Label: AFM Records
Release date: October 22nd, 2021
Do you know that moment when I buy an album and you just can’t stop listening to it? This is one of those!
“Arsonist of the Soul” is the 8th album of Finnish metallers Burning Point. The band was formed in 1999 in Oulu and so far, in my personal opinion, they have never delivered a bad or mediocre album. “Arsonist of the Soul” might be the best one in their career so far. What do I like about it? The most that is the fact that it floats well. This is not one of the albums when you would skip any song. Each song has a great quality, great energy and the fact that 12 songs packed in around 50 minutes just pass in a blink of an eye and you seek for more is good recommendation, right?
The new vocalist is Luca Sturniolo who joined the band in 2019, but this is officially his first album with Burning Point. To me, he is already familiar with cooperation with Timo Tolkki’s Avalon album “The Land of New Hope” (Frontiers Records, 2013). I must say he is a revelation, perfectly fitting to the overall band’s sound. His vocal range is impressive and listening to him you have a feeling he has been in the band since forever. Not just him, but the rest of the newcomers (Jarkko Poussu, Tuomas Jaatinen and Matti Halonen) are in their comfort zone and they work like. The guys joined the band in 2019, but still, this is their first albumin this formation so still newcomers. If you are wondering if anyone is left, yes. The only constant of the band is Pete Ahonen and since 2006 there is Pekka Kolivuori.
The band faced a lot of line-up changes over the years, but the core of the band Pete Ahonen says:
“I am extremely happy about the new line-up and the new record. All the guys are very, very talented and excited!“,
you have to believe him. And you will notice that from the very first note.
Happy? If I could use only one word to describe this album, its energy and emotion, yes that would be happiness.
On June 4th, the band released the first single/video “Blast in the Past”. What a blast! This album as well as this song is promising, a bit heavier than the last one. From the beginning the band hits with powerful riffs, thunderous drumming, heavy keyboard parts delivered by Matti Halonen, and all that with perfect measure. The next one, “Arsonist of the Soul” was presented on August 6th. This might be easily qualified as a very powerful ballad. Title song is a bit slower, well composed, versatile piece of metal, and here I cannot resist to notice that here Luca reminds me a bit of Alexx Stahl, and overall sound goes in the direction of Bonfire. On the other hand, you can recognize a bit of “Heaven and Hell” vibe. However this is an amazing song. And speaking of “Heaven and Hell”… Cannot resist saying Luca’s physiognomy reminds me a lot of Dio.
The rest of the album obeys with fast tempo, a lot of variety, musically and vocally. “Rules the Universe” perfectly reveals Luca’s vocal range. The man is a killer. He sings so easily, naturally and I must notice, for an Italian who lives in Finland, his English pronunciation is perfect. This song would easily fit to some of the Freedom Call’s albums.
“Out of Control (Savage Animals)” goes a bit in the direction of traditional heavy/power metal sound and here I must notice that somehow if Joey Tempest would sing power metal, he might sound exactly like Luca on this song. “Persona Non Grata” might have the most infectious chorus. And Luca’s Italian charm breaks through his accent here.
“Hit the Night” is very intense song, with catchy sing along chorus:
“Hit the night
Regenerate your soul ’till the morning light
Hit the dark
Worlds in your hands you just leave your mark.”
“Running in the Darkness” again with its chorus will move lazy asses and make those who sing horrible (like me) to sing no matter what. Chorus, as many others, is catchy and moving.
“Calling” brings a nostalgic, emotional vibe, on the edge of a slow and mid tempo song that might be classified as a ballad. Maybe this song has the most emotional lyrics in my personal opinion.
“Off the Radar” brings the power back! Again, vocals that could instantly kill, as well as the chorus. Those are the songs made for bike riding, wind in the hair, speed, feeling of freedom when you want to be alone and off the radar.
“Fire with Fire” brings us back to the heavy realm, catchy one, there is no rush here, it just flows well. Rhythm is moving and again you can feel a nostalgic vibe. “Will I Rise with the Sun” is another ballad with great lyrics:
“As I certainly expect, there’s a dark side of myself,
Telling me that something I have missed,
If the monster feels my fear, if my mind will not be clear,
My journey comes to an end…”
Guitar solo bring emotional dimension on a higher level here.
In the end, unfortunately, “Eternal Life”. This is the great epic song, a true piece of melodic power metal you might expect from Burning Point. High pitched vocals again, great melody, composition, variety, virtuosity and happiness again. And yes, I want to listen to this album eternally!
The worst nightmare for a reviewer is to have a perfect album in front of herself/himself. It is easy to write if you have an album with flows, but if something is perfect, there is no language, no letter, word, sentence to say how great it is. “Arsonist of the Soul” is one of those, and I can sign and seal the best album in 2021. Executioner!