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Thunder Rising - Sole Freedom Award winner

Thunder Rising
Sole Freedom
by Mark Sworder at 07 June 2015, 9:15 PM

Not many records feature an opening 10 seconds that are as impressive as what THUNDER RISING manage with "Sole Freedom". Straight out of the gate, this is an empowering, feel-good band, with a stand-out vocal performance that is touching and soulful, yet still enjoyably aggressive and gritty!

Opening track, "The Best Things Are Free", paints a clear picture of what this band are all about. Fusing a bluesy swagger, a hard rock edge, and some more relaxed, cut-back sections that allow the vocals of Mark Boals to shine, THUNDER RISING expertly carve their own sound out in a style where it's easy to seem unoriginal. Following up in similar fashion, "Let Me Breathe" adds some synth and effects work into the mix, enforcing the modern tinged yet classic sound that the band have established.

Power ballad "Blind Without You" is wonderfully reminiscent of some of the tracks put out in the late '80s/early '90s by bands such as MR. BIG and WHITESNAKE, with the focus on the big vocal hooks and a short but oh so sweet guitar solo. Thankfully, it's significantly less cheesy than a lot of the output from that decade too! It's a song you could happily leave on repeat for quite some time!

As mentioned, the vocal performance from Mark Boals is really something special, so it's no surprise to discover that he has worked with a certain Yngwie Malmsteen, amongst other significant names. With huge range and a soulful tone, shades of Eric Martin from the legendary MR. BIG are evoked. The vocal melodies that the band weave throughout "Sole Freedom" also bring to mind some of the softer side of the '80s glam rock/hair metal scene too, but are blended seamlessly with the crisp, modern sound. It's immensely enjoyable!

"Break The Cage" features a stimulating-ly dirty groove during some sections, before throwing in more of the big, uplifting vocal melodies. It's amazing how seamlessly THUNDER RISING knit different influences together, and integrate them to form something new and exciting! Final track, "Lightning, Thunder and Rainbows" superbly reinforces this point. It's a pure instrumental track, allowing the guitar work of Frank Caruso and Andy Ringoli to come to the fore, and for almost a tribute to be paid to some of the bands influences - there are blues riffs that simply ooze ZZ TOP before the sound becomes more modern again.

THUNDER RISING have proven with "Sole Freedom" that there is still life in the straight up hard rock genre! It's simply rammed with energy, and bursting with passion! With a selection of songs that you'll listen to over and over, the band sound totally fresh, yet their experience shines through too! It's a pretty much perfect release!

5 Star Rating

1. The Best Things Are Free
2. Let Me Breathe
3. Blind Without You
4. Break The Cage
5. Lightning, Thunder, And Rainbow
Mark Boals - Vocals
Frank Caruso - Guitars
Andy Ringoli - Guitars
C. C. Nail - Drums
Gabry Baroni - Bass
Record Label: Scarlet Records


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