Swedish Metal band Tungsten have an unorthodox twist to their line-up. Formed by renowned drummer Anders Johansson (who many people will know for his time with Malmsteen and Hammerfall, as well as Fullforce, Stratovarius etc and projects with his brother Jens), they also include both his sons Nick (guitars) and Karl (Bass, Keys). Already an interesting age-bridging alliance, the full line-up rounded out by Anders’ Fullforce colleague, vocalist Mike Andersson.
This debut album comes resplendent in classic Blind Guardian/Hammerfall style artwork courtesy of Andreas Marshall and already the idea of Anders Johansson’s new band is taking shape – I’m guessing we are in for a treat of galloping, energetic Power Metal then, yes? Well…no, not really, Tungsten are a strange mix that only really makes sense when you look at the ages and influences of the people involved.
Things kick off with three Folk-ish orientated Hammerfall/Freedom Call/Elvenking/Twilight Force type tracks that each seem desperate to get to the super-catchy sing-a-long choruses, ably handled by the professional, varied, seasoned Metal vocals of Andersson. They are REALLY desperate to get to the SUPER-catchy choruses! During the third track (‘The Fairies Dance’) there seems to be a concise effort to include some more Modern Metal elements. From then on, it feels a little like the album doesn’t really know what it wants to be, or quite who it is trying to appeal to.
Now up-front I confess to being probably nearer Anders’ age than his sons, so the influences they are bringing to the band are maybe a little out of my remit and will hopefully appeal to a younger audience. What I’m unsure about is whether the Modern Metal approach really works with the folky Melodic Metal, despite Andersson vocally giving the whole thing a cohesive thread. As the album progresses, the shoe-horning of pseudo Metalcore sections into a Stratovarius/Freedom Call type Metal song like ‘As I’m Falling’ just doesn’t really work, and rather than applauding the crossover nature of the band, I just feel like I want them to pick a style that works throughout the whole song!
Modern synths and samples vie with Power Metal guitar and drums…and always, quite quickly, all come together to back another quite simplistic catchy chorus and usually set the scene for a juxtaposed mid-section. I wanted to love this album so much, I kept playing it, hoping it would gel, but just ended up having to spin on from certain tracks as I searched for something latch onto…other than the bloody chorus! As I said earlier, maybe I’m not the type of person this is aimed at, and, as it is so well created in the style it is forging, then the audience it IS aimed at should really enjoy it…whoever they are. I really do appreciate Tungsten’s willingness and ambition to blend styles and create something new – after all, this is only their debut and given the different elements within “We Will Rise” subsequent releases could explore any avenue they choose. Personally, this one just isn’t for me.
(6/10 Andy Barker)