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"Transistor" (Spitfire)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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TNT's "Transistor" is not unlike their previous work - decent Euro-pop metal that finds a healthy balance between heavy riffs and sweet melodies. Most tunes clock in at four minutes or less which makes the album seem more like a pop album than a metal album due to the structure of the songs. However, the musical panache TNT exhibits is vastly superior to many bands in the pop-metal genre (this goes back all the way to the '80s) and this alone separates the disc from other pop-metal acts. Although the lyrics are stuck in the '80s there is an obvious wisdom and maturity to the choice of words.

The first song "Just Like God" has a vocal that is heavily processed during the verses which makes it seem like an odd choice for the band to start off their disc; however, the chorus is more pop-oriented and exactly what you'd expect from TNT. Luckily for TNT fans the next track, "Wide Awake," is a more redeeming performance; the track is a seamless blend of hard rock rhythms and pop sensibility - in other words, it's vintage TNT. "No Such Thing" lacks the melodic impact of "Wide Awake," but "Crashing Down" finds a decent balance between pop melodies and hard rock in an anthem format. "Fantasia Espanola" is a fairly laid-back ballad; the arrangement and development of the vocal melody are better than average.

The second half of the disc gets interesting with "Because I Love You" and "Mousetrap" which could easily fit on the band's 1988 sophomore classic "Intuition." Both of the aforementioned songs really showcase Ronni Le Tekro's guitar chops and inventive structures within the fairly restrictive pop-metal category where too much progressive riffing is detrimental to a band's popular success. Actually, "Because I Love You" sounds a lot like Triumph.

"The Whole You're Inn" also has an '80s Eddie Van Halen-styled riff and features the fantastic lead guitar work that Le Tekro is known for. "No Guarantees" is a mercurial blast that should please most heavy metal fans. "Into Pieces" has a bit of funky bass that lies underneath well-executed TNT-styled vocal melodies for a nice modern update to the TNT sound. It also features a different phrasing style for Harnell's lyrical delivery. "Under My Pillow" is an acoustic number that recalls the band's previous efforts on "Firefly."

The reunited TNT probably won't make many waves in the music community, but with the resurgence of pop-metal a la Def Leppard the band couldn't have timed this release any better. It is not hard to fathom that TNT might find success in America once again.

TNT is Tony Harnell on vocals, Ronni Le Tekro on guitars, and Morty Black on bass. Joining TNT for this studio recording is Frode Lamoy on drums with Dag Stokke on keyboards. All the songs were written by Harnell and Le Tekro.

"Transistor" was produced by Ken Ingwersen and Dag Stokke engineered the disc.

For more information on TNT check out on the Web.

Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Dec 2022 12:48:49 -0500.