Thunderstone - _Evolution 4.0_
(Nuclear Blast, 2007)
by: Yiannis Stefanis (8.5 out of 10)
Not all power metal bands from Finland sound, or are trying to sound, like Stratovarius. Yes, this may indeed sound really hard to believe but the quintet that goes by the name of Thunderstone proved the validity of the above-mentioned statement by releasing _Tools of Destruction_ back in 2005. This was a modern sounding power metal album whose musical foundations were built upon the music of the most classic representatives of the 80s Hard Rock scene. Two years following that release Nino Laurenne's (guitars) band is back with _Evolution 4.0_ - an even more impressive album that will further strengthen their position as one of the most impressive outfits of the modern power metal scene.

An album of such diversity, capable of presenting the listener with an impressive display of heavy riffs and breathtaking melodies, did not leave an open-minded metal fan such as myself with any other option than that of total addiction and songs like "Forevermore" are certainly to be blamed for putting me in such a condition. Nino Laurenne's contribution on the guitars is once again beyond criticism, but the answer to which is the most important "weapon" in the band's musical arsenal, should really only feature Pasi Rantanen's (vocals) in it. His strong and passionate performances in "Roots of Anger" and "10.000 Days" give not only a certain epic flair to the character of this outfit, but it also proves how easy it is for a band like Thunderstone to stand side by side with some of the heaviest bands of the genre.

The modern approach followed by Thunderstone in the creation of _Evolution 4.0_ will certainly bring forth comparisons with bands like Evergrey (check out the opening guitar/keyboard theme in "Face in the Mirror" or the main melody in "The Source") and will create a beautiful contrast with "Down With Me" and "Solid Ground". The former is a beautiful heavy ballad whose keyboard solo carries the signature of Jon Lord (Deep Purple) and the latter is the ‘battlefield’ where the best musical qualities of Deep Purple and Dream Theater are fighting for absolute dominance. Thunderstone go as far in their experimentation as to use a Sepultura-sounding riff as the opening theme in "Swirled", but their real musical identity is evident in "Holding on to my Pain" - a brilliantly performed composition that reconciles every difference between the classic and the new.

Bands with real artistic vision are so hard to find nowadays and Thunderstone definitely falls in this elusive category. Even though they have managed to create a very distinct sound early in their career, the five Finns seem to be in constant search of new forms of expression: a process whose result is clearly audible in _Evolution 4.0_, an album that fans of metal should proudly display in their collection. I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to such quality releases from the band in the future.


(article published 1/5/2007)

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