And so here we have A Sound of Thunder coming out of the USA, who look set to make a lot of noise this year along with several other acts as a part of a group of female fronted traditional and power metal bands releasing albums in 2012. That is if people sit up and pay attention to the quality of music coming out of these acts instead of worrying about the boring and repetitive djent scene. Okay, that was a little low attacking a style completely unrelated to this album I’m reviewing, but sue me I got sick of this djent stuff fast and with these female fronted heavy and power metal acts I’ve been hearing consistent high quality metal that in most cases seems to be going completely under the radar, which as far as this reviewer is concerned is a travesty. Out of the Darkness is the second album from A Sound of Thunder and continues the trend I’ve experienced of current traditional metal releases with female vocalists being the best traditional metal releases of the year so far.
If you’re a regular reader of my writing you’ve likely encountered reviews for some of the other artists playing traditional/power metal with female vocals by now. I expect it wouldn’t be unfair of you to be thinking by now something along the lines of “so do I really need all of these bands you’ve covered lately?”. Well, that’s probably the best thing about all the releases that fit this mould I’ve encountered, they all have their own identity. What sets A Sound of Thunder apart on Out of the Darkness is their penchant for more complex song structures, evident straight away with the opening The Day I Die, and that their singer Nina Osegueda is more inclined to use a lot more clear and melodic vocals along with the much more aggressive approach of Crystal Viper’s Marta Gabriel or Huntress’ Jill Janus, although she’s certainly capable of delivering her take on such vocals as well. I actually wish she used them a little more, since they give the band’s music a bit more bite against the highly melodic sound they produce.
The approach used in their actual music brings to mind at times the early material of Black Sabbath. The slower paced parts have a very notable doom feel to them in other words. I also detect a bit of power metal influence here and there, but mostly we’re talking a quite old school sounding traditional heavy metal release. The tracks are pretty well varied and easy to tell apart even after a relatively small number of listens, and I’d also say that A Sound of Thunder’s music is a bit more inventive than many other trad metal acts, which is something they make evident right with their opening number, The Day I Die. The light instrumental section is this track is very well crafted. Sections like this hint at some possible progressive influences among the A Sound of Thunder personnel. Although I don’t personally see Out of the Darkness as openly progressive, future release from A Sound of Thunder potentially could be if this is anything to go by.
Overall Out of the Darkness is a great album, but unfortunately there are a couple of tracks that just failed to live up to the high standard of the majority. Third track in, Kill That Bitch, is one of them. Musically it’s fine, but lyrically it just didn’t fit the whole thing A Sound of Thunder has going for them to these ears. It sounds more like it belongs in some random teenage revenge movie than on a metal album. I’m also not too fond of the ballad This Too Shall Pass, mostly because I think at over five minutes it’s just a bit too long. Not a bad track, it’s actually one of Nina’s vocal highlights, just one that outstays its welcome a little. The good thing is that all the other tracks are really good, especially The Day I Die, The Night Witch, Murderous Horde, A Sound of Thunder, Out of the Darkness (a duet with John Gallagher of Raven), actually I’m going to stop here, because I’m tempted to list more or less the rest of the whole album, the level of consistency is that high.
What we’ve ultimately got here is a really fine record that I think fans of old school metal are going to lap up. While not perfect by any means, A Sound of Thunder didn’t leave a lot of to be sniffed at really. Since in the wider view of things the two tracks that let the album down for me aren’t totally awful and it really is just these two tracks I find any fault with I’d say it only just misses out on an exceptional rating. I think A Sound of Thunder is going to blow this album out of the water next time around though.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))