Label: Playground 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Jarkko Ahola, best known as the vocalist of Teräsbetoni and one of the singers of Northern Kings, is back with the second effort from his own band AHOLA. I quite liked their first album ”Stoneface” (2012), and while ”Tug Of War” doesn’t stray too far from the same path, something seems to be missing. The album sounds good, J. Ahola sings like the vocal god he is and the band grooves, so I guess it’s the songs… Many of them are perfectly decent hard rock tracks but the hooks aren’t quite as sharp as on the first album.
If you’re only familiar with Jarkko’s work with Teräsbetoni, be advised that even though there are touches of ”heroic metal” here, Ahola is a different beast. Interestingly, I am constantly reminded of one J. Tempest and Europe, because at times J. Ahola sounds uncannily like young Joey. Somehow I also find similarities to the latest Europe album ”Bag Of Bones” on some songs.
The most Teräsbetoni-like song on the album is easily ”Still Metal”, which has a stomping beat and a shout-along chorus with a ”manly” choirs. Elsewhere you’ll get your basic Accadacca riff rock (”Rock’n Roll”), Zeppelin/Whitesnake-influences (”Dog”), Black Sabbathesque riffs (”Road Of Creation”)… My favorites are ”The End Of The Line”, ”Tug Of War” and ”The Will You Always Had”, which do have rather sharp hooks. Listen carefully…