Thunderstone went through a few arrangements and changed the place from Finnvox-studios to a better place to party and listen to the new album. But entering the metal mecca Corner Bar wasn't all that simple. The owner of the bar had gone missing and the keys were under search, but we got the information soon enough to arrive later than what was planned. RockUnited arrived a little later than the rest though, but Thunderstone-drummer Mirka Rantanen invited us in immediately with handshakes along with coupons for free beer etc. Unfortunately we came by car, so one cider had to do for me. Kari took some more and put me on the drivers seat...well, I guess I had it coming.
Everyone sat down nicely and guitarist Nino Laurenne had his small speach before the music started. The first songs went smoothly, everyone was sitting quietly, almost like focused students doing a test ! The first song "Until We Touch The Burning Sun" was familiar for many, Thunderstone played it live at least in Tuska-metal festival this year with success. The second one "Break The Emotion" brought some heaviness along and speed and the midtempo "Mirror Never Lies" broke the silence. By now it was evident that the guys still sounded like Thunderstone, so what the heck, let's drink some beer ! Some of the journalists still listened to the album all the way through in silence, but our table was quite noisy. Timo Tolkki had found his way to Corner Bar too and admired a moose cellphone case a friend of mine showed him. Finns just love all things connected with cellphones...but seriously though, moose has been somewhat the mascot for Stratovarius for some time now, so Tolkki had a laugh about it.
It wasn't until all the ten songs were heard that people really started talking and drinking. Though some of the Thunderstone guys were in a pretty good shape already after the last song was heard. They were interviewed for radio to a finnish metal program Metalliliitto and it turned out to be a very humourous interview which I enjoyed listening to. Klaus Flaming, the host, found a connection between Thunderstone and Pretty Maids, and as I listen to the album, he's got a point there, eventhough Nino says he's never even heard the band. But you can still hear some PM in their music, which isn't bad at all, PM has always been a classy act. Read my review of "The Burning" for closer look at the album on reviews page. Let's stick to the party here.
Kari took a bunch of pictures of the guys that you can see here, the usual posing and a look at the band ('s hairdo) today. I grabbed the camera after him for some not too serious pics and that's when all hell broke loose. Some Thunderstone guys wanted to pose for some nice shots, and after a closer examination to my pix, one picture managed to pull through for your eyes from there. It's the barfly-keyboardist Kari Tornack with snacks as eyes. The rest is classified and believe me when I say, you don't want to see an Eskimo's kiss!
While talking with the guys Mirka told us about a charity project called METALBAND-AID that he's been working with lately. It will have other finnish metal musicians on it too. Mirka, Nino and Tornack are the guys behind the song, but this is all we can tell you right now.
Time flies when you're having fun, and it was really late already when we found ourselves trying to get dinner from the somewhat fancy restaurant Acapulco. Or so they seem to be thinking about themselves. As we walked into the restaurant, the whole band, friends, Timo Tolkki and Niclas Etelävuori from Amorphis/Verenpisara included, the waiters looked over their shoulders and seemed to be quite terrified of the invasion of long-haired metalheads. They walked by our tables and hardly wanted to serve us, telling us it'll take long to get anything since they're busy. After a while they did serve us beer and lots of it, and while carrying all that beer they probably forgot my juice that I never got. The guys were puzzled from the abundance of alcohol so much so, that they started tossing the pints to each other. And when the last full pint shone brightly on the table later that evening, everyone was drooling over it, but finally when no one dared to take it, Thunderstone manager Gerald Wilkes came to rescue and decided to save the boys from such poison. While waiting for the food to arrive, bassist Titus Hjelm entertained us with a "nice" show..erhm. The yuppies next to our table almost dropped their eyes though.
When we never got the food, but instead got our check real fast, we decided to leave and continue the evening at another nice place. This is where our german friends took off, they probably got their dose of finnish humour for that evening. We took a short walk to Lost & Found, which has a reputation from its transvestites and gays and where many famous people spend their evenings at. This time we didn't see any interesting people though. I wanted to check out the downstairs and asked Tolkki what's happening over there and he said "you don't want to go there", nodding yes, when I asked him if the gays etc were there. Well, I'm pretty ok with gays etc, so I wanted to check it out anyhows and only saw one person dressed as a woman, what a disappointment. This was the same place where Titus ran into trouble some time ago at the bathroom, but as a clever guy he got out of the situation quickly.
What is the magic that draws rock stars to go to a place like this? If you think about it, the music sucked, the people were mostly yuppies looking at you like a lowlife and the drinks were really expensive. Maybe it's a hiding place from metal fans, who would never go anywhere near to a place like this. Well, I know I ain't going there anymore. I love my metal, the relaxed atmosphere at most metal clubs and the dance floor, which was very small here if there was any, 'cos I didn't see it.
Later during the evening the guys started singing some Bon Jovi tunes, even my favourite "Always", accompanied by Kari who can also carry a tune and sounds like Joe Lynn Turner/Richie Sambora, and the boys got some attention from the other female customers too. Pasi Rantanen was so sweet and sang "Bed Of Roses" for me alone, while Tolkki was just shaking his head to the drunken guys, who by the way were still singing quite fine, even after killing the ashtrade, half the bunch falling on the floor, knocking down the table and spilling some booze on me. But there's no escaping a booze shower at a club! After spending over an hour there, it was time to go. You never get home early when you spend your evening at clubs, that's for sure.
As a conclusion to the album, "The Burning" shows a heavier side from Thunderstone, mainly because of the mixing and the songs having more speed. Nino seemed to be very pleased about everything with it, he was especially very proud of the vocals, praising Pasi all over the place. You can expect a video from the album too.
The guys get to play the songs live already in January next year, in Tavastia Club at finnish metal music awards, but only a few songs. Summer sees them for the second time in Wacken Open Air, Germany. We'll see how they've managed to get new fans since the last time, when their debut album wasn't even yet released there before their show and they were struck in awe from the success.
What comes to the party, it's always a hustle with these guys. But in a fun way. RockUnited thanks Thunderstone and everyone involved.
Text by Satu Reunanen Pictures by Kari Helenius, and Satu Reunanen, (c)2003 RockUnited.Com