Temple Balls – Avalanche (Frontiers Music)

Friday, 10th November 2023
Rating: 9.5 / 10

News flash: classic melodic hard rock and heavy metal never goes out of fashion, despite whatever major media outlets may tell you. The veterans seemingly never retire, reunions happen, sold out arena/stadium tours take place – plus there is a fervor for a younger generation content on putting their own stamp on the proceedings. Consider Finnish band Temple Balls as they return for their fourth album in Avalanche – throwing down another set of catchy tracks that contain massive amounts of hooks, melodies, and harmony elements that encapsulate influences from the 70’s/80’s/early 90’s fused into the recording technology means available for modern musicians willing to use this capably.

The major factors to appeal lie in a steady work ethic in delivering those uplifting, driving chord progressions that whip hair in the wind on a hot summer day cruising at max speeds, a rock solid bass/drum foundation that sticks those hooks into the ground, topped off by a charismatic vocalist who reaches for the stars while having sinister attitude / personality in lower registers, the gang-unison background vocals hammering home key lines for future audience magnification. Initial passes get toes tapping, hands clapping, and air instrument simulation/synchronization – “Lonely Stranger” and W.A.S.P. meets Accept-like “Strike Like a Cobra” achieving those elements. At other times the Scandinavian charm oozes through the guitar lines, slamming grooves, and fierce high pitched vocal melodies – check out the Skid Row meets Hardcore Superstar-ish “All Night Long” where the additional Def Leppard-esque larger than life choirs bring home the chorus to arena heights. Expect lead breaks that also mirror the main musical components in a tasteful way – proving you can be flashy, thoughtful, and serve the needs of each individual track without stepping on other people’s performances. Working alongside seasoned H.E.A.T. keyboardist Jona Tee as producer, the band confidently strides into a mix of energetic anthems along with the occasional emotional, AOR-influenced ballad for “Stone Cold Bones”, where vocalist Arde Teronen flexes some of his gritty textures in bluesy Paul Shortino measures.

When the older acts finally retire to pasture, bands like Temple Balls are more than capable to take on the baton to keep melodic, good-time hard rock/metal alive thanks to tremendous releases such as Avalanche. They only need a willing audience to open some minds, as the conviction, talent, and proper professional output is already in place.

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