Thy Row – Unchained (Rockshots Records)

Monday, 4th October 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

Containing members across Finland with experience in the power, symphonic, and melodic death/extreme metal fields, Thy Row hone in on a more melodic metal cocktail of influences for this debut album Unchained. Featuring vocalist Mikael Salo, best known for his work in Everfrost and Metal De Facto, the quintet stride in a style that contains energetic power chords, solid rhythm section support, and a bluesy/heroic stance against hooks that are razor sharp with 80’s heritage at the helm. You can expect ten originals that possess European finesse and uplifting atmosphere as well as a special X-Japan cover that creates a fun, addictive outing.

It’s easy to hear Mikael has that versatile delivery to easily drive home any melody – executing from a bluesy, powerhouse standpoint on “Just Fine” while being comfortable in a breezy mid-register during opener “Road Goes On”, recalling everyone from Rick Altzi and Doogie White in terms of phrasing, potent screams, or personality. The guitar team of Jussi Laulainen and Ville Vase know how to lay down the main mechanics and then build out some fiery leads and harmony twists – Skid Row, The Scorpions, and early Ozzy Osbourne/Dio textbook examples of where they reference the performances within the power ballad “Down on Your Knees” or the Randy Rhoads-esque title track. Another highlight towards the end of the record is the three-part “The Downfall” series of songs – displaying a mix of melodic hard rock/metal tracks that drive home solid grooves and forceful melodies, reminding this scribe of the glory days of Pretty Maids and early 80’s The Scorpions.  Special guests include ex-Amoral guitarist Ben Varon and Kiuas vocalist Ilja Jalkanen for the semi-alternative rocker “Hidebound”, while the closing X-Japan cover “Blue Blood” steamrolls as a freight train metallic crusher.

There’s just something magical about seasoned, confident musicians known for their work in other heavier genres reaching back into a classic form of melodic metal and delivering home run songs. Thy Row hopefully will only grow stronger from here – as Unchained should gain decent appeal for those who love catchy material based on classic, well-delivered hooks, melodies, and memorable grooves.

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