Thursday, April 19, 2012

Burning Point - The Ignitor (2012)


Maybe we are farsighted, but it feels as though Finland and traditional power metal don't come together very often. Burning Point, a four piece from Oulo, have been around the block enough times to represent their home country well. With a firm grip on all of the various elements that make this genre so great, they bring "The Ignitor," an eleven track offering of high flying guitar riffs and wailing vocals, to the masses. On this new album, it looks like they are ready to light the candle, and carry you through the darkest caverns.

The earliest moments of "Eternal Flame" give you a clear indication of what this album is all about. Fast, precisely delivered riffs and raucous drums blanket you immediately, with a soaring male vocal flying over the top. Light keyboard work peaks through the mix from time to time, just enough to make an impact. The speed is fast and furious, taking a four minute track and making it feel like a two minute burst. The same can easily be said about "In The Fires Of Myself - Made Hell," which is a pretty interesting play on words. The beauty of the music comes in the vocals, but not just in their almost operatic delivery. The way they command the music, leading a charge of heavily distorted guitars, is admirable. And with some of the more deft guitar work the traditional power metal world can offer, you have a one-two punch that would be hard to ignore.

Even as the pace slows for the stomp worthy "In The Night," the guitars continue to twist and turn in intricate patterns. The lyrical content is a notch about the majority of current metal, sticking to themes of an emotional nature. And, not to mention, the catchy riffs and delivery in the chorus is enough to keep you hooked. The solo that falls here is sure to turn a few heads, warranting a repeated listen. The title track, "The Ignitor," is fittingly the track that may put this album over the top. With it's combination of dense, chugging guitars and melodic vocals, it would be hard to keep your fist out of the air. Even as the solo section kicks in, the hard edged sound stays true, provided a platform for some organized chanting. Not to be forgotten, a rumbling bass line begins "Silent Scream," a song that is anything but silent. Playing out as a ballad of sorts, the verse sections set the table, and the chorus serves the feast. The only issue is that the tempo here saps some of the strength created to this point. The song stands on its own, but might not necessarily fit into the arc of the album.

Quickly returning to form, "Heaven Is Hell" brings the sound back to a rolling boil. Guitars build in both speed and power, giving you every reason to bang your head and sing along. With one intoxicating riff after another, paired with drumming that is just as fundamentally sound as it is invigorating, the momentum shift comes in a tidal wave. Refusing to quit, "Loosing Sleep" builds on that same foundation, adding a layer of keyboards to the mix to expand the overall sound. Each piece serves a purpose, whether it is the distorted guitars as the backbone, or the drumming as the perfect accent. The vocals, once again, take charge, leading the band into sonic warfare. It is right around this point that the band truly find their balance, a middle point between aggression and melody. That sense of delicate mix is honed even further on "Demon Inside Of You," along with a heavy dose of operatic vocal melodies. Locking in step with the guitars and keys, you are greeted by  a multifaceted attack of voice and instrumental. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the most inspired guitar work comes here, with a solo and outro that seem to rival some of the more established bands of the genre.

Sticking to their roots, "Everdream" is a melodic metal power, seeing the higher register vocals come to life in a flash. The subject matter of dreams fits perfectly into the sound and spectacle the band have to offer, giving even greater validation to the style of delivery they employ. Despite keeping things heavy, the riffs have a lighter quality, dancing in and out of the mix, alongside some steadfast bass work. If you miss some of the gang chanting that power metal often features, "Lost Tribe" will bring you to your knees. With a more gritty verse approach, and a catchy-as-hell chorus, you may find yourself, sitting alone, singing at the top of your lungs. The gallop of the rhythm section props up the guitar work in the solo. Finishing things up neatly is "Holier Than Thou," which sees the band at the aggressive best, slamming right into things. The album has come full circle, traversing all of the tenets of power metal, only to end up back where it all began. With winding guitars, seemingly flawless drums, and a vocal pitch that could shatter glass, you have the total package.

Power metal, be it the European or traditional sub sect, really only has room for two groups: those who are good, and those who aren't. For Burning Point, it is very easy to lump them into the former, simply because they do everything the right way. The songs are well constructed, well performed, and, most importantly, easily entrenched in your mind. Sure, there are areas that could use a little bit of polish, but only in minor ways. This is a band that has all of the tools and talent to continue a rise to power... no pun intended. If "The Ignitor" started the fires, then the next album might just burn the place to the ground.

8/10

Official Site - http://www.burningpointmetal.com/
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/burningpointband

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