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Thundermother – Thundermother review

Released by: Despotz Records

Genre: Hard Rock

Release date: 23 February 2018

Line up:
Vocals: Guernica Mancini 
Guitar: Filippa Nässil 
Drums: Emlee Johansson
Bass: Sara Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Revival
2. Whatever
3. Survival Song
4. Racing on Mainstreet
5. Fire in the Rain
6. Hanging at my Door
7. Rip Your Heart Out
8. The Original Sin
9. Quitter
10. We Fight for Rock N Roll
11. Follow Your Heart
12. Children on the Rampage
13. Won’t Back Down

With a new look, having lost four band members and gaining three since the spring of 2017, this third album from Thundermother is the test of the alchemy of the band since the line up change.

Having heard good things about Thundermother, but not having listened to their back catalogue I was looking forward to listening to this album. Upon first listening I was a bit ‘meh’, even ‘him indoors’ wasn’t overly impressed, he actually asked it was all one track? Upon a second, third and fourth listen, my impression did improve, but not by much.

Opening with ‘Revival’, there are initial heavy beats that fill you with hope, but what is this I hear, aahing? Yes, aahing in the intro of the opening track of the album. Unfortunately, the vocals for the rest of the track do not improve things. Despite a reasonably strong musical accompaniment it is very difficult to understand what exactly vocalist Guernica Mancini is singing about, as all you can hear is ‘la la la na na la, revival’. A very disappointing opening to the album.

Luckily for track 2, ‘Whatever’, it appears that Guernica Mancini has put her teeth in, as finally we can hear the words, and this track seems a lot shorter than the 2:42 it is, and before you know it we are onto ‘Survival Song’. Both ‘Survival Song’ and ‘Racing on Mainstreet’ are upbeat bouncing tunes, the main issue being is that they sound the same, unless you are paying close attention you will miss where one song finishes and the next starts.

‘Fire in the Rain’ drops the tempo and is more of a ballad than the previous four songs. This slower tempo seems to suit Mancini’s vocals better than the up-tempo numbers, allowing her to utilise more of her vocal range. This seems to be confirmed by both ‘Hanging at my Door’ and ‘The Original Sin’, both of which possess confident vocal performances.

The rest of the album continues in a similar vein, with the slower songs having stronger vocal performances than the faster songs. However, this album seems to rely heavily on the vocals, with the instrumentals relegated to just a backing track, with very few exceptions. One of these exceptions is ‘Rip your Heart Out’, which has one of the loudest drum tracks I have heard in a long time.

Disappointingly, bearing in mind that Thundermother is guitarist Filippa Nässil’s vision and indeed baby, being the only original member left of the band, there is very little of her guitar playing talent on display here, with the odd 20 second solo here and there. Also, the final song on the album, ‘Won’t Back Down’ seems to finish prematurely, almost mid verse. It’s very odd indeed.

[Note from Editor: Looking at the track listing as well, perhaps this is an album Filippa needed to get out of her system. With half of the track titles suggesting a rather bitter break up with her colleagues, Whatever, Survival Song, Rip Your Heart Out, The Original Sin, Quitter, We Fight for Rock N Roll, Won’t Back Down……..there’s  pattern for sure. Let this one go and hopefully Filippa can come back fighting with energy next time and not so much anger.] 

There is nothing in this album that screams at me to listen again, and I fear that it will gather dust in my collection, which is a shame as with the talent available it should have been 10 times better than it is.

Score: 6/10

Reviewed by Kalli Isborne

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