Often compared to SONATA ARCTICA and STRATOVARIUS, Finnish Metallers THUNDERSTONE deliver here their second effort, entitled “The Burning”. First let me put this clear, I find more NOCTURNAL RITES “Afterlife” era influences in their sound than the two above mentioned bands.
THUNDERSTONE is definitely trying to define their sound, even though their “label” career is still young; they still got to learn to become more original in their song writing. I hate it when I can guess 30 sec. before a riff comes, what it will already sound. I could complain all this review long about unoriginality, but it wouldn’t really be fair to the band, as they manage to write catchy songs nonetheless. The main problem I have with the songs on “The Burning” is the lack of good choruses. Often a song will start with great ideas and melodies to be botched by an insipid, non inspired chorus, even when the song screams for huge sing along melodies.
What I like a lot in this band and I’m sounding crazy to myself here (I prefer fast Power Metal), is when the band slows down the pace. They manage to build some interesting songs. But even then, when a good idea pops out, it is quickly silenced by yet another “by the number” part.
The production sounds good, with just enough power and a good mastering. Everything is really well executed, but I’m starting to be more and more bored by this “paint-by-numbers” Power Metal. It is sad, since I’m sure that the guys put a lot of work into this release, but when I hear such unoriginality, I have difficulty being convinced that this is truly done by passion. There are bands out there who really try to make this over populated style evolve, but I’m sorry to say that THUNDERSTONE is not yet a part of this small club. There is not always a need for a band to change its sound if this is the music they like to play; but I’m not obligated to believe that a band should just always be a copy cat of others. For fans of this style that need everything released only. (Online March 4, 2004)