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Finland's Thunderstone perform in a melodic speed metal style — generally lumped into the power metal category — that is quite popular across continental Europe. Originally formed simply for kicks in the year 2000 by guitarist Nino Laurenne, the band grew into a serious endeavor the following year with the arrival of singer Pasi Rantanen, keyboardist Kari Tornack, bassist Titus Hjelm, and drummer Mirka Rantanen. Soon armed with two promising demos, Thunderstone was courted and signed by Nuclear Blast, which issued the band's eponymous debut in June 2002. Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki made a guest appearance on it, and later invited them to support his band, as well as America's Symphony X, on their European trek, after which Thunderstone reconvened in Helsinki to record their sophomore effort, The Burning, released in early 2004.