I was syked when I heard that Pasi Rantanen had re-united with Thunderstone. I have been a fan of Thunderstone since the band's second record The Burning in 2004. Pasi left in 2007, after the tour of the phenomenal record 4.0. The band got a new singer and released Dirt Metal in 2009. After Pasi left the band, it just wasn't the same for me. Though Dirt Metal had some solid tracks, I just didn't dig it as much as I did the prior material with Pasi. In 2013, the band re-joined forces with Rantanen, but it took another 3 years before they released a new album, which is titled Apocalypse Again.
It wasn't until the 3rd track, that I got hooked on this record. The track Fire and Ice is an uptempo rocker with some solid melody's and a catchy chorus. There is a sweet keyboard intro by Jukka Karinen, that starts the track, and prepares you for metal annihilation. Killer tune. The next track, is the type of track that I love from Thunderstone, because it is slow, heavy melodic metal, but with lots of power. Check out the track Through the Pain, and you'll hear what I mean. I love it when the band gets into these powerful grooves, that just embrace you, and don't let go.
Apocalypse Again is a solid offering, which contains a nice variety of up tempo and mid-tempo rockers. The band seem to have regained the momentun, that they lost with Dirt Metal. If I have one complaint, it would be that I think that the production is a little soft. I was hoping to get the heavy sound/crunch of the previous material, especially with the return of Pasi. Don't get me wrong, the CD sounds good, but I just wish it sounded a little heavier. A solid CD. Apocalypse Again has a nice variety, which will make any Thunderstone fan proud.
Bottom Line: With the return of Pasi Rantanen, it seems like the song writing has gotten stronger and the band is sounding better than they have in years. Great melodic power metal.
Standout Tracks: Through the Pain, Higher, Fire and Ice and Days of Our Lives.
-Ragman must see Thunderstone live.