Categories: T_review
      Date: May 20, 2007
      Band: Thunderstone
     Title: Evolution 4.0
   Release: 0-0-2007
Prod/Label: !link!Nuclear Blast!/link!
     	By: Tordah

When I first saw that there was a new Thunderstone album coming out I didn't really know what to expect from it. Their last album hinted towards a more simplistic and heavy metal oriented style that didn't quite do it for me. This was definitely not the direction I had wanted the band to take. It was therefore a big surprise when I first started listening to "Evolution 4.0" with its surprisingly aggressive and thundering tunes. This is both the fastest and heaviest Thunderstone album so far and it actually reminds me more of Nevermore than your typical Scandinavian power metal act. Make no mistake, the band has not lost their identity here – they've found it.

After an extremely short and rather pointless intro the album kicks off with the killer 'Forevermore' that showcases a never before seen aggressive side of Thunderstone. Great and powerful riffs with a surprisingly heavy production to back them up. The chorus gets stuck in your head instantly, just as a good opener should. I mentioned earlier that this reminded me of Nevermore and by that statement I mean the track 'Swirled' in particular. This is the heaviest and darkest track Thunderstone has ever written and if this one doesn't have you headbanging frenetically then nothing will. The twisted breakdown section at 2:10 sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. Simply awesome. Another song that contained a major surprise for me was 'The Source' which features some really cool industrial elements that I would never have expected to hear from Thunderstone. Very interesting track. The album ends on a very strong note with the almost epic 'Great Man Down' that leaves you in awe, not wanting the album to end. The lyrics of the chorus will echo in your mind long after you've stopped listening to it: "These are the stories and songs from the land of 10 000 lakes. The stories where heroes will never die. These are the stories and songs from the land of 10 000 lakes. The stories and songs where the great one will always rise." A perfect song to close the album with in other words.

I found "Evolution 4.0" to be very interesting lyrically with subjects concerning the darker sides of mankind. Especially interesting is the track 'Down With Me' which I interpreted as being written from God's point of view - looking down at the world with feelings of shame and disappointment over his creation with all the wars and hate that's constantly going on. The single '10000 Ways' seems to deal with our inability to escape our destiny. There's only one way to be born but 10 000 ways to die and there's nothing you can do when death comes knocking on your door. The dark nature of the lyrics makes a perfect complement to the music. Vocalist Pasi Rantanen gives his best performance yet on this album and his vocals fits really well with the aggressive nature of the tracks. One thing that never struck me before is how similar Rantanen's vocals are to Jorn Lande. Just listen to the chorus of 'Holding on to my Pain' and tell me with a straight face that he doesn't remind you of Lande.

Another thing I found interesting about this album is the lack of overly "happy" choruses. When I think of other dark power metal albums most of them still had very cheery choruses (think Helloween's "The Dark Ride") but "Evolution 4.0" does not have much of those. 'Forevermore' is arguably the only song here with a really "happy" chorus. Not even the track 'Face In The Mirror' that the band entered the Finnish Eurovision song contest with strikes me as a happy one. Uplifting, yes, but not happy like your traditional power metal chorus usually is. Perhaps that's the reason why they didn't win the contest but finished in a respectable second place instead.

Thunderstone didn't leave out anything out when they wrote this album. Both the music and lyrics are incredibly well-written and I can't even find any minor things that bugged me. For reasons unknown, there was only one track here I didn't care much for and that was 'Roots Of Anger'. All the other tracks vary from great to awesome and it's difficult to pick out a favourite among these 9 gems. "Evolution 4.0" is easily their best album so far and I hope they can continue in this newfound direction. The band has evolved a lot since "Tools Of Destruction" and finally we have an album that lives up to its title. If you're into dark and heavy power metal with a lot of riffs and a slight touch of experimentation then look no further.