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Thola - Somewhere

Thola
Somewhere
by Frank Dashwood at 30 December 2021, 1:00 AM

Hailing from Switzerland,….wait a minute. That can’t be right. All the metal comes from Sweden right? Checking…Huh, I guess metal comes from Switzerland now too? Hailing from Switzerland, THOLA comes to us bearing the gift of a new strain of power metal, in the form of their new album Somewhere. And just in time for Christmas (or whatever winter solstice rites/rituals/traditions you may, or may not be observing this time of year)!

The first song (and conveniently the title track) “Somewhere” starts soft, and really made me wonder if someone pulled a joke on me…until about 40 seconds in. Then I was listening to a melodic, progressive, and technical, power-metal band! For some reason this reminded me a bit of EUROPE (“The Final Countdown”). It didn’t have the synths, but the pacing, and riffs kept bouncing that song back to my mind. Reading through the biography of this band, I paid a bit of attention to how they described what they believed they’d achieved with this album. They used words like “melodic”, “powerful”, “progressive” and “heavy” to describe the THOLA project as a whole. As far as I was concerned, they’ve managed to live up to those aspirations with this album.

This album had something to it, from  on“Where Is The God” through to “Raging Hard”. At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but after I went to their website, and saw pictures of the band, I got it. You can condense it down to one word: “Experience”. The guys all looked to at least be in their 40s. There was something about the perfection of the production of it. I wanted to call it “over-produced”, but this was different. Like any one of the members of the band, if asked, could pick up their instrument, and play any part, of any song you asked them to, and as soulfully, and graciously as you hear it on the album. Over-produced would mean the producer was using his studio tools/tricks to introduce elements into the music to spruce it up, for lack of actual “talent” on the part of the band. I got the feeling like this was “earned”, ie these guys actually have it, from having done it, rather than being taught, or someone embellishing their work to give it the same appearance as “the real deal”.

I had very few issues with the song-writing, save for one song. “The March Of The Lost Generation”. I think maybe the title itself is a little cliché, but in verse form it doesn’t really loose any of it’s cringe. It’s a little long, and so the scansion of the verse itself is kind of off, but then the way they stuffed it into the chorus, it’s like they had to add a few extra beats just to get the whole thing in there. Makes you wonder if they could have come up with a shorter way to say the same thing, like “Hajj Of The Damned”, or something. I mean, it happens. You fall in love with an idea, and damn it, I don’t care if it’s a square peg. If it takes a step ladder, and a jar of KY, it’s going into that round hole!

In a world of music where the average age of the players only seems to get later in the human life-span, it’s hard to know where to put credit for the music being created. For most bands, there is an arc to their development, and the quality of their works. With bands such as THOLA, their members are very experienced musicians, and without having listened to their other projects, it’s hard to know how much of their growth as musicians happened during their time in the band. All I can say for sure, is that for this production, these guys meshed, and complemented one another very well.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Where Is The God
2. Somewhere
3. March Of The Lost Generation
4. Heroes
5. Storm
6. P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E.
7. The Dark Garden
8. X-Treme
9. Wish You Well
10. Raging Hard
Lineup:
Thomi Rauch – Vocals
Rolf ‘Rodo’ Studer – Guitar
Patrick Ambord  – Guitar
Thommy Ambiel – Bass
Sven Imsand – Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records
     


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Edited 28 November 2022
 

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