Spitfire Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It might be hard to recognize that Transistor symbolizes another comeback for Norway's TNT - simply because many people (except for the long-time fans) may never have heard of this group.

The band - vocalist Tony Harnell, guitarist Ronni Le Tektro, bassist Morty Black and drummer Frode Hansen - have been slugging it out for the better part of two decades, though their exposure in America hasn't been the greatest. Their reunion in 1996 hasn't seemed to attract a lot of attention, and their 1997 release Firefly was not released as a full album in America. So, Transistormy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 could be seen as the first full-fledged attempt to get this band recognized.

My advice? Wake up and take notice, 'cause this album proves that TNT is not only relevant in 1999, but still packs a musical whallop.

Now, I'll freely admit that I've not followed TNT that closely over the years; I think the only album of theirs I own is Intuition, and I can't remember the last time I listened to it. So I entered Transistor stone cold, with no expectations - and in a way, that's not a bad approach to this album.

Harnell, an American singer fronting a Norweigan band, could pick up the phone book and make it sound convincing. On tracks like "Because I Love You," "No Such Thing," "Wide Awake" and "Into Pieces," he solidly and consistently delivers the goods. Providing the counter-attack is the remainder of the band; Le Tektro's guitar work is impressive, especially his rhythm work, which helps power the band into overdrive.

While it takes a little time to get into Transistor - "Just Like God," a track available only on the American version, isn't the strongest way to start this journey - once you're locked in, you won't want the door to ever unlock. From lighter power metal to the flirtation with ballads ("Fantasia Espanola" is a killer track, though it might throw some people for a loop), TNT proves they're not afraid to approach any musical style. They have nothing to lose, and everything to gain; to their benefit, they gain a lot with this album, including respect.

In a sense, it might not be right to label Transistor as a heavy metal album; TNT seems to bridge the gap between what they were in the '80s with a melting pot of rock that has become their sound. To say this is metal might scare away newer fans afraid of the terminology - but to call this a more rock album might frighten some of the older fans who have survived some of the band's style changes.

So what should one call Transistor? How about a fresh start for a band that has been waiting a long time for their number to be called? Better yet, call it what it is - a solid album worthy of your time, money and attention.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.