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Thunderbolt - Love & Destruction (CD)

Thunderbolt
Love & Destruction
by Grigoris Chronis at 15 September 2006, 4:44 PM

To listen to this album you should return to childhood a little bit (talkin' 'bout people of my age). Print A4 high-resolution photos (technology, my ass…) of Iron Maiden's Powerslave, Saxon's Power & The Glory, Judas Priest's Defenders Of The Faith and Black Sabbath's Born Again front cover artworks; then hang 'em on the wall; wear your 'faded' classic 80s Metal band/artist's T-shirt afterwards; 'dig' deep in your closet/library and bring out your - now collectible - Metal magazine to read out the critics bout (then) new albums like Anthrax's Spreading The Disease, Accept's Balls To The Wall and Metallica's Ride The Lightning.
Ah, to preserve your current 'activities', grab a cold bottle of beer and sit back, take your time and listen to what a pure Heavy Metal band from Norway has to state anno 2006.
The music: Riddled by a 'retro' production, this furious album is the legacy of 'classic' Iron Maiden to our century. Various influences from the mighty quintet, filtered with the great inheritance of other British bands like Judas Priest, Saxon or (post-Ozzy) Black Sabbath plus some of US Metal of the years 1983-1985, is the main 'dish'. A lot of tempos, great 'hooky' choruses, multiple 'cry out' vocals at times and the constant suspicion that both Saxon's Biff Byford and Ronnie James Dio would approve this one in prior. It may seem incredible but I can't think any other band that has developed the - British, mainly - standards so individually. Countless are the bands 'rejected' due to their 'copy - paste' attitude; this is not the case in Thunderbolt. We Will Survive and Hi-Fidelity Heartbreak are personal faves in this release, while no weak track could I easily find.
The team: Tony Johannessen's voice is the 'trade mark'. In the vein of Bruce Dickinson's 'approach', he does use the deep of his 'throat' mostly, giving his singing a narrative bonus. Hi does not - of course - have any problem to reach higher notes, resembling the bequest of Rob Halford. The guitar duo of Syversrud/Johannessen is of complete trust. Marvellous harmonic leads, excellent cooperation and - I wonder - will they ever reach up (at least) half the fame of other classic 'twin leads'? Last but not least, the Eriksen/Waske rhythm section stands tall for nothing less than ample Metal playing. Eriksen, in particular, 'draws' enough beautiful bass lines throughout tunes like Call Out The Lions or Metallic Depression. Not to forget, some 'smart' keys additions are in 'thumbs up' usage.
The sound: as if nothing has ever changed from the '83-'87 Heavy Metal albums' production formulas. Nothing more to be said.
The lyrics: it seems that Thunderbold are eager to deal with 'real life' lyrical themes. Apart from the wonderful singing of Johannessen, 'key' words/phrases stylishly expressed in the album's songs have the potential to 'grab' the listener's attention; let aside the fact they get along great with the specific songwriting.
The artwork: simple but ample, it ties deeply with the band's logo and a album's title. A little bit 'let-down' in the beginning, the allegory is - gradually - the winner.
It's A Hard Life, and Thunderbolt have surely overlapped 2003's excellent Demons & Diamonds debut. Remove your brain from a possible 'retro' suspicion. Thunderbolt are here to stay; I think that - along with Dutch vagabonds Powervice - they are the living proof of how Iron Maiden would like to play if they were still young at heart. Grab this album and - especially if you've already purchased Maiden's latest mediocre (in my opinion) album - take a look at the assessment. Who should be playing what, in other words…

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Heavy Metal Thunder
Bad Boys
Love & Destruction
Hi-Fidelity Heartbreak
Metallic Depression
It's A Hard Life (But…)
Call Out The Lions
We Will Survive
Sin, Sex & Spandex
Lineup:
Cato Syversrud - Guitars
Morten Andreas Eriksen - Bass
Tony Johannessen - Vocals, Keyboards
Frank Johannessen - Guitars
Vegard Waske - Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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