetitive when paying homage to their musical heroes, but the amazing thing about Thunder Storm is that they have managed to come across as a fresh and exciting outfit, while reminding us why albums like _Nightfall_(Candlemass) and _Psalm 9_ (Trouble) are placed so highly in the conscience of metalheads all over the world. Songs like the opening track "Hawking Radiation" are a perfect example of the mentality behind the creation of this release: massive mid-tempo guitar riffs, lyrical / melodic vocals, and simple but catchy refrains compile the musical formula responsible for fifty very enjoyable minutes of good quality heavy metal music.

This marriage between classic heavy metal and doom has found different forms of expression throughout the album, adding to its varied character. Fans of mid-'90s Cathedral should definitely find interest in songs like "Death Rides on the Highway" and "The Mad Monk", but I personally believe that the more classic '80s metal-influenced compositions bring out the passion and talent of this band best. Listening to the main melodic theme of "We Die as We Dream (Alone)" brought back memories of the legendary Scandinavian metal act Artch and their masterpiece _Another Return to Church Hill_, whereas Fabio Bellan's epic vocals and Omar Roncalli's inspiring bass performance in "Hypnowheel of Life" betray the importance that albums like _Heaven and Hell_ (Black Sabbath) had in Thunder Storm's musical upbringing.

The most inspiring composition of the album however is by far "S.L.O.W", where Candlemass-sounding riffs create an oneiric musical landscape in unison with an extensive guitar solo that carries the signature of Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest), while the album's last offering is a modern-sounding cover of Jimi Hendrix's “Voodoo Child” that pays respect to the music of the greatly-missed guitar wizard.

Doom metal is a genre that was defined long before the release of _As We Die Alone_, yet the quality of the ten compositions that are featured in this release, together with the sheer passion that they convey, will definitely appeal to the fans of the genre. Good quality doom / heavy bands are not easy to find nowadays, so feel free to invest in this one!


(article published 5/4/2007)

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