A Sound of Thunder - It Was Metal
Mad Neptune Records
Heavy Metal
11 songs (58'03")
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Alex

I have to start this review by posing a question: is it ethical to review an album on which I’m technically listed as a producer? Technically, since of course I produced nothing on the latest A Sound of Thunder It Was Metal. Nothing, except continuing to donate a few $ for every album this fiercely independent heavy metal entity from DC area puts out. Having become a fan from the early days of Out of the Darkness I even stayed in touch with Josh Schwartz (guitars) a few times by email.

A pair of recent albums by A Sound of Thunder, The Lesser Key of Solomon and Tales from the Deadside, were decidedly darker, more mid-paced affairs. Josh himself said so, also mentioning that playing pieces off of those albums live was a little more arduous (but not less pleasing) personally as well. As opposed to “dark”, the word to characterize It Was Metal then would be “bright”. Fun, entertaining and very energetic too. Rather than be brooding and deliberating, A Sound of Thunder opt for immediately catchy riffs and engaging melodies on their latest album. It is very apparent from the opener Phantom Flight, the first half of Lifebringer, or Second Lives, which the band apparently liked so much they made it a lead track on the It Was Metal companion CD (which also has a ripping cover of Judas Priest Blood Red Skies). A Sound of Thunder maintain this drive throughout the album without retreat, not stopping all the way until the final strong lunge of Fortress of the Future Race.

At the same time, without maintaining a singular storyline, A Sound of Thunder display a lot of variety in their songs. The end of Lifebringer has Slough Feg psychedelic touch, Atlacatl is based on ethnic nonlinear percussion, the short The Crossroads Deal is harmonica laden and Arizonan desert Americana (which probably could have used even more development). Obsidian & Gold (Desdinova Returns) is probably the only lyrical moment which turns epic and at times macabre and Judas Priest would have been proud of the anthemic title track. Add Josh Schwartz going crazy and fluid with his leads time and time again (Fortress of the Future Race, rocking outro licks of Phantom Flight, Tomyris), indelible hook chorus lines of Atlacatl or Tomyris, Lordian keyboard inserts in Obsidian & Gold (Desdinova Returns) - there are all elements a good heavy metal album is supposed to have on It Was Metal. To illustrate the variety and explain lyrical concepts A Sound of Thunder deliver a thick graphically involved comic book, which was for the longest time a passion of theirs.

A review of A Sound of Thunder cannot be complete without mentioning of their vocalist Nina Osegueda. To all those people who think female fronted metal bands are a joke, all I can say you haven’t heard someone who probably is the best screamer in metal right now. With plenty of power in the lower register (although I would love to hear even more there), she is undoubtedly a queen of high pitched scream. Without Nina tracks like Charles II do not work, epic female power of Tomyris would be unconvincing, and the Els Segadors (The Reapers) tribute to her native Catalunya would not have been so rousing. Without Nina A Sound of Thunder would have been a different band, that’s for sure. Case in point, the opener Phantom Flight features vocals by Accept’s Mark Tornillo, and, honestly, Nina beats him on every corner. Sure it was prestigious to offer him a guest spot, but if you remove him from the equation, the band suffers nothing.

Driving in the morning in sunny July - August days was a tasty pleasure with It Was Metal blaring from my speakers. You just need to play this one loud. The album is so buoyant and optimistic, all you want to do is step on the accelerator and enjoy.

Killing Songs :
Phantom Flight, Lifebringer, Second Lives, Els Segadors, Tomyris
Alex quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by A Sound of Thunder that we have reviewed:
A Sound of Thunder - Tales From The Deadside reviewed by Joel and quoted 90 / 100
A Sound of Thunder - The Lesser Key of Solomon reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
A Sound of Thunder - Times Arrow reviewed by Alex and quoted 89 / 100
A Sound of Thunder - Queen of Hell reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
A Sound of Thunder - Out of the Darkness reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
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