Knights of the New Thunder

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The debut album from Norway's TNT is anchored by the charismatic pop-metal vocals of singer Tony Harnell (actually an American) and the high-tech fretwork of guitarist Ronnie Le Tekro. The record also benefits from excellent pacing and, for the most part, great tunes. As far as this kind of music goes, TNT does it far better than most of their contemporaries. Le Tekro's solos alone are worth the price of admission for metal fans; combining a classically influenced Euro-metal aesthetic with electrifying modern chops and imagination, he is capable of real excitement. And Harnell's vocals recall Queensryche's Geoff Tate, but with the theatrics pared down and the intensity cranked up. There are some great rockers here, like "Ready to Leave," "Last Summer's Evil," and "Knights of the Thunder." But watch out for the cheesy power ballad "Without Your Love."

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