It may sound strange but “Thorns” is just the third solo record by Tony Martin while it’s been more than 16 years since his previous offering with “Scream”. Naturally, there was great anticipation, and the album was highly anticipated as Martin is one of the best singers out there (despite the fact that his time with Sabbath is not appreciated…which was great, by the way). Two things were on my mind before I listen the album for the very first time: a) in what shape would Martin’s voice would be and b) would the songs themselves be of high quality? And the verdict was…

…well, unfortunately “Thorns” is not what we really expected. Most of the songs are below par, almost indifferent while they are enhanced by an unfitting and at moments unnecessary modern heavy production. Yeah, I know…Tony Martin is a metal singer but he’s not only that! He can handle his voice in such a way so as to deliver a more diverse and richer result plus the aforementioned production doesn’t help things out at all. Of course, there are some excellent compositions in there like “Damned By You” which is really catchy and remarkable. Having said that and although we are treated with a mediocre quality level, Tony Martin’s voice is absolutely superb and leaves you under the impression that he’s still at his 40s and the passage of time has not left any mark! It’s like all those great actors that star in a low-budget movie and instantly they take the whole film to another level just by their sheer presence and performance.

Personally, I was greatly satisfied by Martin’s voice but I expected far better songs…that’s for sure. We welcome his return but we can only expect the best from Martin…and we didn’t get it!

Highlight: Bassists Greg Smith & Magnus Rosen are among the musicians that play on the album.