Review by Kimmo Toivonen
I didn’t rush out and review this as soon as I got it. I thought I’d give it some time so that the excitement over a new product from one of my favourite bands would simmer down. You see, I’m trying to be an objective reviewer… and failing miserably, some of you are already saying. Well, maybe so but after numerous spins, this album is becoming one of the top-ranking BFT releases, and I have a feeling that it will stand the test of time.
The band teamed up with Jimmy Westerlund, who’s not only the producer/guitarist in One Desire but also the man behind several mainstream hit albums here in Finland. He has definitely created a contemporary, polished sound for this album. There’s a bit of a ”synth wave” vibe in some of the tracks and the in general, the keyboards dominate the sound. As you may know, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen stepped aside from the band earlier this year, and he only plays on two of the songs. The band’s new guitarist Roope Riihijärvi and producer Jimmy Westerlund are responsible for the remaining guitar work. It’s subtle and stylish, but I can’t help but think that maybe a little ”crunch” wouldn’t have gone amiss on some of the tracks.
I gave the band’s previous album ”Sunbound” the full set of R’s, but in hindsight maybe I was a bit generous. This set of songs is arguably stronger - while the band is experimenting, there are no ”oddities” such as ”Shock” or ”Phantasmagoria” or anything as bland as ”Indelible Heroes”. If melodic rock bands could still get airplay, basically all of the songs on the album could be ”singles”, even the more experimental tracks like ”Night Drive” (which actually was a single) and ”Battle Ground”. The Toto-meets-Foreigner ballad ”Love Is A Beautiful Lie” is the latest single release, and I hope it’s given a chance on some radio stations, because it deserves a wider audience than us already converted.
My personal favourites include the aforementioned ”Night Drive”, a song tailor-made for late night driving (obviously), but I can tell you that it works like magic on a bicycle drive at 6:30 am too. Apparently there’s a mini-movie based on it on the way. ”Chariot Of Fire” is catchy as hell, and extra mention to Jason Flinck’s melodic bass lines on that one. The melancholic pop-rock gem ”Ticking Away” ticks all the right boxes, and the synthwave-meets-earlyBonJovi of ”Candle In The Window” is superb too. ”Rock In The City” is an anthem, and ”Arianne” another synth-driven, modern rocker with Pekka Heino belting it out with intense passion. Really, there are no "skippable" tracks on this, and once we're able to see the band live again, I wouldn't mind if they played all of these songs in the live set.
Although in general 2020 hasn’t been a great year, at least we’ve gotten some stunning albums. ”Feel The Burn” might just be the best one of them.