Tungsten – We Will Rise
As a band, Tungsten is fairly new to the Swedish melodic metal scene, having only just formed in 2016, but that doesn’t mean they come without experience. Fans of Hammerfall might recognize the name Anders Johansson, since he was their drummer for 15 years; aside from his seat behind the drum set, he played a crucial role in the formation of Tungsten, seeing as two of his sons are on bass and guitar. Mike Andersson, who has been the vocalist of Cloudscape since the early 2000’s, was recruited to be the voice of Tungsten – and an excellent choice I might add. On top of recruiting the very same guy that designs album covers for bands like Blind Guardian, Obituary, and Hammerfall, their presentation is spot on.
I decided to check out their debut album, We Will Rise, after a few of my friends here at Nordic Metal couldn’t stop saying how great it was for a solid five minutes. Their powerful sound caught me off guard, and I loved it immediately.
We Will Rise was released as Tungsten’s first single, along with a music video that I’ll admit I skipped over a few times when it first premiered and showed up on my suggested YouTube music video feed. The video is your classic metal band playing in an abandoned warehouse somewhere, but the song fits. It starts out with some soft piano notes, but launches into a driving heavy metal song about 20 seconds in. There are only 8 short verses including each chorus, but altogether it’s insanely catchy. It’s a great song to set the mood for the rest of the album – background elements like chimes and pianos meshed with crunchy guitar riffs, solid beats, and Mike’s unique vocals create a top notch standard for melodic metal.
The next is Misled. This one has another soft intro, but this one builds up a bit more quickly before it jumps right into a beat that’s hard not to nod your head to. While it’s not one of my favorites, I like to picture it being performed at a show where the crowd gets to sing along to the melody.
The song The Fairies Dance might give you the idea that it could be a Blind Guardian-style ballad, but you would be wrong. Songs that tell vivid stories are really hit or miss for me. Nevertheless, Tungsten did it and they did it well. Again with the soft intro, this time with a music box. Then, they launch you into an ominous, magical, heavy metal forest that you can’t help but go further and further into. You’re now on some kind of fairy-induced hallucination, hearing sounds and seeing animals dancing. A little past the halfway point, some harsh vocals make it to the party and you get the impression that things in the forest are going downhill. There’s a breakdown that has a robotic sounding distortion added before one last chorus that leaves you wondering if you made it out of the forest or if it was really a dream. Easily my favorite song on the album.
Coming Home is the fourth song on the album, but it’s the first song that starts off heavier before lightening up a bit. It’s also the shortest song on the 45 minute album at 3:06. The lyrics detail someone that’s had a rough start in life, but they found another someone to tame the raging storm inside them. The guitar melody between verses honestly makes me feel like it could be part of an opening to a TV drama.
It Ain’t Over – This ditty almost has an industrial sound in some places, and Mike’s vocals give it a dark, serious tone at the start. It makes the chorus sound optimistic in comparison, as if they failed to Rise after the first song, so they’ll be back for more. The breakdown in this song is another one of those that will be great at shows for some fist-pumping action, they even added some “HEY” shouting in a backing track for you.
Following with the same distorted tones that keep popping up is As I’m Falling – but they’re still managing not to overdo it. The vocals are in your face for a minute before swooping into a flowing, melodic chorus and dropping back off at the next monochromatic verse; it follows the same pattern until the end.
In my opinion, the bass guitar is an underrated instrument and the people that play it get a lot of shit. There’s not a lot I love to hear more than a fat bass intro. Sweet Vendetta is a solid party song, with a headbang-worthy breakdown at the 2:40 minute mark.
Animals keeps the party going, and it’s 100% a circle pit kind of song. If I’m being honest, parts of it sound a bit metalcore-ish and it’s not my cup of tea, but the upbeat chorus helps. The song ends dramatically with the chorus tune played by an Organ. Thinking about the flavor of the album as a whole, this song seems almost out of place.
Back to the melodic, Remember kicks off strong with an orchestral backing and some classic triplet riffs. In ways, it almost sounds similar to The Fairies Dance, minus the ominous mushroom trip. This could be a perfect live set list finale, since the lyrics paint a picture of reminiscence.
To the Bottom brings you on a melodious journey that there’s no returning from. It’s got intriguing verses with a fast-paced chorus to feed the illusion that you’re headed somewhere unknown, and fast.
Marked as the only “Explicit” song on the album, Impolite actually made me laugh out loud when it was mentioned that some asshole was getting punched in the face. I know I’m not the only one when I say I can relate to the lyrics of this song on my daily commute to and from work. People really are fucking impolite. Tungsten got this one right, show some respect!
The final tune of the album is a relaxing one compared to the rest, but there are still no ballads to be found here. Wish Upon a Star features some Ensiferum-like chanting in the beginning, but the theme comes back with flutes and a stardust sound effect that carries the melody throughout the remainder of the song. The lyrics describe an idea that you’re wishing on a star to keep your world the same. It’s a fitting theme to end an album on.