There’s something about a band reuniting with its lead singer that just adds an extra level of excitement. There are plenty of examples. Rob Halford and Judas Priest. Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden. Vince Neil and Motley Crue. David Lee Roth and Van Halen. Joey Belladonna and Anthrax. The list goes on and on.
Similarly, Finnish power metal band Thunderstone returns after a six-year hiatus with their original singer Pasi Rantanen back in the fold. Longtime fans of the band will be glad to hear his familiar raspy voice. It’s the true standout on this new offering, Apocalypse Again.
Joining Rantanen (or should I say Rantanen re-joining them), Nino Laurenne tears it up on guitar with heavy riffs and blazing solos. Unfortunately, much of the time he gets lost under the overpowering keyboards by Jukka Karinen. His keyboard is turned up a bit too high in the mix, but his playing is stellar. Titus Hjelm and Atte Palokangas lay down a solid rhythm on bass and drums.
They shoot out of the gate strong with “Veteran of the Apocalypse.” It’s a big production that evokes images of a leader preparing his men for battle. This is just the start of a musical journey that is paved with strong hooks and big choruses. Rantanen’s voice fits perfectly in the wall of sound the band creates. Along with the first single, “The Path,” standout tracks include heavier “Higher” and “Through the Pain.” These songs are will stick with you.
Overall, this is a great return to form for Thunderstone and Rantanen. Power metal fans, you’re going to want to check out Apocalypse Again. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.