Monday, April 30, 2012

Tornado - Amsterdamn, Hellsinki

Tornado
Amsterdamn, Hellsinki
Listenable Records

What do you get when you throw Dutch, Finnish and American musicians together playing a style of music they call ‘swinging thrash’? The answer is Tornado.
Formed in recent years (Originally under the name of Nemesis Divina), the Netherlands based five piece act (Comprising of vocalist Superstar Joey Severance, Fuelblooded guitarist Michiel Rutten, guitarist Daddy B, bassist Johnny Wow and Amoral/Shear drummer Juhana ‘Starvin Marvin’ Karlsson) soon signed a deal with French label Listenable Records, entered the studio with producer Peter TÃĪgtgren and have now released their debut effort ‘Amsterdamn, Hellsinki’.
So it does beg the question, just what does ‘swinging thrash’ actually sound like? Well, if you were to take elements of Death Angel, Exodus and Testament, and mixed it with Nuclear Assault, Suicidal Tendencies/Infectious Grooves and Agnostic Front, then you’ll have some idea of what to expect (Or be completely baffled!).
The opening punch of the brief introductory piece ‘A Bold Statement’ (Which boasts the line, ‘Like Muhammad Ali, we’re coming out swinging!’) and its fast paced sequel ‘Hate Worldwide’, Tornado definitely lay down a statement of intent – and that is to well and truly thrash listeners – albeit in a somewhat unique manner. Musically, the band’s understanding and execution of the classic thrash sound is nothing short of first class, with all of the bands mentioned above coming to mind immediately when the band sink their teeth into the song’s powerful riffs and shredding solos. On the vocal front however, there’s a completely different influence to be heard, and it’s the one component to the band’s sound that is an acquired taste. Sounding like a cross between Mike Muir and Roger Miret, Superstar Joey Severance may be far from an easy listen for some, but unique to say the least. As a song, ‘Hate Worldwide’ is a strong effort, and the subtle Living Colour reference with the gang vocals (The band’s classic ‘Type’ from 1990 is worked into the choruses) is really well done.
The fast paced environmental themed ‘3 Of 8’ is a take-no-prisoners blast of relentless thrash that is a definite favourite, while the equally driven ‘Massive Extinction Impact’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Rise Disciples, Rise’ are further examples of where Tornado deliver some great speed based thrash efforts.
But Tornado are anything but a one-trick pony in terms of tempos, with ‘Ignorance Is Thy Name’, ‘Priesthood Pedophilia’ (There are no prizes for guessing what this song is all about) and ‘Tunisia Uprising’ just some of the tracks showcasing just how varied Tornado can mix things up in terms of tempos, sounds and styles.
Unfortunately, while there’s a lot of great things offered throughout ‘Amsterdamn, Hellsinki’, there’s also a couple of glaring misfires as well. While it’s no doubt a tribute to Pantera’s ‘Walk’ (1992), ‘Eugenics’ is a little too repetitive as a whole, while the short ‘Noora’ (Which features a guest appearance from Austrian vocalist Dorota Malek) clashes with the thrash based album and inevitably sounds tacked on more than sounding deliberately placed.
Overall, what Tornado offer on ‘Amsterdamn, Hellsinki’ is kind of unique, and yet at the same time kind of familiar. And while the album does have a couple of fillers, and won’t appeal to all fans of thrash, there’s more than enough here to earn the album a strong recommendation.

For more information on Tornado, check out - http://www.myspace.com/tornadoamsterdam

© Justin Donnelly