THUNDER RISING featuring Mark Boals (2013)
THUNDER RISING is a new band assembled by Italian guitarist Frank Caruso, and their self-titled debut CD piqued my interest because monster singer Mark Boals (one of my favorites) is at charge of the lead vocals.
Perhaps Caruso’s name does not ring any bell for you, but Frank and his crew aren’t newcomers to the Melodic Hard Rock field at all. During the eighties, Frank was part of the underrated (and quite unknown) Italian band Firehouse, and more recently Arachnes and 24 Strings, recording ten albums between these two acts.
Drummer Corrado ‘Nail’ Ciceri (also ex- Firehouse) played in Wine Spirit and for Glenn Hughes & Alvin Lee live bands, on second guitar we have Andy Ringoli from the quite good band Homerun, and together with bass player Gabriele Baroni (Arachnes, Strings 24), complete the very solid, sharp Melodic Hard Rock sound of Thunder Rising.
Add the awesome vocals of Mark Boals, and this turned into a compelling product.
It’s a real pleasure to hear Boals singing this type of melodic hard, as the man’s abilities usually are used for more heavy material (Malmsteen, Ring Of Fire, Royal Hunt, etc.). I always thought Boals would shine in a good MHR band, now he found the opportunity with Thunder Rising. And the man doesn’t disappoint.
But you need strong songs for that matter, and Caruso (main songwriter) deliver the goods.
Opener “Something To Believe” is one of the highlights: melodic, powerful, plenty of harmony vocals, marching drums and a complete guitar work. Seriously, Caruso rocks with an arsenal of resources ranging from groovy rhythm razor guitars blended with clean ones, and a short but melting solo. The song flows like a mighty river for Boals’ acrobatic vocals, and although the sound is really modern, there’s an overall early nineties feel on it.
Next, “Without You” is driven by great staccato / violin-like synths and chugging guitars but it’s a midpaced melodic rocker with an ’80s spirit, then “Love Hard, Live Fast” turn things harder where the ‘big’ refrain is the king and the killer guitars go for your throat.
At this point, we need a ballad, and “An Angel Cries” fulfils your desire of a good one. It’s meaty, juicy and plenty of emotion. I can’t help, but Boals steals this one, though, Caruso’s solo is excellent.
“Tonight” is the most pure Euro melodic rocker here with a catchy chorus and a melodious guitar line, followed by the curiously entitled instrumental “Hip Hop Blues Inspiration”, not hip-hop in style, but bluesy and organic. This one reminds me Steve Stevens, quite anthemic in its development.
We have another version of “Without You”, this time acoustic, sounding pretty different as the keys that were one of the motto in the original, are replaced by bright guitars. “Flying Over The Road” is another very well arranged (midtempo) instrumental where Caruso adds to his utter six-string work an nice keyboard orchestration.
Here is where the original CD version ends, but we recommend the Caruso-recorded instrumental versions of “Something To Believe”, “Without You”, “Tonight” and “Love Hard, Live Fast” as well, where he replaces the sung parts with an incendiary melodic guitar work, none losing the power of the originals.
Thunder Rising owns a charismatic modern style, but also a spontaneous and incisive melodic hard rock sound inspired in the best years of the genre. Greatly structured songs driven by piercing guitars, a pounding rhythm section and timeless synth infusions, together with a singer that raises the bar even more.
There’s versatility and imaginative arrangements, and while I’d wished more songs and better production, these guys playing is truly awesome. Looking forward for the next release of this promising band.
01 – Something To Believe
02 – Without You
03 – Love Hard, Live Fast
04 – An Angel Cries
05 – Tonight
06 – Hip Hop Blues Inspiration
07 – Without You (acoustic version)
08 – Flying Over The Road
09 – Something To Believe (instr. version)
10 – Without You (instr. version)
11 – Tonight (instr. version)
12 – Love Hard, Live Fast (instr. version)
Mark Boals – Vocals
Frank Caruso – Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
Andy Ringoli – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Gabriele Baroni – Bass, Backing Vocals
Corrado Ciceri – Drums and Percussions, Backing Vocals
BUY IT !