"The Reckoning"


01. Time to Kill the Night
02. The Reckoning
03. Tongue of Dirt
04. Striking Like A Thunder
05. Bitch Fire
06. Hurricane Love
07. To the Wall
08. Viper's Kiss
09. Walk Through Fire
10. Dancers of Truth

RATING: 8/10

Dedicated students of melodic rock and AOR aside, it seems unlikely that many people will be familiar with FRONTIERS MUSIC's habit of putting bands and collaborations together. It's almost as if the label has abandoned the idea of waiting for great new bands to emerge and are just creating them from a giant list of stupidly gifted musicians and vocalists, which actually doesn't sound like a particularly bad idea, all things considered. And as odd as the approach might seem, it does keep leading to records like "The Reckoning", wherein two of the greatest female voices in modern metal collide, across some of the most thunderous and unapologetic heavy metal that Frontiers has released to date.

If you're not familiar with Noora Louhimo by now, you should be. Frontwoman with BATTLE BEAST, she is simply one of our greatest living heavy metal singers, and there are certainly moments on "The Reckoning" when she threatens to overpower her partner-in-bombast, SMACKDOWN's Netta Laurenne. Fortunately, the relationship between the two plainly extends beyond one trip to the studio, and their blended voices never sound anything less than natural, with Laurenne asserting herself with just as much bravado as her fellow Finn. At times, her smoother, more angelic delivery contrasts beautifully with Louhimo's arena-levelling roar, but both deliver some truly roof-lifting performances here.

These are great songs, too, which rather nullifies any cynicism one might have about the whole thing. "Time to Kill the Night", "The Reckoning" and "Tongue of Dirt" fly by: a blur of giant tunes, gleaming AOR bluster and old-school metal pomp. "Striking Like A Thunder" is half hazy power ballad, half pop-metal riff-up, with enough gleefully overwrought emoting to bring any house down.

This year's most demented, none-more-classic metal riot by some distance, "Bitch Fire" sounds like an outtake from "Painkiller" and could hardly be more perfect for Louhimo; the closest thing we have to a new Rob Halford at this moment in time, as her imperious vocals in the song's berserk chorus confirm. Likewise, Laurenne's voice steals the show on the hazy balladry of "Hurricane Love", as orchestras, choirs and platinum-plated kitchen sinks bounce gracefully off the walls. From the power metal stomp of "To the Wall" to the haunted melodrama of closing epic "Dancers of Truth", every song has a huge hook, a colossal sonic presence and buckets of charm. Most importantly, LAURENNE / LOUHIMO demonstrate a chemistry and a shared love for heavy metal heroics that plainly deserves to be revisited from time to time. This sounds like it was great fun to make, and it's even more rewarding to listen to. A pick 'n' mix approach to A&R has some major advantages, it seems.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).