Burning Point is one of the those bands it can be easy to overlook. While always competent, the output from these Finnish power metallers was always a bit on the generic and mediocre side of Gamma-Strato-Ween Town. The early albums had some nice moments, but not enough to warrant keeping tabs on their later exploits. However, I must say I’m pleasantly surprised by their fifth album, The Ignitor. While it isn’t much of stylistic deviation from their past material, it has a good blend of melodic metal with traditional influences paired with the better elements of Euro-power. Sometimes they borrow from vintage Stratovarius, other times they remind me of early Firewind and a personal favorite of mine, the criminally overlooked Virtuocity. There are absolutely no surprises here and you’ve heard this kind of material a billion times before, but this is a straight-forward, super accessible album with tons of hooks and nice performances by all involved. Essentially, its sorbet for the ears. It’s pleasant, effortless to digest, and cleanses the palate for the next adventurous or “complex” listening experience. More importantly, they keep enough aggression and balls in the music to prevent it from becoming too glossy or too fruitastically power-nerdy. Steel Druhm always appreciates that.
While lead off track “Eternal Flame” has more than its share of standard power metal clichés, the band’s conviction allows it to rise above the crowd. They toss in enough heavy riffs and quality vocals to gives it an edge and they even throw in some neo-classical flair. It’s when they go heavier, like on “In the Fires of My Self Made Hell,” that they really hit their stride. Big, thick riffs and powerful mid-tempo vox give it a sound reminiscent of Firewind‘s Between Heaven and Hell or the best of Mystic Prophecy. Other notable moments include the hyper-melodic “In the Night,” which partly resurrects the sound of the long forgotten Fifth Angel, the ominous and darker groove of the title track, the mega hooky chorus and Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow homage of “Silent Scream” and the anthemic and memorable melodies in “Losing Sleep.” Effective but not quite as impressive is the Stratovarius worship on “Heaven and Hell” and the very Leverage-like “Demon Inside of You.” Of the bunch, only “Everdream” fails to work and even that one isn’t terrible, just a bit filler-esque.
In my opinion, Burning Point‘s strength is vocalist Pete Ahonen. He has a good range and can hit all the notes a power metal singer needs to hit, but bases much of his delivery around a muscular mid-range. At times he gets more raspy and edgy, not unlike Jorn Lande (“Lost Tribe,” “Holier than Thou” etc. etc.), and that helps offset the melodic-as-hell twinkling keyboards (which, thankfully, are keep way back in the mix). If these guys had a siren-like screamer up front, this material wouldn’t be anywhere near as convincing. Pekka Kolivuori has a nicely technical style of riffing and soloing and along with Ahonen, there’s plenty of guitar chops on display. Most of the solos are exceptionally tasteful while still inspiring the urge to air guitar along with them.
Sound-wise, things are peachy keen. The aforementioned keys are kept in check and the guitar is way out front and generally has a nicely firm, assertive tone. I would prefer they always had it ramped up as heavy as on “In the Fires of My Self Made Hell,” but that’s a minor quibble.
I’m well aware Burning Point is entirely unoriginal and offers nothing new to any genre. However, most of the songs pop with hooks and technical, engaging playing. It’s no classic but it’s definitely better than 85% of the power metal coming out these days. I enjoyed it and apparently, I was in need of some simple, easy-to-like music. If your brain wrinkles are getting smoothed out by too much drone, doom or prog, you should give this a spin. It’s breezy music for a molten metallic summer…of steel. I also dig the Fire Nation approved album cover.