Album Reviews

Burning Point – Arsonist of the Soul Review

Released By: AFM Records

Release Date: October 22nd, 2021

Genre: Power Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/burningpointfinland

 

Line Up:

Luca Sturniolo – Vocals

Pete Ahonen – Guitars

Pekka Kolivuori – Guitars

Jarko Poussu – Bass

Matti Halonen – Keyboards

Tuomas Jaatinen – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Blast in the Past

2. Rules the Universe

3. Out of Control

4. Persona Non Grata

5. Arsonist of the Soul

6. Hit the Night

7. Running in the Darkness

8. Calling

9. Off the Radar

10. Fire with Fire

11. Will I Rise with the Sun

12. Eternal Life

 

I’ve known Finnish power metal band Burning point ever since their 2012 release, The Ignitor, an album I found to be highly enjoyable, though not quite top tier in the genre. Ever since I’ve enjoyed some of the band’s older work as well as their two new releases (the self-titled 2015 release and 2016’s The Blaze), and consistently found the band to generally be solid, but not quite elite. I heard a couple of singles for their eighth and latest full-length release, Arsonist of the Soul leading up to its release and found myself quite hyped to see what the band would deliver. Now that the album is here, I can say it’s my favorite by the band and brings them a step closer to being a top contender for power metal fans.

The band has gone through several changes since their last release, with original member Pete Ahonen and his fellow guitarist Pekka Kolivuori being the only remaining members, with the remaining positions all being filled in between releases. Despite the big lineup changes, the band’s sound remains fully intact, and fans can expect an album full of classic-sounding Euro power metal, along the lines of bands like Helloween and Stratovarius, with small nods to more modern bands such as Sabaton and Bloodbound on a couple of tracks.

For the most part, the band leans towards the more guitar-driven side of the genre, with duo guitarists Ahonen and Kolivuori leading the way through most tracks with some killer riffs and solos, as well as some nice melodic guitar work. Keyboards are a constant part of the music but are largely pushed to the background, serving more to enhance the music than to be a driving force, and while they sound nice throughout the album and never become a distraction, they also rarely stand out much, instead of letting the guitars dominate. The rhythm section is very solid, and the tracks offer a varying mix of tempos, sometimes alternating even within a track. Sound production is top-notch, and performances are strong across the board.

Songwriting is also excellent, and while leaning towards more of a pure power metal sound, compared to some of the band’s past albums which had equal amounts of heavy metal, this album still has a nice variety to the tracks, with some being on the thrashier side (“Out of Control” especially”), some being more melodic and keyboard-driven (“Persona Non Grata”, “Fire With Fire”,) and some are pure classic duo-guitar power metal, like opener “Blast in the Past” and “Hit the Night”. All songs are excellent, and there’s a nice mix of speedy tracks, and slower to mid-paced tracks, with the tracklist flowing nicely and moving at a good pace. Despite containing 12 tracks, I’d be hard-pressed to point towards any particular track as being filler, and enjoy each one every time I listen to the album, which is always a good sign.

The biggest change for the band is the new vocalist Luca Sturniolo. The band has previously had two different vocalists, the first of which was Ahonen himself, who had a very deep voice that fit the music quite well, before giving way to Nitte Valo in 2014, and she had a very unique voice that also fit the music nicely. Sturniolo is somewhere in between those two stylistically, having a wide range that can get pretty intense at times, while also being able to sing smoothly in his low to mid register. I find when he goes all out with his falsetto he can get a bit carried away, which leads to a few choruses falling a bit flat, but in general, he sounds great during verses, and when he sticks with his low to mid register he sounds very smooth, while still having a good amount of power to his voice. He especially sounds right at home on the power/thrash track “Out of Control”, where the aggressive riffs and energy of the music fit very well with his low to mid-range vocals. There’s a couple of moments where his voice can get a bit over the top for my liking (most notably on the choruses of “Rules the Universe” and closing track “Eternal Life”) and he sounds a bit awkward at times (the chorus of “Off the Radar” slightly brings down an otherwise awesome track), but overall he does a great job, and I think he has potential to be a perfect fit for the band if they stick with him for future albums.

I mentioned earlier that the songwriting is excellent across the board, so I won’t do a full song by song section like usual, but instead, highlight some particular favorites. Opener “Blast in the Past” is a fast and furious, high-energy opener that showcases the band’s overall sound, while allowing Sturniolo to stick to his strengths as a vocalist, making it a strong start to the album. Out of the faster tracks on the album, I’d say my favorites are “Persona Non Grata”, a very melodic track with a fantastic chorus and more prominent keys than usual, the previously mentioned power/thrash assault “Out of Control”, and the very classic sounding “Running in the Darkness”, which has perhaps my favorite chorus on the album, as well as a very epic guitar solo. It’s also a track where Sturniolo’s voice is at its absolute best, nailing the higher notes on the final run of the chorus perfectly, to help cement that tracks as a favorite.
On the slower side of things, the title track is a big highlight, alternating between some nice mid-paced melodic metal during the verses, and then going for a more classic Maiden-inspired sound during the chorus. It’s an epic track throughout, with strong performances, but the highlight is a sped-up section towards the end, which takes it to a different gear. Another instant favorite is “Calling”, a more restrained, but very catchy track, with another very memorable chorus, as well as an epic bridge with some very powerful vocals. Lastly is “Fire With Fire”, which moves along at a nice pace and is another track where the keys have more presence than usual, with the music overall having some Sabaton influence. It’s a very fun, catchy track with a great chorus, and the band pulls that sound off quite nicely.

Overall, Arsonist of the Soul is a very fun, high energy power metal album with consistently impressive songwriting and performances throughout, to help make it my favorite Burning Point album to date. New singer Luca Sturniolo shows great promise overall, and while I think he has some room to improve, he fits the band’s sound very nice, and I think in the future he could prove to be the perfect fit for the band. As is, this album is a very easy recommendation for any power metal fan looking for some mostly classic sounding Euro power metal, with a few modern touches here and there.

 

Ratings: 8/10

Written by: Travis Green

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.

 

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