If acts like Rhapsody and Hammerfall were Italian-style oven-fresh pizza in 1997, Finnish Power Metal troupe Thaurorod could be classified as the cold pizza of the previous evening in 2018. Okay, to be fair, the pizza has at least been warmed up in the microwave. As already on their two previous albums “Upon Haunted Battlefields” and “Anteinferno”, the latter already five years old, Thaurorod play their brand of music on 2018’s “Coast Of Gold” somewhere between Power and Symphonic Metal. Corny, yet charming, the Finns refrain from imposing their own interpretation of the genre on an individual note characterized by possible prog escapades or similar gimmicks. Cobbler, stick to your last.
The opening speed banger “Power” already drives home that sentiment, and in tune with its name, it pushes the throttle from beginning to end and only reduces the double bass orgy for a brief moment in the chorus’ epic atmosphere. What Thaurorod is offering here is Finnish melodic speed metal in its purest form, as seen in Sonata Arctica songs like “Victoria’s Secret” or “8th Commandment”. Granted, the OGs of the up-tempo orchestrations are ahead in the battle of the dashing riffs with these songs and other contemporary anthems, but considering the Tony Kakko ensemble’s extravagances of today, it is no blasphemy to consider Thaurorod as superior in the genre.
Thaurorod don’t pretend to not be influenced by Sonata Arctica. “Power”, “Feed The Flame” and “My Sun Will Rise” could also have been released on “Reckoning Night”, “Ecliptica” or one of the albums of Jani Liimatainen band Cain’s Offering with their fast-paced riffs and wide keyboard tapestries. To be precise, atmospherically and, in this context, lyrically, the compositions do not match these examples, but they clearly draw their vital energy from the typical Finnish variety of Power Metal.
Speaking of lyrics. Singer Andrej Kravljaca, who replaced Markku Kuikka’s gruff voice with his own clean, high-pitched vocals in 2012, adds his fierce history interest to the lyrical claim of the Finns, as evidenced in songs such as “The Commonwealth Lives.” Striking as well is the noticeable development of the vocalist’s skills. Kravljaca sounded a bit weak-tempered on “Anteinferno”, which caused a lot of displeasure compared to the previous, more powerful singer Kuikka. He does a better job on “Coast Of Gold” and shines in deeper registers with strong power.
Besides Andrej Kravljaca, bassist Pasi Tanskanen also takes care of the lyrics with a slight difference in the source of inspiration. Songs like “24601” (Jean Valjean’s prison number) and “Illuminati” thematize fiction to semi-fiction. This succeeds, as can be heard quite outstandingly in the album highlight “24601”. Alongside the average, brutish numbers expected of a melodic power album, this 6-minute track was smuggled aboard and adds an extremely varied, atmospheric hymn to the album. Oh, what joy and potential this great arrangement promises! Yet it is buried beneath such generic songs! Does “24601” come from the hands of Thaurorod or Jani Liimatainen? One thing I can promise, another piece of this magnitude is found neither on “Coast Of Gold”, nor in the whole discography of the Finns.
Not every coast that glitters is gold; In addition to pleasant, easily remembered tunes and “24601” there is also the one or the other dud on the long player. In particular, these are the atmospheric, but ultimately languid “Cannibal Island”, the far too long and uniform “Illuminati” and the bland final ballad “Halla”. Anyone who dies of boredom during the latter’s runtime, however, has at least experienced the previous gems the golden coast bears.
Sure, Thaurorod do not reinvent the genre and do not seem to want that, but what they procure with typical Power Metal tracks is in line with the high European standard. It does not sound as fresh as in 1997, 2001 or even 2005, but nonetheless thrills the followers of this epic variety of metal. And then there are varied, salient compositions such as “24601”, “Coast Of Gold” and “Into The Flood” which add gravy to the roast. Undoubtedly, Thaurorod prove that they have the makings of crafting and composing to deliver larger things than mundane Sonata Arctica copies, but are mostly self-confined to just that. However, this is already enough for genre fans and thus brings a neat surprise in the still young year of 2018.