In the right hands thrash metal can be some of the most inspiring and energetic sounds around. In the dirty paws of a band like Amsterdam based Tornado it is rock ‘n’ roll at its very sleazy best and most satisfying, an essential listen for fans of all metal flavours. With their debut album Amsterdamn. Hellsinki the quintet has reignited the genre and at the same time brought back the original essences that made it irresistible in the first place.
Influences on their bio are listed as containing the likes of Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Judas Priest, Guns N Roses, Megadeth, Exodus and Motley Crue and close listens do show elements of these and many others, but the closest comparisons are early Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies all coated in some Motley Crue brash and glam and Infectious Grooves mischief. The album is pulsating and of all the great releases that have emerged through 2011, one of the most enjoyable and invigorating.
Produced by Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy) who does a great job and released via Listenable Records, Amsterdamn. Hellsinki grabs hold from the thrust of the brief opener ‘A Bold Statement’, the track bringing up the senses and emotions ready for the smooth transition into the awesome ‘Hate World Wide’. This is just the start of the rampant ride the album brings, all tracks bursting with eager intentions, all consuming riffs, guitar frolics, and unapologetic straight on honest brilliant rock ‘n’ roll. The first two songs throw powerful drums from Juhana “Starvin Marvin” Karlsson at the senses as the bass of Johnny Wow throbs like a beast in heat. The riffs are incessant from guitarists Michiel “Big Maaaan”Rutten and Daddy B throughout with the songs stretched wonderfully by the intricate and creative solos and play from both within the crushing energy.
Vocalist Superstar Joey Severance is supreme throughout the album. He comes over as an obvious showman without ever detracting from songs with a selfish delivery. His vocals have a combined Mike Muir and Joey Belladonna flavouring but brought forth in his own strong style to complement and lead the great thrash sounds erupting from each minute of sound.
Amsterdamn. Hellsinki has to be one of the most consistent albums heard this year and beyond, that consistency being of such a high level from song to song. It is virtually impossible to pick out tracks over others but moments that especially please include the nuclear like strike of ‘Massive Extinction Impact’ its devastation impossible to escape as is its theme, the Pantera ‘Walk’ influenced riffage of ‘Eugenics’, and the challenging urgency of ‘Ignorance Is Thy Name’. Raw and aggressive the latter of the three collides with the senses in determined fashion in sound and content and as everywhere on the album gets the job done with the greatest of skill, fun, and effect.
One song at first felt slightly odd amongst the majestic trash sounds and that was the midway track of ‘Noora’. Very brief, slightly atmospheric, and female sung it is hard to know if the song was included as a respite from the energy or to show that band can touch with mellower melodic ability as well as a full on assault. First time heard as mentioned feels odd but repeat plays finds it merge nicely within the overall flow of the release.
Amsterdamn. Hellsinki ends as impressively as it started with ‘Tunisia Uprising’ and ‘Rise Disciple Rise’. Both songs as to be honest every track does, sees the band’s skills and ability to the fore. Old school and as fresh as anything else around today, the mix on the album is masterful and deeply enjoyable. The urge upon the album’s completion to dive back in again and again is impossible to refuse. Tornado has created and presented one of the finest albums of 2011, maybe of the last decade. It thrills, it spills and most of all it gives new life to thrash.