June 4, 2018 TNT – XIII (Album Review)
The countdown to detonation begins as Norwegian Hard Rock professionals TNT – Baol Bardot Bulsara (vocals), Ronni Le Tekrø (guitar), Diesel Dahl (drums), and Ove Husemoen (bass) – are set to release their new studio album XIII on Friday, June 8, 2018 thanks to Frontiers Music s.r.l. Produced by studio veteran Kjartan Hesthagen and Ronni Le Tekrø, the album title XIII signifies TNT’s thirteenth studio album and the first to feature new Vocalist Baol Bardot Bulsara.
Hailing from Trondheim, Norway, TNT was formed in 1982 by founding members Ronni Le Tekrø (guitar), Diesel Dahl (drums), Steinar Eikum (bass), and Dag Ingebrigtsen (vocals/rhythm Guitar). Though considered a Hard Rock/Glam Rock band, TNT’s sound lands on the ‘lighter’ side of the Hard Rock spectrum from peers like Twisted Sister or Van Halen – resonating more along the lines of Journey (“Chain Reaction”).
After signing on the dotted line with Polygram Records, TNT released their first studio album, 1982’s TNT, the only album to feature Ingebrigtsen on Vocals prior to the singer being replaced by new frontman Tony Harnell. Making his debut on 1984’s Knights of the New Thunder, Harnell would become a part of TNT’s classic lineup, seeing the band’s music videos in regular rotation on MTV and nearly 5 million albums sold around the globe.
For reasons both personal and professional, Harnell parted ways with TNT in 2006. Almost immediately, TNT hired British Vocalist Tony Mills who played in the band until his departure in 2013. Between 2013 and 2017, Harnell was in and out of the TNT lineup, even taking a brief stint fronting Skid Row for six months in 2015.
In 2016, TNT hired Bassist Ove Husemoen and Harnell rejoined the band, but on October 11, 2017, TNT released a statement explaining Harnell had again left the band. Whether or not Harnell will return to TNT in the future remains to be seen. One of the hardest working bands in Rock, TNT carried on, and on November 22, 2017, introduced their newest singer, Spanish Vocalist Baol Bardot Bulsara, who debuted to a crowd of 8,000 fans while TNT played support to The Scorpions in Oslo, Norway. Just what the doctor ordered, Bulsara’s vocals fit TNT’s musical style like a glove, and Bulsara possesses a pleasing and engaging falsetto – highly comparable to Steve Perry (Journey).
A refreshing and diverse formula, XIII is a polished album which keeps you listening as the tracks go from tender uptempo ballads to catchy Rock numbers. Starting off strong, the engaging “We’re Gonna Make It” sets the precedent for the entire album. “Not Feeling Anything” belongs in a 1980’s movie, strikingly reminiscent of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” from the 1986 film Top Gun. A steady rocker, “Fair Warning” contains a well-paced groove and warns something big is coming. Up next, “It’s Electric” embodies an affecting groove and some good musical nuances to add some flavor to a track that may remind listeners of the band Extreme (“Get The Funk Out,” “Rest In Peace”). “Where You Belong” places Bulsara’s gratifying pipes on display before “Can’t Breathe Anymore,” and, a style of song on every ’80s Arena Rock album, the anthemic “Get Ready For Some Hard Rock.”
Moving along, “People, Come Together” proves the most dynamic track on XIII, asking folks to unite as one. A good solid rocker of love, “Tears In My Eyes” has a melody reminiscent of Stryper’s hit “Calling On You.” At first sight, the title “17th of May” is the same date we tragically lost the great Chris Cornell, however, this upbeat Rock track about taking on the world seems to have nothing to do with the late Soundgarden vocalist. Thereafter, the Pop Rock elements of “Catch A Wave” and the enormous ballad “Sunshine” close out TNT’s thirteenth chapter.
Overall, from beginning to end, TNT’s XIII offers a thought-provoking collection of Arena Rock songs touched by the right magic chords to engage a listener. Whether the song is based in heartbreak or enjoying life’s pleasures, Bulsara soars as TNT’s charismatic new vocalist, and, even with a whisper, Bulsara shows an irresistible and impassioned range. Furthermore, the combination of Le Tekrø, Dahl, and Husemoen are superb in displaying a natural talent for creating inviting melodies and esthetic song arrangements. Worth checking out, CrypticRock gives XIII 4 out of 5 stars.