Not only is Apocalypse Again the first new studio album from Finnish Power Metallers Thunderstone, it also marks the return of orginal vocalist Pasi Rantanen, who left the band after 2007’s Evolution 4.0.
The bands sound and style has a dramatic difference from Evolution 4.0 to Apocalypse Again. The songs are still heavily entrenched in the power metal genre, but the songs on Apocalypse are less angry and the tonality of heavy gutar is dialed down a bit in favor of more melodic song structures and catchy choruses. What the album lacks in ferocity and aggression, it more than makes up for with melodic heavy metal that has the unmistakable gritty voice of Rantanen back in the role he left in 2007 without missing a beat.
The albums leadoff track, Veterans of the Apocalypse, is a hard, fast and heavy power metal anthem with a fantastic uplifting soaring chorus, shredding guitars from Nino Laurenne, and the powerful dexterous drum work of Atte Palokangas.
The albums lead single/video for The Path comes next, a melodic metal song with AOR vocal melodies and a more straightforward mid-tempo approach. The chorus is instantly memorable and will be stuck in your head after just a few listens.
Keyboardist Jukka Karinen takes center stage on Fire and Ice, another slice of AOR-ish heavy metal. Pasi’s voice is in fine form throughout each song and he conveys emotion and power in each vocal line.
Through The Pain is a mid-tempo rocker with strong melodies and great hooks. The guitars are heavy and the chorus soars with emotion and power.
The speedy power metal shines through on the opening moments of Walk Away Free and transitions into another mid-tempo metal song during the verses.
The band shows its 70’s hard rock influences of Rainbow and Deep Purple on the power rocker Higher, that features Hammond organ sounds and more groove than outright heaviness.
Wounds is a fast and furious power metal song with a double bass drum attack, chugging guitars, and Pasi’s intense frenzied vocals. The band shows it’s sensitive side on Days Of Our Lives, a song with huge memorable melodies and a fantastic, emotive chorus featuring one of Pasi’s best vocals on the album.
The albums finale is also its longest and most varied song, Barren Land, clocking in at over seven minutes in length and showing every facet of the band from orchestral keys, heavy guitars, and of course Pasi’s strong vocal work. The song has intensity and is the perfect opus to close out an album. While at just under 45 minutes in total running time, Apocalypse Again seems a bit short, but the nine songs included in this collection make up for the shortness of the album. With Apocalypse Again, Thunderstone are back to the top of the Finnish Power Metal genre.