Something good coming from Washington DC? Really? I wasn't sure I believed it at first. But, the progressive metal band, A Sound of Thunder is just that. And, when the band went on Kickstarter, their loyal fan base delivered to the tune of $23,000 to make their latest album, The Lesser Key of Solomon. And, unlike the other people in DC who make a career of asking for money, these donations went to something incredible. This album is the best thing to come out of DC in...well, ever!
The first thing you notice about A Sound of Thunder (ASoT from here on out) is the incredible artwork on their album covers. The Lesser Key of Solomon for example has a sorceress who has apparently summoned a Cthulhu, named Udoroth which is the first song on the album. The second thing you notice is the amazing voice of Nina Osegueda. At 5'2", she is about the same height of the legendary Ronnie James Dio. But, her voice is every bit as enormous and incredible as it covers a broad range. She can sing a delicate and soft ballad, and without even taking a breath, belt out a shriek that would make Thor nervous.
ASoT was formed in 2008 by guitarist, Josh Schwartz. A guitar virtuoso in his own right, he belongs in the same conversation with the likes of Al Pitrelli and Marty Friedman, and drummer Chris Haren who also belongs in the conversation with speed metal greats like Dave Lombardo. It took a year to find Nina Osegueda, but once they did, the band took off like bullet train. Although, the bass guitar spot wasn't filled until 2010, they proved that good things come to those who wait. Jesse Keen's arrival solidified the lineup and provided the perfect fit with the talent of the other 3 members.
This album is textbook progressive metal. From its intro, Nexus of Realities, into Udoroth you are grabbed by the throat, and bombarded with intricate guitar riffs, powerful rhythm, and of course, incredible vocals and harmonies. This is one of the most talented bands that I've heard in a long time. The song writing skill of the band is top notch. Fantastic stories like Udoroth and the epic Elijah come to life in your mind's eye, If there was ever a band that needed to release a concept album, ASoT is it. They have the skill to make a great one that would compare to legendary metal concept albums like Operation: Mindcrime, Abigail, and Something Wicked.
While this is an epic metal album, it does have some soft moments. The Boy Who Could Fly is an enchanting ballad. Also, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb starts off as a ballad but quickly turns into a metal assault on the senses. Nina Osegueda also channels the late great Midnight of Crimson Glory with a high note that could pierce steel. Also, during the guitar solo, we also hear a music box accompanying Josh Schwartz as he shreds it.
Basically, this album is technical progressive bliss, combined with a couple metal anthems like Black Secrets and Master of Pain. If you like prog bands like Kamelot, Epica, and Nightwish, and metal bands like Savatage, Helloween, Priest, and Maiden, then ASoT is right up your alley. I am not saying that they sound like any of these bands because they have their own unique style.
I have said repeatedly on this blog, and on the Will and Thunder Show <ca-ching!> that all the great metal comes from Europe and Scandinavia. It is refreshing to find one that is every bit as good as the great bands from over seas right here in the good ol' USA. Perhaps there is hope for metal here. So, do yourself a favor and get this album! Buy it from the A Sound of Thunder's Website.
Catch A Sound of Thunder on the Will and Thunder Show September 16 at 7PM Eastern