This album from Finnish rockers Thy Row has been on the horizon for a while now, percolating away until the band felt the time was ready to strike, and, four years since their inception, here it is. They are unchained at last… but was it worth the wait?

The answer would have to be yes. Thy Row peddle a sleek, modern-sounding take on old school metal-tinged hard rock, and they do it very well, if never quite well enough to drag themselves above the pack of other young bands providing a similar service to metal-attuned ears.

All the right moves are made, however, and there’s enough evidence here to suggest to even the hardest, pickiest reviewer that a bright future awaits vocalist Mikael Salo and his band of merry men.

Early standout The Round has a whiff of Canada’s Striker about it, hitting that perfect sweet spot where heavy metal and melodic hard rock collide, whilst the superb title track features some fine vocalising from Salo (that opening scream he unleashes will get your goosebumps up and into action in short order, let me tell you), backed by some slick six string work from Jussi Laulainen and Ville Vase; these two work effortlessly in tandem throughout, and might well be an axe partnership worth keeping an eye on in the future! Add in a solid yet agile rhythm section in the shape of bassist Juho Jokimies and drummer Teemu “Snake” Laitinen and a you have a very solid heavy metal unit indeed.

Three-part closing track The Downfall, which spans the final twelve and a half minutes of the album’s forty minute runtime, suggests that the band have a few prog tricks up their sleeves for future use (the final part, Fragments of Memory, is about as good as it gets in this style of music currently), leading this reviewer to draw the conclusion that there is very little in the world of modern melodic metal that this band don’t have covered. The base laid down here is solid in the extreme, and the future for Thy Row is theirs to shape. Good luck guys!

Unchained Releases on September 24th.