Thorium – “Thorium” (Rock’N’Growl Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Wow – totally awesome!!! Formed by ex Ostrogoth axe men Dario Frodo (guitar), Tom Tee (guitar) and Stripe (bass), Thorium is a brand new Belgian band although very much honed by classic heavy metal and NWOBHM. With a strong ethos in bringing together heaviness and speed with power melodies and most of all, catchiness, this superb self titled debut does exactly that and frankly, I was totally impressed by the excellent material on show across the 9 tracks here. With a tasteful mix of headbangers, fast n heavy rockers and power ballads, Thorium pulled if off time and again thanks to the experienced hands as well as the talent of the new lads in vocalist David Marcelis and drummer Louis van der Linden! From the classic twin axe warble, ‘Return To The Clouds’ blasts out with plenty of kick and double bass drumming as Frodo and Tee trade in the breaks and melodies while skillfully adding to the soul of Marcelis’s excellent soaring vocals (when he’s not screaming of course). There’s even an ambient passage oozing with moving melodies before the heartbreaking solos come in before they gallop off again ‘…spitting fire and burning the sky…’ – yep, this is one helluva confident band and why not when you’ve got amazing songs like this! I mean, ‘Godspeed’ isn’t even metal but a fast melodic rocker but given how it’s played with Stripe’s heavy twanging bass, you can’t resist headbanging until the coup de grâce of the ultra catchy singalong chorus comes shattering in backed again by those lethal twin melodic guitars – totally immense. With non stop momentum, Thorium go out in fine style on the epic 11 minute closer of ‘Four By Number, Four By Fate’, very Maiden what with those folk melodies and Stripe’s ‘H’ sound initially then when those twin guitars get going, become swashbuckling with tons of catchy licks and breaks. A third of the way into the track and a moving acoustic guitar passage gets the medieval battering ram of Stripe’s heavy bass going as Marcelis’s soulful wailings join while the tempo gets faster and faster as the guitars inject even more power before another contrasting ambient passage that again draws energy until the chorus, which this time takes an almost proggy feel. This is a song of many variations and full marks have to be given on how Thorium expertly work all the styles together seamlessly, use many tempo changes and evoke different atmospheres right up until the epic’s bombastic metallic finale complete with stirring warrior backing vocals. An excellent release thoroughly befitting a maximum score – prepare for the might of Thorium!