When I pick up a new album to review, especially one of a band I have never heard of, I don’t do tons of research about them, I don’t look on the internet to see how much I can find out about them. I simply load the album into my car and listen. I find this gives me no preconceptions about the band, or their music, and no factors that could influence what I think of the album.
Such was true of Burning Point. I had all the info I needed about them at the touch of a button but wanted to listen to the music before I thought about anything else.
The first thing that sprung to mind while on the first run through of the album was that it sounded very much like Battle Beast, so imagine my surprise when I finally did my research into the band and discovered that none other than Nitte Valo, former singer of aforementioned Battle Beast had been enlisted as vocalist to Burning Point in 2014 (showing that I am honing my skills at picking out such details and to have noticed this was something I was very proud of!)
Formed in the late 1990’s by mastermind Pete Ahonen, Burning Point are a power metal band hailing from Oulu, Finland and The Blaze is their seventh album to date, released on AFM Records on 20th January 2017. I am a bit late to the party where this album is concerned, but you know what they say…..better late than never!! And what an album it is!
The first album consisting of entirely new material, The Blaze concentrates on the bands strengths, being “European power metal of the melodic kind, spliced with bit of hard rock but also Judas Priest-like nuances which makes The Blaze a boiling, fiery mixture!” and is an absolute must for all fans of early 2000’s power metal.
Recorded at Helgat Studio, mixed by Jussi Ontero and mastered by Minerva Pappi, all music and lyrics have been written by the only surviving founding member, Pete Ahonen, the exception being the bonus track “Metal Queen” which is a cover of the Lee Aaron classic.
Another thing I learned about Burning Point during my research is that they are another band who have swapped from a male to female singer, Pete Ahonen passing on his microphone to concentrate more on his guitar playing and song writing. As I have no idea what they sounded like with Pete on the vocals I have nothing to compare this album to, but I had always liked Valo as the vocalist with Battle Beast, her aggressive, raw-edged singing style very distinctive and her unmistakable voice now adds that “something special” to an already established band. Making such a change in personnel is risky for any band but I think they have managed to pull it off here (I will, of course, go and check out a previous album just to be certain though!)
The album opens with the fast-paced “Master Them All” and is an instant winner, setting the tone for the rest of the album to come, and it followed up with the equally awesome “The Time Has Come.”
With hard, melodic guitar riffs and a groovy rhythm section from the drums and bass, along with some great keyboard work, most of the songs on here are mid to up-tempo, emulating typically fast European speed metal, but with a fantastic female voice thrown in.
But that doesn’t mean this band cannot do the slower tempo songs though. “My Spirit” and “Lost in your Thoughts,” are both slow, galloping songs with a more gentle tone but which that showcase Valo’s incredible vocals.
Being the power metal freak that I am, I love this album and think that anyone who had ever been a fan of the power metal era should go and give this a listen. I will certainly be checking out the band’s back catalogue and look forward to anything they do in the future.
Power metal may not be the genre of choice at the moment but with bands like this, it certainly could be soon!!
01. Master Them All
02. Time Has Come
04. My Spirit
05. The Lie
06. Dark Winged Angel
07. Chaos Rising
08. Lost In Your Thoughts
09. Things That Drag Me Down
10. The King Is Dead, Long Live the King
11. Metal Queen (Lee Aaron cover)
Pete Ahonen – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Jussi Ontero – Drums
Pekka Kolivuori – Guitars
Sami Nyman – Bass, Vocals (backing)
Jarkko Väisänen – Keyboards
Nitte Valo – Vocals
Originally posted on Ever Metal
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