TORNADO - Commitment To Excellence

Tornado - Commitment To Excellence

11 songs
44:06 minutes
***** ***
Extreme Metal Music / Rockshots


What is it about Finnish bands with anglophone singers? In the Seventies, progressive rock band Wigwam had quite some success with British expatriate Jim Pembroke on vocals, and ten years ago, Circle released the impressive Hollywood with Bruce Duff of Eighties hard rock band Jesters Of Destiny. Next up are Tornado, consisting of Finnish musicians and American vocalist Superstar Joey Severance, who used to be in Eighties thrash legend Gothic Slam for a short time. To make the band even more international, it should be noted that they were founded in the Netherlands, hence the title of their debut album Amsterdamn, Hellsinki from 2011. The successor Black President came out four years later, and the title comes from the fact that Tornado are one of the rare metal bands that have an African-American vocalist. Their third album is titled Commitment To Excellence, and continues where the band left off last time.

What you get with Tornado is vintage thrash speed metal that actually sounds as if it came from the late Eighties. The band likes to call their music sleazy thrash, although frankly apart from the attitude, the music doesn’t have much in common with sleaze rock. The opener A Minute Of Nothing is a short one minute thrasher, nothing really special, but segueing into the formidable White Horse Of The Apocalypse, a full-fledged thrash song with mosh parts and the excellent staccato vocals of Superstar Joey Severance who comes across as an exotic hybrid between the late Paul Baloff (ex-Exodus) and John Connelly (Nuclear Assault). The album’s first single is the high-speed thrasher Global Pandemic, a critical song about religion, and even though the lyrics seem to be rather offensive, this is a song that will get even the dead to mosh! They couldn’t have chosen a better track to showcase their talents! Spirit And Opportunity is a groovier thrash metal track with some death growl vocals courtesy of Immolation’s Ross Dolan. Other well known guest on the album are Karl Sanders (Nile), Adam Phillips (Pro-Pain) and Glen Drover (ex-Megadeth), which shows that enough established artists stand behind these really entertaining sleaze thrashers.

The Flight Of Yuri Gagarin is another splendid retro feast with slamming double bass attacks and a wonderful awkward chorus that shows that despite Severance’s limited vocal range, he knows how to use his voice at its most effective. Endless Forms Of Torment is actually a cover version of Green Jell˙’s late Eighties comedy metal hit Three Little Pigs, and I doubt that they’d be amused about how Tornado try to make it their own by having changed the title. Through Difficulties To Victory is a three minute instrumental, quite nice but I have heard more intriguing vocal-less pieces over the years. Supremacy is a song against racism, once again combining vintage thrash with rap metal vocals. The lyrics again seem rather offensive, but I guess sometimes you need to use strong language to make a point. Chaos Among The Ruins is a song about World War Two, and at some point the band steals the riff from Slayer’s Raining Blood, and no, that can’t be a coincidence. The penultimate United Forces is cover version of a classic S.O.D. song, and although I still like their music, I have these days a hard time getting around some of their lyrics. Finally the album ends with the seven minute long At The Chapel Of Rest which shows the band’s strong love for Suicidal Tendencies. The song’s setup is similar to the skate punk’s early classic Institutionalized, and ends this album in a really charming way.

So in some ways, Tornado are original by their speed metal meets rap core approach, but then they steal so many ideas, often in a tongue in cheek style, that older metal fans will have a fun time discovering the source material. The more I listened to Commitment To Excellence, the better I liked it. Old school speed thrash fans should be delighted.

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