THUNDERSTONE – Evolution 4.0

THUNDERSTONE - Evolution 4.0
  • 9/10
    THUNDERSTONE - Evolution 4.0 - 9/10


Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: March 16, 2007

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Thunderstone was formed in 2000 by guitarist Nino Laurenne (ex-Antidote). He only meant for it to be a project, but after recording a demo and realizing the project’s potential, he started recruiting other band members. They were bassist Titus Hjelm (ex-Antidote), vocalist Pasi Rantanen, drummer Mirka Rantanen, and keyboardist Kari Tornack. During the Autumn of 2001, they signed with Nuclear Blast.

Evolution 4.0 is the Finnish quintet’s fourth album, and the seven years that has passed since Laurenne founded the band (spent recording great music, touring, and supporting bands like Stratovarius, Axel Rudi Pell, and Symphony X), gaining Thunderstone a lot of fans worldwide. Also, it could be mentioned that they’re participating in this year’s Finnish Eurovision Song Contest

Anyhow, the sound of this Power Metal band could be described as a mix of Masterplan and Nightmare, with elements from Evergrey. Pasi Rantanen’s voice sounds quite similar to Jørn Lande’s (ex-Ark, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Masterplan) at times. The music is often massive in the same way that Masterplan is, and Mirka Rantanen underlines this with his tight drum play, often fronted by his tam drums. You’ll find this link especially in the song “Forevermore.” There are also times when the backing vocals add the little extra to the vocal lines that’s reminiscent of the typical vocal lines of Evergrey. Those are often performed in harmony with the lead vocals and the melancholy mood of the songs, as you can hear in “Roots of Anger;” it’s soothing to the ear. Another thing that’s great about Pasi Rantanen’s vocals is that he lets emotions fill his voice, and you can tell that he means what he sings.

It must be said that the guitar riffs Laurenne plays are extremely proportionate and it sounds like he communicates inhumanly well with drummer Rantanen, because the riffs are often based very much on the drumbeats. His solos are varied and interesting. For instance, you can listen to his solo on “The Source.” It starts fast and experimental with something that almost sounds like computer sounds before he starts playing a melodic solo that goes from 4th notes to 16th notes, and it’s not a show-off solo. It just fits the song.

The song “Down With Me” starts with acoustic guitars and a keyboard. Pasi Rantanen really underlines the point about him meaning what he sings during this track. After the ballad-like intro, the guitar takes the song to a much heavier, though not a really fast, part. The guitar riffs are brilliant and very moody, and the Hammond organ sound that Tornack seems to be using often intensifies this.

The heaviness on this record is amazing, and so is the production. The sound is majestic without becoming too much of a cliché. On Nuclear Blast’s Web site it says that
“… Evolution 4.0 is an absolute must for Metal fans all over the world. Neither God nor Satan will forgive you if you leave this unheard.”
The statement is a little pompous, but it’s true. This is an album you need in your collection.


Nino Laurenne – Guitar, backing vocals
Titus Hjelm – Bass, backing vocals
Pasi Rantanen – Lead vocals
Kari Tornack – Keyboards
Mirka Rantanen – Drums


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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