|Release Date||8 Feb 2019|
It’s been three years since Thornbridge’s fairly well recieved debut album What Will Prevail landed on the shores. Though mostly lacking in originality, it was still a good debut, with excellent musicianship displayed by each member and a catchy and memorable sound. In Theatrical Masterpiece, their sound hasn’t changed at its core and holds onto the 90s power metal feel with strong, chanting Orden Ogan-y choruses. The balanced mixing and instrumentation remains more-or-less unchanged, and the lyrical content is the same. However, as if they’ve been worked in the forge these past years, Thornbridge has been refined into something far more advanced; there are plenty of new elements that they have introduced that lift Theatrical Masterpiece above its predecessor.
As mentioned above, a couple key differences have been introduced into the album that add some much-desired variety that was lacking in their first record. The tone of many of the songs are much heavier and darker this time around, evident in ‘Revalation’ and ‘Ember in the Winter Grove’. Additionally, vocalist Jörg Naneder has grown to be more adventurous, switching it up with more rough vocals rather than sticking to his usual silky-smooth tenor.
One of my favourite sections on the album is easily ‘Ember in the Winter Grove’. The acoustic intro is tasteful and the rough vocals add a nice touch. The 6/8 feel is full of energetic riffs and the drums really take off in this track. However, there’s no guitar solo, which brings us to my second favourite piece of the record. While most of the guitar solos on the album are good, one in particular sticks out as great; ‘The Helmsman’ treats us to a solo that is equally as epic as it’s victorious chorus.
The instrumentals on the front- and tail-ends of the album are actually really good and not just a sad attempt at setting the tone, as is often the case in power metal. The first begins with a light, humming instrumental that is very Misty Mountains then opens up into a nice horn line before the album kicks off. Conversely, the last finishes the album with a placid, mournful acoustic guitar feature, dropping right off and ending with a feeling of calm reflection.
All things considered, Thornbridge’s Theatrical Masterpiece almost lives up to its name. They’ve thoroughly reinforced their sound with some much-needed creativity and originality without sacrificing any of the charisma or appeal they had going for them in What Will Prevail. I’m confident that their next release will give even this one a run for its money.