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The rise of animosity regarding volcanoes has scaled exceptional levels recently. Originally billed as Thunderstone headlining over Vreid and Solstafir as part of a Nordic metal night, the volcanic ash of Iceland’s troublesome volcano blighted this concert. With airspace surrounding the UK dense with sizeable rock fragments, all flights were cancelled, meaning Vreid and Solstafir were unable to enter the UK. Fortunately, Thunderstone had arrived in London just half an hour before the airport was rapidly closed. The power metal quintet was the only band to play and graciously, admission was free for those still interested in attending.

With little to no overlap between Thunderstone fans and Vreid/Solstafir ones, a substantial crowd still turned up, generally unfazed by the impediments of the volcano, and were treated to a momentous performance. The Finnish power metallers were highly entertaining, displaying nothing but smiles throughout the set. Although Swedish vocalist Rick Altzi is new to the Thunderstone line up, he appeared very relaxed with his band mates, providing a great amount of interaction between himself and the other members. He handled the vocal lines of ex-singer Pasi Rantanen delectably, adding an extra rough edge to the vocals, much like the heavier tone of Thunderstone’s latest full-length ‘Dirt Metal’. From this album, the jovial band blasted forward a summary of all the effort had to offer, opening with the dynamic title track before moving on to the likes of ‘I Almighty’, ‘Ghosts of Youth’ and the eight-plus minute ‘Suffering Song’. To appease the enthused fans, Thunderstone included ‘Tool of the Devil’, ’10,000 Ways’, ‘Until We Touch the Burning Sun’ and ‘Spire’ into their strong set; the eponymous debut album was not represented at all but with such a healthy show, it did not feel empty without its inclusion. A drum solo from Mirka Rantanen broke up the music, alongside the band members’ humorous banter, usually related to homosexuality and male genitalia! There were a multitude of references to the volcano with Altzi’s stating that the Icelandic Solstafir were urinating into the volcano to stop it and later his questioning of the audience asking how many of them had attended to a gig that was almost cancelled due to a volcano. As a handful of people put their hands up, Altzi reaffirms “Not including this one!” The hands fell. The band invited the audience to give themselves a round of applause by attending a gig unprecedented in music history, apparently. Not even natural disasters can stop Thunderstone satisfying their fans. On a more serious note, they did dedicate a song to the recently deceased Peter Steele, which everyone commended them for, even if it was out of place with all the comedy. In spite of Thunderstone having their musical lapses into boredom on CD, the music felt more formidable and better live with the animated members. Despite the lack of Vreid and Solstafir, the Finns (and Swede) managed to put on a fulfilling show, promising that they would return with the absent bands at a later date. Obviously, the Thunderstone troopers were ecstatic to hear such great news.
Thursday 15th April 2010
The Lexington in London, UK
Review by Elena Francis