Holy shit, there's a new album out from DC-area A Sound Of Thunder and I couldn't be more excited. You may recall my review of their fantastic fourth album, A Lesser Key Of Solomon, and how lead singer Nina Osegueda sings the shit out of some great American heavy metal. Well, Oz and company are back to kick your ass with a new concept album based on popular Valiant comic book superhero Shadowman, Tales From The Deadside. Fuck yes!
From the killer opening track Children of the Dark, it seems to me that if you aren't already a fan of Nina's singing you soon will be. Like everything about this band, this is classic heavy metal all the way: big metaphysical themes, meaty, overdriven riffs, powerful, emotional vocals. ASOT goes for broke from the get go and I fucking love it. There's a narrative link between each track to lay out the story, making it a bit hard to listen to a given track on its own, but this may likely be the intent of the band to make a cohesive story-driven record, like a 10-issue limited comic series. Huge props to everyone on this disc, from Nina to co-founders Josh Schwartz (guitar) and Chris Haren (drums), to Jesse Keen (bass), 'cause each of them performs their asses off.
What amazes me most is that this is a simple four piece band with no great diversity of instrumentation - save for bassist Jesse who sometimes mans the keyboards - yet they have this arena-level sound (kudos to Kevin '131' Gutierrez on producing chores, by the way) that makes you imagine at least a half dozen people onstage to produce a sound this big - and some of these tracks are anthemic as hell. Man, their live shows must have a phenomenal vibe, especially if they do this album in its entirety. Miss Osegueda alone should have young women across the country contemplating a career in heavy metal.
The Bottom Line: At the risk of hyperbole, I think this band kicks serious ass in terms of classic American heavy metal and if there's any justice these guys should one day be counted among the greats of the genre. Classic metalheads GO GET THIS ALBUM. 'Nuff said!
- Genghis is crossing his fingers and toes that this band tours through Houston *soon*...