Before the Storm - Thobbe Englund (2016)

Thobbe Englund, also spelled as Thorbjörn Englund, is Sabaton forefront guitarist. Thobbe coming to the band in 2012 when Sabaton undergo massive lineup chances. While on his duty in Sabaton, Thobbe manage to release two solo albums under his own name. The first one is "From the Wilderness" in 2015 and happened to be guitar instrumental album that will pleased many shred guitar fans. A year has passed and Thobbe back to his latest studio album called "Before the Storm". This album contained massive songs, about 20 tracks of them. Unlike From the Wilderness, in Before the Storm Thobbe embarked into semi-conceptual album with full featured singer to voice this album. As expected, From the Wilderness is very well composed in my listening. The album ranged from heavy tunes, all the way to epic ballad. All these songs interlude with many instrumental tracks that fall into symphonic metal and shred guitar in combination.

The album started with heavy, low tune singing, opener called "The End of Oil". We got to taste a classic power metal guitar riff through the song. In describing the song we need to referred to the element of Judas Priest and imagine putting them into power metal spirit! The second following track is "The Eye of the Storm", very much Sabaton in style and this one is the first instrumental overture we got. This then followed up with devilish tune on the third track "Our $oil" , which continued the storyline. "Waitng for the Water" is a rest for our ear as it is the first ballad to come.  "Mons Spiritus" is neo-classical instrumental, decorated with classical instrumental such as pizzicato violin voices and choirs. The real guitar teaser comes in "The Great White Open", which is very Yngwie Malmsteening in vibes.

There are bunch of songs coming next. At this point the style of the songs begin to diversed. "San Francisco" and even stronger is "Ain't It Grand" are songs that very Americanized, alternative rock in some weird form. "The Freak at the Sideshow" is featured with female singer. Other instrumental tracks to mentioned is "Saturday Night in Hell" , a theatrical movie score in style. As well the last two tracks.

Overall, Before the Storm is album with big range of music style, but mostly can put in the symphonic metal umbrella. The insertion of voice songs are not bad for fans that expected Thobbe to release a full instrumental album. Though the style quite differed from Sabaton, this album can stand its own uniqueness, evidence of Thobbe individual creative power outside the band. Very enjoyable album in the end, although a bit of exhausting with over 80 minutes of "exploration".

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Before the Storm - Thorbjörn Englund (2016)
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1. The End of Oil
2. The Eye of the Storm (instrumental)
3. Our $oil
4. Waiting for the Water   
5. Mons Spiritus (instrumental)
6. The Great White Open  (instrumental)
7. Sixteen
8. Broken Dreams
9. Inspiration Well   (instrumental)  
10. San Francisco
11. I Know You Don't Mind
12. Ain't It Grand
13. The Ghost of Maria
14. As Time Goes By  (instrumental)
15. The Freak at the Sideshow
16. Why the Rum Is Always Gone   (instrumental)
17. Home to a Pirate
18. Saturday Night in Hell  (instrumental)
19. She Brings the Horizon  (instrumental)
20. Obrigado  (instrumental)

Thorbjorn / Thobbe Englund - all instruments

album review

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