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'Sole Freedom'
(Scarlet Records)
Release Date: May/June 2015

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

thunder rising

Thunder Rising were formed in 2012 by long time friends guitarist Frank Caruso and drummer Corado Ciceri. They pulled off a major coup by recruiting in demand singer Mark Boals (best known for his work with Yngwie Malmsteen) who bought into their vision of a modernised classic American hard rock style.

The resulting self titled debut album was released in 2013 but when it came to touring Boals' tight schedule as a member of both Dio Disciples and Dokken became an issue and Alessio Spini was recruited to be the band's touring singer.

Fast forward to 2015 and that clash of schedules seems to be a major issue for the band. Boals is still listed as the band's vocalist on their website but here we have a new release where he only appears on one song.

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'Sole Freedom' is a five track EP intended as a digital only release. Opening track 'The Best Things Are Free' features Mark Boals listed as a special guest despite the website set up and is a straightforward old fashioned hard rock style tune.

Comprised of contrasts between powerful sections driven along by twin riffing guitars and more measured and tasteful laid back moments Boals gives a consummate performance full of power and melody, it's easy to hear why he's been in demand as a rock singer for decades.

Following track 'Let Me Breathe' is the first studio offering from the band with Alessio Spini on lead vocals and while he has a different timbre to his voice from Boals there is no noticeable drop off in quality. I actually think this is a better song with it's insistent riff and slightly more modern feel than the opener.

thunder rising

'Blind Without You' is a competent hard rock power ballad style tune with some lovely tasteful guitar runs while 'Break The Cage' combines a dirty bass groove with some heavy almost downtuned riffing. The latter song has some really nice touches and does a good job of fusing that old hard rock vibe with some more modern sounding Metal guitar but I'm not sure about the faux rapping style that Spini's vocal lapses into at one point.

Final track 'Lightning, Thunder And Rainbow' is an instrumental guitar work out for Caruso to show off his skills. He is obviously a fine, fine player and covers a range of styles within the song but while this would have been ok on a full length album I think tacking this onto a five track EP shows some lack of ambition and another tune allowing Alessio Spini to show what he's got would have been better.

There are no rules in the modern music business so maybe this two singer strategy is fine and will work out well for Thunder Rising. Personally I think they need to decide who their man is but despite that slight confusion the songs here show much promise and are well worth a listen if high quality, well played hard rock is your thing.

Line up:
Mark R. Boals -vocals
Frank Caruso -guitars
Gabry Baroni - bass
Corrado "Nail" Ciceri - drums
Andy Ringoli -guitars
Alessio Spini- vocals




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