Scandinavian heavy metal is a phenomenon in its own rights, with a vast number of super good bands across all possible subgenres of best quality heavy metal. Amongst them, Swedish quarter Tungsten stands out with their specific style. Some call it symphonic metal, others – power metal. Truth be told, it is hard to put this band in a box, which is what makes pure, raw talents so intriguing to follow.
Tungsten put their own stamp on power/symphonic/melodic metal with their first album, We Will Rise issued in September 2019. Their name stands for contagious catchy tunes and high energy charge delivered at high speed. The debut was warmly greeted by fans and made Tungsten a hit surprisingly fast for newcomers in the genre.
The band is now releasing Tundra, their highly anticipated second CD. It takes off from where they left it with the first album: speedy, contagiously melodic, mood lifting powerful metal, sounding much like Rammstein (but conveniently sung in English: always a plus in terms of market exposure and potential).
In Tundra, the band spreads its wings more fully and delivers a broader musical experience. They take us through that already familiar speedy, rhythmical beat a la Rammstein (‘Lock and Load’), through pure thrash metal (‘I See Fury’), folk reminiscences, lyrical melodies and even nearly military marching style.
A song like ‘I See Fury’, for instance, will take you on a journey through all sorts of genres: headbanging thrash metal with speedy drums and harsh yelling, folklore motifs, flutes and tunes, drum solos keeping you on the edge: sounding like anything from nearly Stratovarius (in combination with a typical for them curvy solo guitar solos) to classical speed metal.
Medieval ages cross swords with contemporary times, and all this sounds weirdly jolly and cheerful – which is fairly amusing to observe, as their lyrics are far from happy and optimistic. All it takes is to cast an eye over the song titles to work out that this is supposed to be seriously dark, epic metal. This is the interesting paradox of Tungsten: they manage to uplift your spirit, although singing about war, dark ages, icy cold tundra and all of it. The album tells the stories of Volfram, a character featured in their first CD, guardian of time and balance.
It is evident that the band unites talents from various ends of the power and melodic metal spectrum, most notorious of which is drummer Anders Johansson (known from his work with Hammerfall, Manowar, and Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force). In one of the songs, ‘Here Comes the Fall’, there is a guest appearance on keyboards: Jens Johansson (Stratovarius and, more recently, Rainbow).
The vocal work is worth a special mention. Throughout the canvas of the album, it is interesting to follow the scope of Mike Andersson’s vocal talent. Being the only band member who is not a blood relative to the rest, he has honed his chords in Cloudscape (support act for Royal Hunt’s European tour 2014), Fullforce, and collaboration with Magnus Karlsson. As most of Scandinavian frontmen, he captivates with impressive vocal skills. We will soon have the pleasure of interviewing him, so look forward to what he has to say in the coming days!
Overall, the album is an explosion of speed, power, melody, background symphonic choruses, folk motives and soaring vocals. There aren’t many opportunities here to catch our breath, with the exception of ‘Life and the Ocean’: a beautiful lyrical story, methodically taking us back to the medieval age and giving us a bit of a break from the pounding metal.
No point in drawing any comparisons here; this band does their own thing and does it well.
- Review by Angelina Pelova
- Released through Arising Empire on 27 November 2020
- Lock and Load
- Volfram’s Song
- Divided Generations
- King Of Shadows
- Life and the Ocean
- I See Fury
- This is War
- Here Comes the Fall