A Sound of Thunder - It Was Metal - (9.5/10)
Published on June 15, 2018
Genre:Heavy Metal / Power / Hard Rock
The one and only culprit.
If you are a fan of hard rock, heavy metal, USPM, or heavy/power metal, you are probably well acquainted with the sheer awesomeness that is A Sound of Thunder. If you are not familiar with them, you probably need to pay more attention to underground metal. A Sound of Thunder represent all of the aforementioned genres and so much more with their kick-ass, hard-hitting, head-banging sound. They are proudly independent and have shown quite the affinity for underground comic books, even creating one of their own for their latest album, It Was Metal. This is their sixth full-length album (seventh if you include the covers album) and the first of original material in three years. The band are showing no signs of slowing down as they rip through 11 tracks of pure awesomeness on It Was Metal.
This album may not possess the same diversity and creativity as their last two full-lengths but that does not stop it from being a ripping good time. Not only that but this album contains plenty of seriously intense riffs. Listen to the opening of “Fortress in the Future Race” and try to find something wrong with those riffs. Listen all you want, you will not find anything wrong because those riffs are heavy as hell and totally badass. There are fantastic riffs all over this cracking album but it all starts with the sensational riffs and melodies in the opener “Phantom Flight.” The melodies and solos do not showcase a great deal of technical skill but they are well-conceived and often quite catchy. You can really hear the band’s hard rock sensibilities in the riffs on “Second Lives,” which is one of the many things that separates A Sound of Thunder from their peers.
One thing that really stands out on this album compared to previous albums is Jesse’s bass lines. He has always laid down solid bass lines but they are much more audible on this album and it is a real treat. It is very prominent on the title track with plenty of interesting lines, including a nice little solo in the middle of the track that leads straight into a killer guitar solo. We would be remiss not to mention Jesse’s outstanding keyboard work on this album. They are not on every track but they add another layer of depth and luster to the album that really makes it shine. A track like “Tomyris” definitely would not pack the same punch without the keys. The drumming is also a real highlight, not just because the pacing is fantastic but because there is plenty of variation with a handful of standout moments. Most of the drumming is ¾ paced and fairly bombastic, which works incredibly well for the album’s sound. However, moments like the march beat in the intro to “Atlacatl” and the distinctive hard rock beat/cymbal patterns in “Obsidian & Gold (Desdinova Returns)” are what make Chris’ performance really stand out. The quiet cymbal patterns in the slow section of this track are also really good.
Anyone who thinks female-fronted bands are a joke or anything along those lines clearly has not heard the raw power and rip-roaring majesty of Nina Osegueda’s voice. Nina follows in the footsteps of other powerful female vocalists like Doro Pesch and Leather Leone and she does so brilliantly. She is a force to be reckoned with behind the mic and it makes A Sound of Thunder that much better. “Phantom Flight” features a special guest appearance by Accept frontman Mark Tornillo, which is a treat for heavy metal fans everywhere, even though there is no duet. Nina has decent range, especially in higher octaves, but her powerful yells are what stand out the most. That being said, special mention goes to “The Crossroads Deal” for perfectly capturing that old school blues vibe. This leads right into the title track where Nina belts out the anthemic chorus in so many different ways it will make your head spin. When Nina goes full out with the yells, she definitely sounds like a Queen of Hell in the best way possible. She also has a smoother mid-range that works exceptionally well on tracks like “Lifebringer.” You thought that was it? You were wrong. Nina’s voice sounds genuinely haunting in the intro to “Second Lives.” This woman is one of the most unique vocalists in all of metal and this album showcases it beautifully.
The bottom line is that this album is fantastic and kicks your ass in so many different ways from start to finish that it should be illegal in five states. The Lesser Key of Solomon remains A Sound of Thunder’s best work but It Was Metal is a very close second. If you like your heavy metal with very few frills and plenty of great riffs, this album is definitely for you. If you are already a fan, this will only increase your love for this band. If A Sound of Thunder is new to you, this album may very well make you a fan. This album is easily a top five AOTY and you should pick it up immediately and play it LOUD! Do it because metal this good DEMANDS to be played loud and because it is the will of Udoroth.