A lot has happened in Ville Laihiala’s musical career. The frontman/vocalist that most of us know as the former Sentenced vocalist and the frontman of Poisonblack made a sudden decision and disbanded Poisonblack 2 years ago. Many fans wondered what he was going to do… VL ended the discussion by forming S-TOOL in 2016. Some familiar names in the Finnish metal scene joined him in this project. They have managed to speed things up by launching a crowdfunding campaign which was a success thanks to many fans, friends and Radio Rock. The result? The debut album of S-TOOL named “Tolerance 0”. Let’s dig deep.
Surely many of us wondered what the direction would be after the sudden news. At the first spin, many of you can maybe compare this record with the last PB one “Lyijy” and I am sure some of you will say “Metallica?”…. However, I would like to get this straight. I see S-TOOL as a fresh air for these guys and especially for VL so even though many of you will compare this one to the last era of PB and wonder “Hmm.. why didn’t he go on with PB then?”, give the album a few more spins and you will understand why.
Sound-wise, this is an upbeat and aggressive hard rock album. The album’s sound consists of powerful riffs, blasting drums and the vocals. Each band member knows what they are doing and you can definitely tell they are pros and they are pouring their heart into the album and songs. What also captivated me the most is how they manage to pour out all this aggression and hatred into the album. This is exactly what the album is all about… Zero tolerance and a lot of other feelings that need to be expressed. In this context, the album’s rhythm and energy never fade away. Secondly, although the e-guitars&vocals are mostly dominant, I also loved how the bass sometimes dominates certain parts in songs.. so kudos to the production. Every musical element is precious which will make the fans enjoy this album even more!
There are surely some songs that stand out more even in a classical hard rock album like this. Songs like “Lights Out” (such an amazing start!), “And You Call Yourself Sane” and “Shovel Man” have become my favorites. Although each song might sound similar at the first spin, I am sure the listener will pick certain favorites as the energy and emotion each song differs and this is even reflected in the styles. In certain songs, I even got slight stoner/sludge vibes even though we are talking about a typical hard rock album. So “Tolerance 0” offers much more than a classical rock/metal record.
What else is there to say? Get “Tolerance 0” and pour out your anger! As a huge fan of VL and his previous bands, I am so happy that he is back with S-TOOL. Kudos to other guys as well. I think the band is a great team and I hope we will get to hear much more from them. The band is currently touring in Finland so catch them live if you can!
Ville Laihiala – vocals, guitar
Sami Leppikangas – guitar
Kimmo Hiltunen – bass
Aksu Hanttu – drums
01. Lights Out