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TNT - 'A Farewell To Arms' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/bb/7e/60/1006_tntafarewelltoarms_1298237528.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 20, 2011    
 
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For anyone holding out for a return to the TNT of old, there is a glimmer of hope.

"Controversial" is the best word to describe the previous two albums from TNT, with both 'The New Territory' and 'Atlantis' confusing fans and critics alike with an eclecticism that veered dramatically from the style with which the band made their name. Both also coincided with vocalist Tony Mills (Shy/Serpentine/Siam) joining the band, and while he has taken more than his share of the 'blame' for the diversification, really that has been down to the song writing of guitarist Ronnie LeTekro. 

TNT's third album fronted by Mills continues to veer from place to place for inspiration, but unlike the last two, does rock hard in places and there are even some moments that sound like (...shhhh whisper it) 'classic' TNT. That said I'm not sure that we should be rejoicing a full return to form just yet, but the signs are looking much better. Opener 'Engine' is based round a riff that wouldn't be hugely out of place on 'Knights Of The New Thunder', while the title track is right out of early TNT. 'Don't Misunderstand Me' continues in that vein, with a brooding deep riff and bass line that is strongly reminiscent of 'Into The Fire' by Dokken, but with a bright, almost power pop chorus, however mixed in are the sort of angular progressions that Le Tekro used so well on the 'Tell No Tales' album. A strange sounding mix, but it works well and is the standout of the album.

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So it all sounds straight forward then? Well not quite. 'Someone Else' sounds like Abba discovered a distortion pedal (good fun, but the word 'throwaway' covers it perfectly), 'God Natt, Marie', has an almost Christmas carol feel and 'Refugee', which has a riff and solo borrowed from Joe Satriani, mean that 'A Farewell To Arms' is still a suitably unfocused mix. There are however more highs than lows, with 'Barracuda' having a great staccato riff that smacks you in the face and 'Take It Like A Man – Woman' finding the guitars stuttering away manically on a song that is bursting with life and urgency, as well as LeTekro firing out the best solo on the album. I'm a huge fan of Tony's voice, but once again I'm not completely convinced that the manner in which his vocals are mixed on a TNT album really show him in the strongest light. Too often his efforts feel too bright and in the forefront compared to his surroundings and the results are even starker when, as they often are, his voice is double tracked. That said his performance is to the usual high standard that he always manages to hit.

For those that have enjoyed TNT's previous two albums, 'A Farewell To Arms' will go down very well, and for anyone holding out for a return to the TNT of old, there is a glimmer of hope. I can't say that I've been completely won over, but there are some outstanding moments on this disc, and while it isn't the best TNT album ever, it's definitely the best for quite some time.

Steven Reid

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