Finland has been very productive the past few years, with as most notable acts of course STRATOVARIUS, SONATA ARCTICA, HIM, NIGHTWISH and CHILDREN OF BODOM. But many more new acts have risen from Finland, and one of them is THUNDERSTONE, a very sensational Melodic Power Metalband. I was called by lead guitarist Nino Laurenne, who told me the latest bits and pieces on his band...

Hi there...

Hello, Nino here from THUNDERSTONE.

Hi, good to speak with you, how are you doing?
Well, I am a bit sick right now, but apart from that, it has been a very busy time with the new CD of THUNDERSTONE being released on NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS.

Please tell me how it all started...
Actually, THUNDERSTONE is my project. Some 10 years ago I was in this band called ANTI DOTE, with whom I even released 3 albums, mainly in the Speed Metal style. I toured with this band alongside the German band HEADHUNTER, and with those 3 albums we found ourselves a household name throughout Europe. However, in the late 1990s, the band split and I recorded a demo filled with a bunch of melodic tunes I had written in my spare time. I recorded this demo actually just for fun, but sent it to record companies, and somehow NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS liked it that much they signed our band. As soon as the first album was released, things moved on fast, with us touring in support of bands like STRATOVARIUS and SYMPHONY X.

I remember the gig you played in Holland, excellent performance!

A lot of people will say that your band is another STRATOVARIUS rip-off, but I can assure you that this is not the case, because you sound very different, especially in the lead vocal department, because your singer Pasi Rantanen has a very DIO/COVERDALEish voice...
Yeah thats right, even though this is very weird, as our singer doesn’t even like DIO’s voice! Nevertheless, my main Metal influences come from the Classic 80s Period, stuff like DIO, QUEENSRYCHE and MAIDEN. The last good thing I actually heard was PANTERA’s record from 1991 or something. I haven’t heard anything good ever since, although I record Metal music all day in my studios (Sonic Pump Studios).

You also recorded the album in that studio...
Yeah, it took us 3 months in a row, recording it every night for 8 hours long, besides my work in the normal hours, I spent probably 60+ hours in the studios during that period. So I was very happy when the album was finished a few weeks ago.

I understand, and I must congratulate you for making such a terrific album, because it sounds very good!
Thank you!

You’re good friends with STRATOVARIUS right...
Yes definitely and all the bullshit said in the media I can not understand, because Timo is a great guy, who has worked very hard for making this band to become such a big success. He has been working for 20 years on the STRATOVARIUS concept, and I have been very close to the success of STRATOVARIUS, so I truly support Timo. I have a lot of respect for all the other Finish band, such as NIGHTWISH, SONATA ARCTICA and STRATOVARIUS, we are all good friends and the scene is Finland is very friendly and non-competetive. This makes Finland quite special I guess...

What are the plans for the coming months?
Well, in 3 weeks from now we will shoot a video for the song “Until we touch the burning sun”, so this will be fun I think. It will be a 4-minute video, which will hopefully be shown on the Finnish Music Stations.

If only MTV would play it all over Europe...
That would be great!

Any further Touring plans?
Yes and no, we are waiting for confirmed dates in 2004, but we will definitely be playing WACKEN OPEN AIR. And after the summer we will probably be returning back to the studio to record another THUNDERSTONE album, and soon we will also do something special (but I can’t tell you too much about that!).

Well, thanks for taking the time to have this interview, good luck for 2004!
Thanks, I hope to tour all of Europe again in 2004!