Power metal has always been a sub-genre that is at odds with the metal community. Fans either love it or hate it. In recent years, power metal has started to get the respect it deserves with big acts like POWERWOLF and SABATON getting put on the bill of big European festivals. While these bands deserve their praise there is a certain style of power metal that is intrinsically uncool. I am talking about the early 2000s power metal. You know, bands like DRAGONFORCE and RHAPSODY OF FIRE who have squeaky clean guitar riffs and soaring high vocals. And rather than singing about tanks or werewolf’s, they sing about going on LORD OF THE RINGS type quests. BURNING POINT’S latest record, Arsonist Of The Soul, is an absolute throwback to this style of power metal. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re a power metal fan and you’ve been craving a nostalgia trip, then you’ll absolutely love this album.
Arsonist Of The Soul starts with the explosive Blast In The Past, that can only be described as the archetypal power metal track with elements of epic power metal and thrash-power metal thrown in there. The shredding guitars really are the star of the show here. While the guitar is reminiscent of old school thrash, it doesn’t have the grittiness that bands like ANTHRAX or MEGADETH have adopted throughout the years. Instead, the guitar sound is comparable to New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like JUDAS PRIEST and SAXON.
The ace riffs keep coming with songs like Out Of Control and Hit The Night displaying some impressive guitar work from Pete Ahonen and Pekka Kolivouri. The band’s new lead vocalist, Luca Sturniolo (replacing Nitte Valo) shines in tracks like Arsonist Of The Soul and Calling that have a slower tempo to some of the thrash led tracks. BURNING POINT have been really clever as far as the track listing on this album as they’ve got the right mix between fast-paced classic power metal tracks to ballad songs. These serve as a nice breather in between the chaos of the riffing guitars.
The latter half of the album continues to offer a mix of slow moving and explosive harder tracks which really demonstrates the band’s ability to write diverse music. This is unlike some power metal bands who stick to a formula and don’t break free from that mold. While BURNING POINT aren’t the most original band, they’re clearly more than just a one-note power metal band. They display an impressive level of musician ship, and each member of the band gets their time to show their musical ability. The album’s finale, Eternal Life demonstrates this the strongest as it incorporates some progressive elements alongside the expected fist bumping power metal riffs.
After having spun this album a few times, the final verdict is that it’s a great nostalgic album for fans of the early 2000s power metal period. Every song on this album is epic and transports you into another plain where magic and dragons exists. Again, they may not be the most inventive band in the world having borrowed heavily from some of their influences, but Arsonist Of The Soul is still an enjoyable listen. That’s the final takeaway here. While you’re not going to get a progressive masterpiece, it’s enjoyable, fun and escapism at best. In these uncertain times, sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
Words: Megan Taylor
Arsonist Of The Soul is out now.