They say it takes truly outstanding musicians to turn a good composition into an excellent song. Having said that: even brilliant artists need a first-rate original to allow their mastery to shine in its full glory. In other words: you need both, superior song material and exceptional musicians. Following the successful realisation of his debut album Let´s Get Ruthless (2009), which featured a wide range of renowned metal stars, René Thomsen, owner of a company called BRS (Backline Rental Service) and guitarist, composer and bandleader, has repeated this superb combination on his second release, Unbroken! Including bona fide world stars as guests, such as Udo Dirkschneider, Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven & Hell), Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Fates Warning, Sebastian Bach, Riot), David Vincent (Morbid Angel), Mathias Don Dieth (U.D.O.), Andre Hilgers (Rage, Sinner) and Helge Engelke (Fair Warning, Dreamtide), who have lent not only their technical skills but also glamour to the material. Not forgetting to mention Thomsen’s impressive live band, which will accompany him on his tour of Germany from autumn 2014. But more about that later.
Bandleader René Thomsen has composed a total of twelve new songs for Unbroken, most of them together with Fair Warning producer and guitarist Helge Engelke. “I’ve known Helge since the eighties when we shared a rehearsal room,” Thomsen remembers. “Ever since, I’ve known that he is the perfect co-songwriter and producer for my music. He’s got that unusual musical sense that Unbroken has thoroughly benefitted from.”
The roles of the guest musicians were allocated on the basis of the recordings which Thomsen and his group (Robert Soeterboek/vocals, Ingo Lühring/bass, Mike Pesin/guitar, Max Dietzmann/drums) cut: Thomsen’s long-standing friend David Vincent (Morbid Angel) played bass on ‘Draw The Curtains’. Vinny Appice was the drummer of Thomsen’s dreams for ‘We Made It’, which he wrote during the night following Ronnie James Dio’s death in remembrance of that great American rock singer. The song’s guitar solo and its intro ‘Six Thirteen 64’ were written by Mathias Dieth in direct collaboration with René Thomsen. Dieth also came up with the idea of asking his friend and erstwhile colleague Udo Dirkschneider to record the vocals. It would have been impossible to perform this number in a style more charismatic than Dirkschneider’s.
Thomsen is particularly proud of Bobby Jarzombek’s contribution to ‘Draw The Curtains’, ‘New Horizon’, ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Fools of Fortune’. “I’ve known Bobby since recording Let´s Get Ruthless, so all it took was a phone call to sign up this exceptional drummer’s services for Unbroken.” Just as uncomplicated as enlisting Rage skinsman André Hilgers, who recorded the impressive drum parts on ‘Dream’, ‘Break That Spell’, ‘Into The Unknown’ and ‘In Steel We Trust’. The fact that Hilgers is not only “a fantastic drummer, but also a really nice guy” (quote Thomsen) was of course conductive to the Unbroken project. The album was produced by René Thomsen, Helge Engelke and Arne Neurand, a team with great visions and the technical skills to translate these visions into reality. They have a work-intensive and occasionally difficult production process behind them: “That’s the reason for the album title Unbroken,” Thomsen explains, “because life is about not letting adverse circumstances get you down but holding on to your dreams and carrying on.”
And now let’s get back to the above-mentioned live band which is set to accompany Thomsen on stage later this year. A new addition is vocalist Denis Brosowski (Iron Fate), who can also be heard on the Unbroken tracks ‘One’ and ‘Tears Of The Sun’, the latter a live-recording of a stage rehearsal. Brosowski has succeeded Dutchman Robert Soeterboek (Ayreon, Star One) in Thomsen’s band and is considered one of germany’s strongest metal vocalists by insiders. “We are happy to have found a superlative singer in Denis, who also happens to live close by,” comments Thomsen on his new lead vocalist.
So from now on, it’s flawless power metal again, with a first-class band surrounding mastermind René Thomsen and Unbroken, his second audiolicious album, featuring lots of illustrious guests again as the icing on the cake.