Four years after 2003's excellent Feeding The Flames detonated its own rites of inferno within the metal world with it's onslaught of power metal intricacy as well as it's abrasive thrash metal incisiveness, the Finnish power metaller's next outing has been a long time coming and there were moments where even I questioned whether Burning Point were still active. Enter 2007's Burned Down The Enemy. Although this album still retains a lot of the original metal elements and hallmarks that made Burning Point who they are in the vast domain of power metal, this is a new Burning Point, not least because there is an almost brand new line-up (with the exception of vocalist, lead guitarist and band leader Pete Ahonen who seems to be the only original member remaining as well as original drummer Jari Kaiponen providing the rhythms on some of the tracks.), but I feel that they are taking on a new sound as well.
Although still a very strong and aggressive power metal album, I can't help but notice overall that they are heading into the territory of a more melodic metal realm, whilst at the same time still trying to retain the awesome speed and aggression that they brought into the fold when they first started out. It is certainly a more varied album that places equal footing in heavy metal and power metal, as opposed to the first two albums (2001's Salvation By Fire and the aforementioned Feeding The Flames) which were very angry documents of power thrash metal.
From the opening neoclassical shred intro, the album starts burning away with Parasite and it isn't long before it launches into an bitter and insanely double bass power metal assault complete with hyperspeed riffage and later well defined neoclassical shredding (proving that Pete Ahonen has flawless technique in shred guitar. His use of sweep picking is almost impossible to ignore!). Tracks of a similar nature include Hell Awaits, Deceiver (this is very reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen during the Odyssey album era with its use of keyboards as well as rapid fire riffage and grandiosity...to be honest, it wouldn't be completely incorrect to categorize this album as neo-classical power metal, but I feel that there is so much more to it than that.), To Hell And Back and of course the blistering title track. All of these are reminiscent of the old Burning Point. It is also obvious that there is a dominant Yngwie Malmsteen influence throughout this album as well as more classic metal influences (I can feel a lot of Accept, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath in there).
For me personally, the second track, Heart Of Gold is something new. I cannot help but notice that this track on this album is a cornerstone of melodic metal with greater use of keyboards as well as a light and shade style, not to mention Ahonen's vocals are a bit less angry. Come the chorus and it suddenly builds into something pretty grandiose. The same can be said about Against The Madness Of Time although much heavier.
Another one of the heavier tracks on the album, with the exception of the faster tracks is the bludgeoning and marching groove of Dawn Of The Ancient War. If you ask me, it reminds me very much of a classic Manowar, Manowar minus the cheese instead being about serious business. The fighting emotion is just livid! Although also one of the slower tracks of the album, it should never be ignored as far as its metallic rigidity is concerned. It also happens to have one of the most impressive guitar solos by Ahonen within its depth as well.
From the Beginning Of It All and Icebound is living, breathing proof that there is room for metal power ballads, even on an aggressive power metal album, definitely one of the finest written and recorded, reminding me of Veil Of Secrecy (from the Feeding The Flames album).
Although I was hoping for a very intensive power metal album initially, I can find little reason why this album wouldn't fare well with Burning Point fans (who haven't been exposed to it yet) and I guess fans of power metal as well as old school heavy metal aficionados in general will also find a lot to enjoy (and headbang!) to as well. It is fast, heavy, melodic and of course old school.