REVIEWS - SALVATION BY FIRE
Having seen the word "Finland" on the cover, I was really expecting the worst, you know what I mean - supersonic keyboard-guitar duels, crazy soloing and victorious singing of a high-pitched youth. However as I studied the band photo some doubts crawled into my head, for there were only four stern faces on the picture looking at me in gloom. "Why only four, where's the keyboarder?" I thought as I was putting the CD in my stereo.
A minute-long intro passed quickly, and the blockbuster "Under The Dying Sun" at once crossed all t's. Fast, heavy and relentless music performed by Burning Point on this record totally destroys all stereotypes concerning Finnish power metal that have been cultivated for years by famous musicians from that country. "Salvation By Fire" reminds me a lot of Impelliteri, Blackthorne and Headstone Epitaph, which means that it is pure and high-quality power metal without speculative prefixes such as true, sympho or melodic that have become so common lately. The guys learned English well and they know the right meaning of the word "power".
Not everybody will enjoy this wall-crushing release, but I was really impressed by an enormous doze of energy and the musical direction chosen by the band. Burning Point refused to jump on the post-Helloween-Manowar-ish bandwagon and opted for a not so conventional and therefore a bit fresher form of music. Unfortunately, no hits again, but four points is fair enough in such situation.
I had never heard of this Finnish power metal band before, and comparisons to Judas Priest and Yngwie Malmsteen made me skeptical, but this is an excellent album.
Judging from the band picture, I was fully expecting Pantera sound-a-likes, but the obligatory instrumental opening track with stormy sound effects assured me that I was listening to a European power metal band.
But whereas most bands of this genre come off sounding like Helloween, this band really does owe their more straight-ahead brand of metal to acts like Priest and Malmsteen. Still, drummer Jari Kaiponen does drive the band along with quick double bass drumming on the album's explosive first song, "Under the Dying Sun," and the super-catchy "Stealer of Light."
The latter has a huge sing-along chorus and memorable guitar leads, while "Sun" features nice, creative guitar passages reminiscent of Maiden and Priest.
An interesting thing about this band is that lead singer Pete Ahonen is also the lead guitarist.
He has a classic metal voice, with a range that lies somewhere between Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bayley, but this does not detract from his guitar shredding. Coupled with his solo on the mid-tempo "Lake Of Fire," the guitar work on the intro and solo make "Fall of Thy Kingdom" particularly good.
This band has only been around since 1997, and if they keep putting out records like this, they should be big on the metal scene for a while.
Score: 15 of 17 Finnish rockers with bandanas.
Although Burning Point did not create any new style within metal neither revolutionized the new age of heavy music, it delivered a pretty good album. Classicism with a modern way of looking into the music, side by side, these two characteristics paint this record with a pleasant colour for your ears.
The vocals are clean and damn mean with it comes to melody! Great musicianship is expected by these progressive metal bands, and this one deliver it very well.
With a killer production by the hands of Kari Vahakuopus, "Salvation By Fire" is a record to be on your mind the next time you approach a record store. Point blank!
4 / 5 (great)
Salvador P. Gouveia
Finland's Burning Point add their names to the growing list of Metal bands coming from one of the great markets of the genre. With the bands debut offering 'Salvation by Fire' they seem poised to make their mark on the metal community and a lot of noise. The band is signed with Limb Music and released in late 2001.
Burning Point are very typical of what you would expect from the Finnish Metal scene. Aggressive, melodic music with a lot of grit. The band embrace a style in which is straight forward. You might wonder if they sound like other acts from the scene. Well, yes and no. The band has the raw ability to pull off what the others are doing, but seem to feel at ease in playing their music more traditional. Tracks that I personally like include 'Under the dying Sun', the gritty 'Lake of Fire', 'Black Star' which has a tempo similar to Dio-era Black Sabbath, the quick 'Stealer of Light', and the awesome album closer and title track 'Salvation by Fire' which embraces several tempos. Once again there is a hidden bonus track. This track is a gem. Love the groove. Make sure you don't miss it on the album.
I am amazed at the quality as well as quantity of acts coming out of Finland. What makes the scene great is the variety of styles in the scene as well. As mentioned, Burning Point are a bit more traditional in their approach, but are very good as well at what they deliver. This is a pretty damn good debut effort and should be a worthy addition to any metal collection.
Picked this one up totally at random while hanging out at Newbury Comics (The #1 source for Metal and Alternative labels in the Boston Area). There was obviously a massive promotional campaign going out by the record company. At least four other CDs were all lined up in one of those little display racks, all with different descriptions.
"Good Clean Classic Power Metal, just like you remember from the '80s", read the label. Being on a Power Metal binge after discovering the Finnish band AFTERWORLD, I figured it was worth a shot, and I shelled out the 14 bucks. Climbing into my car...I popped it in, totally unsure of what to expect.
It is very rare when something lives up to its hype. Fortunately Salvation By Fire is one of those albums that delivers exactly what it says it does: some stiff clean Power Metal that'll make you think Reagan was still in the White House. Lead trade-offs are numerous and generously spread across the album with a singer who perfectly fits into both the mood and aggression of the music. Generally themed around the concept of fire, be it both physical and metaphysical, there's some brilliant songwriting in here, the kind of stuff you know only Power Metal can give. Production is crystal clear: everything is right where it should be, and nothing is left out.
Musically speaking this doesn't really break any ground, but hey it's all the rage to be retro out there, and these guys were very good at capturing the sound...very much akin to NOSTRADAMEUS, with some riffing I haven't enjoyed as much as ICED EARTH's behemoth Something Wicked This Way Comes and vocals definitely deserving the right to be compared to Matthew Barlow.
Finland's cranking out some damn good Old School music to compete with their neighbors across the baltic...and who am I to disobey their call? Get this album, listen to this album, love this album...
- 8 -
Contributed by Matt Gold
Submitted by Jack 'Odel' on 11/13/2001.
One of the finer power metal debuts in a while.
Power metal was the sort of metal genre many used to shun away from in the past years. It was always deemed a bit poofy and not really hard enough for the 'real men' to sink their teeth into. I was one of those 'real men' and I used to shy away from it too. With bands like Burning Point and their impressive debut "Salvation by Fire", I can proudly sink my teeth into this 'hard as nails' band and feel good about myself.
Hailing from Finland and siting influences such as Accept, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath. Burning Point are deemed classical power metal, they have the normal power metal influences and the traditional heavy metal from the likes of Accept and I can certainly hear a lot of Iron Maiden here too.
One of the best attributes about Burning Point's debut is the great vocals of Pete Ahonen, none of the normal fairy vocals here lads and lasses. Pure man vocals only. While only a four member band, they couldn't resist chucking in a keyboard player to keep the power metal junkies happy. Pasi Hiltula from Eternal Tears of Sorrow, another well know Finnish band assists and helps Burning Point maintain their elevation above other traditional heavy metal/power metal bands.
There is a lot to like about Burning Point. One of the major drawing cards is that there is absolutely no stinker tracks here. The majority of tunes utilise a few catchy guitar riffs and consistent drumming and then chop and change between alternating guitar and synthesizer solos, creating some solid and pseudo metal anthems, complete with choir vocals.
My only gripe with Burning Point, is that its not that radically different from other power metal bands who incorporate the classic heavy metal of yesteryear with the artistry of power metal of today. This does not detract from "Salvation by Fire" at all, but will merely see it more than likely passed over by countless of consumers who will see and buy similar releases by other power metal bands. This is shame, because Burning Point are classy musicians who play classy metal.
The standout track for me is the awesome 'Fall of Thy Kingdom', which is not really that much musically different from the rest of "Salvation by Fire" but does contain one of the best choruses I've ever heard in a power metal song.
Bottom Line: Solid power metal fused with classic heavy metal in the vein of Iron Maiden and other 'classic' bands. Great vocals and damn fine choir sections make "Salvation by Fire" a winner in my book.
Rating: 7 out of 10
BURNING POINT : SALVATION BY FIRE
Finland is famous for the quality of it's bands, and in whatever style they are into, their music skills are more than obvious and help them create remarkably good albums. This goes on the case here, since Burning Point are from Finalnd and they are playing Power Metal with Classic Metal influences and a lot of catchy melodies, epic elements and excellent guitars. Their influences from the German scene are more than obvious, with arrangements vary from speedy and fast tempo songs to slower and more groovy stuff. There are enough interesting ideas on the songs, and the majority of them are well implemented into the songs. The production is very good and helps the music very much. Of course playing that kind of Metal anyone wouldn't avoid the cliches easily, and these guys are not, but the final result, although sounds predictable, justifies their efforts, and gives us an album that will please the fans of the specific genre. Another thing is the vocals, which are very good, although the voice of the singer sounds a little bit weird, but fits in the whole atmosphere. If you are into Melodic Power Metal then this one will meet exactly your expectations.
Left ranking by Vic Tzougrakis. Right Ranking by Manos Fountoulakis
Yes! This is it, the heavy metal thunder, the blast from the past, the retro-action of the Finnish quartet BURNING POINT - a true masterpiece of modern melodic heavy metal.
After a short intro the band explodes into oblivion with a super-fast and ultra heavy hymn Under the Dying Sun. The opening track is definitely a nod to the past and the music of this new band offers a glimpse into the not-so-distant past where super guitar heroes ruled the metal scene. On Salvation By Fire two things strike out prominently, the superb guitar work and excellent production, you can actually hear each instrument respectively and the vocal force of Pete is right there in front of you, not to apparent and not to far away, and the pounding rhythm section provides a superb outline to the guitar ongoings up front. The following track, Lake of Fire loses some speed yet it gains on heaviness and sharpness. It also has magnificent chorus and a dose of progressive tricks - abrupt changes in tempo and interesting bridge passage. The next track, Fall of Thy Kingdom is already a bit faster with a very melodic guitar intro, strong vocals and playful rhythm section. The backing vocals on this track are nicely interwoven in the fabric of the melody and rhythm. It is obvious that this album is a labour of love, that real soul has been poured into it, the soul of heavy metal. The guys from the band seem such a harmonious bunch, a group of musicians with a sense of direction, with the power of self-control, with the knowledge and deep appreciation of the roots of heavy metal music. This can also be heard on the following track, Higher that is one more hymn-like heavy metal banger. It is a more mid-paced track but it compensates this with an abundance of heavy riffs and powerful vocals. Once again, backing vocals are just great! Then there is the ultimate track, Black Star that is truly an amazing piece of hard and heavy music. It includes a superb chorus, pumping bass, intricate drums and sharp guitars with a very 80s-like attitude, you know, all that RAINBOW feeling. A very convincing and quite catchy is also the track Stealer of Light, which features great melodic hooks, simple yet beautiful chorus and smashing drums; a head-banger's treat, yum, yum, bang your head to this! The album slowly comes to an end with the there remaining tracks: The One is a powerful heavy metal scorcher with thumping and galloping drums, rocking guitars and a slightly progressive-oriented bridge passage; Sings of Danger is an epitome of classic heavy metal that is both powerful and progressive (almost like the first QUEENSRYCHE album) and stands out as the track that could represent the band as a hit-single topping the metal charts; and last but not least, the closing title track Salvation By Fire, which demonstrates all of the above in one single lengthy heavy metal composition that needs no special description - true, heavy and to the point!
With razor-sharp guitars, destructive rhythm section and soaring vocal delivery, BURNING POINT stands as this Fall's premiere heavy metal release that will please both the new fans of heavy metal as well as the older fans. And, once again, I must compliment the band on excellent production - great work, guys!
Suomi Finland Perkele
Suomalainen Burning Point liittyy debyyttilevyllään Salvation by Fire kotimaisen voimametallin kärkikastiin. Alkunsa yhtye sai 1997 kitaristien Jukka Kyrön ja Pete Ahosen tehdessä demon nimellä Planet Caravan. Jo silloinen yhtyeen nimikin kertoo Black Sabbathin vaikutuksesta alkutaipaleella. Hyvän vastaanoton saaneena pohjoismaisilta musiikkilehdiltä aloitti voimakaksikko rytmiryhmän metsästyksen. Nelikon ollessa kasassa, vaihtui myös nimi ja Suomi sai todistaa Burning Pointin syntymää. Ensimmäisten keikkojen ja demon saamien hyvien arvosteluiden pohjalta oli hyvä lähteä hakemaan levysopimusta ja sellainen syntyikin Limb Music Productsin (mm. Rhapsody, KenZiner) kanssa. Kvartetin lisäksi debyytillä vierailee myös EToS:sta tuttu Pasi Hiltunen koskettimineen.
Vaikka allekirjoittanutta häiritsevä "pakollinen" kategoriointi tunkeekin Burning Pointin powermetallin lipun alle, ei tällä kertaa kuitenkaan puhuta vakio tuplabasaritykistyksestä ylikorkeilla vokaaliosuuksilla höystettynä, vaan tämä poppoo on selvästi ammentanut musiikkinsa perinteisestä hevistä tiettyjen vauhtipalojen olevan laskettavissa jopa speedmetalliksi. Avausraidasta rauhoittuneena siirrytään puolinopeaan perusheviin, jota hallitsee erityisesti kitarakaksikon tyylikäs soitanta levyn päättyessä pitkään eeppiseen nimikkobiisiin.
Kappalerakenteet ovat hyvin perinteiset ja sisältävät tyylitajulla tehtyjä tempomuutoksia. Soolot ovat kuin parhaimmilla kitarasankareilla (Yngwie who?) 80-luvulla päättyen usein kahden kitaran vuorottaiseen iloitteluun. Kyseessä ei kuitenkaan ole kitaristiparivaljakon soolorojektista vaan ihan oikeasta bändistä, jonka yhteispeli näyttää toimivan jo ensilevyltä alkaen mutta vasta livenä nähdään kuinka yhteenhiotusta metallipumpusta on kyse. Vokaaliosuudet hoitava Pete Ahonen suoriutuu tehtävästään kunnialla. ääni on hyvin perinteinen heviääni, puhdas, höystynä pienehköllä rosoisuudella. Pieni mutta kuitenkin tietty Suomalaisuus paistaa laulusta. Onko se sitten huono asia, näin Suomimetallin huippukautena, päättäköön kukin omassa tahossaan. Henkilökohtaisesti ei kuitenkaan moinen tekijä häirinnyt.
Jos pidät perinteisestä hevistä ja powerikin kuuluu vakiovalintaasi on Burning Point varma valinta. Välttämättä mitään uutta se ei tuo mutta tekee tehtävänsä viihdyttävänä musiikkina vallan mainiosti. Levyn mitta on myös sopiva, n. 51 minuuttia eli mitään "puutumista" ei tapahdu matkan varrella. Allekirjoittaneella viides kuuntelukerta meneillään ja taatusi levy tulee palaamaan soittimeen myöhemminkin ja eilen huomasin hoilaavani kaupungilla "Lake of Fireä" eli tarttuvaa on. Lisämaininta vielä hienosta kansikuvasta, joka kuvaa bändin nimeä loisteliaasti tulivuorineen ja palavine kylineen.
8½ / 10