Several years ago I used to write on a Finnish forum dedicated to 80’s music - mainly rock and metal of the said decade. Obviously more modern bands with an 80’s sound got talked about as well. One discussion of the said type was started by a guy who was asking people to check out his new band. Coming across this thread, I decided to give the band's material a listen. Upon doing so, I was immediately impressed by what the band was doing and I immediately started following them. The band in question was called Battle Beast, the guy on the forum, if my memory serves me correctly, was their then lead guitarist Anton Kabanen and the vocalist one Nitte Valo. Very soon the band got a record deal, released their debut album Steel which became one of my favorite albums of all time and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sadly Nitte departed from the band after that first album, being replaced by the band's current vocalist Noora Louhimo, who has done a tremendous job with the band in her own right and is a big reason as to why I'm still a big fan of the band. Granted each album being weaker than the last and the latest one, Unholy Savior, being a bit of a disappointment. Not to mention the band kicking out their lone song writer, the previously mentioned Anton, might be the first sings of me growing disenchanted with the band provided their next album turns out to not be on par with previous efforts, but that's neither here nor there as that's not what I'm writing about right now.
Despite continuing to be a huge fan of Battle Beast, I will always acknowledge Nitte as one of the main reasons I first fell in love with the band. So when I found out she was now the frontwoman of another Finnish metal band, Burning Point, my interest was immediately peaked. I had never heard of the band before despite them having a back catalogue, so their latest album and their first with Nitte, the self-titled Burning Point, is my introduction to the band. Is this the glorious return of Nitte to the metal scene I was hoping for? Well...
The first single off the album, Find Your Soul, is the first full song I heard from the band and honestly, I found it rather underwhelming. Not only does the chorus, which echoes Helloween a bit for me, strike me as a really lame and cliche power metal chorus, but for a song from an album that the band is boasting is the best sounding of their career, the production comes off to me as rather lackluster. Granted it's not bad by any means and nowhere near ruining the album for me, but it's nothing mindblowingly special either. Don't know what that says about the band's previous efforts if this is supposedly the best sounding one. Really, Find Your Soul would be elevated if it had a sound and production that better enhanced the melodic epicness of the track. Honestly I would love it if the band somehow in the future managed to get, say, Mikko Karmila to produce an album for them, because I have a feeling the resulting album would sound amazing.
After a bit of a disappointing listen with Find Your Soul, I didn't have high hopes going into the full album. The opening song of the album, In The Shadows, however managed to snap me out of my doubtful state of mind for a moment, as it's a punchy and hard-hitting track that's both a perfect opening track for an album and a pleasant surprise. With the second song, All The Madness, which starts with some keyboards that bring to mind the Oceanborn and Wishmaster era Nightwish, the album continues a good flow as it's a slower and more melodic catchy song that's perfect for following up a fast-paced opening like In The Shadows. The following song Signs Of Danger as well does a good job at keeping the flow of the album by being a bit of a mix of the first two songs - punchy but catchy.
Once the album gets to its fourth song, the already mention single Find Your Soul, it becomes clear why it was chosen as the first single since it is the catchiest out of the first four tracks on the album. Still to my ears it's far from the best, making it kind of contradictingly I suppose, the catchiest yet least impressive song from the first half of the album. And sadly a lot of tracks on the album from this point on suffer from the same thing that Find Your Soul does - a weak chorus. Heart Of Gold and Queen Of Fire are prime examples of this on the album, despite both tracks having their positives. Queen Of Fire is laced with delightfully 80’s sounding keyboards, whereas the riffs in Heart Of Gold have a distant echo of the sound and style of the song of the same name by U.D.O. from the band's best album and one of my favorite albums of all time, Faceless World. Still, due to the lame chorus, I still I wish I was listening to the U.D.O. song instead.
And speaking of being reminded of other bands, the song where this obviously becomes a factor is in the closing track of the album, I've Had Enough (Into The Fire), which is in fact a KISS cover song. Said song is one of my personal favorites from KISS' unmasked era, so I applaud Burning Point for not covering one of KISS' better known hits from the 70’s, but instead give attention to this gem from the band's 1984 Animalize album. Funny though how the band also have a song of their own called Into The Fire on the album, but that's neither here nor there.
However while certain guitar melodies in the track sound properly epic, overall the song doesn't manage to capture the frustration and intensity of the original. Lyrically the song is about being fed up with being wronged and betrayed and finally standing up and taking control of that which you've never been allowed control of before. The lyrics come to life with such ferocity in the original due to Paul Stanley's vocals and the fast shredding of both him and the band's then lead guitarist, the late Mark St. John, so for Burning Point to slow down the tempo of the song sadly works to their disadvantage. If you sing these angry words and play this furious song, you gotta put the petal to the metal and mean it.
Overall is Burning Point's self-titled album a revolutionary peace of power metal? No, absolutely not. But to claim it's somehow a disgrace or horrible would too be serious overkill. The song My Darkest Times is a good representation of what the album is for me - it's a pleasant listen, but not memorable, therefore only really working as bland background music. The album has good elements in it, like for example in the heavy Dawn Of The Ancient War the solo is a highlight and My Darkest Times has a good melodic riff, but none of the good elements in the album are good enough to carry it, nor is there enough good stuff spread out across the album to make it very interesting.
Overall the album is harmless, but rather mediocre. Still, the band clearly has talent in terms of playing and performing. If they manage to bag a seriously talented producer for their next album to beef up their sound and manage to write catchier songs with better choruses, I think we'd be looking at quite a solid power metal album. 'Til then. Or maybe I need to go back and listen to the band's earlier albums to see if there are gems there that I've missed.
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(Review by Markus)