After first discovering Washington D.C.’s A Sound of Thunder thanks to their 2014 issued record, The Lesser Key of Solomon, which featured such great metal tracks as “Udoroth” and “One Empty Grave” (you can read my full review here: Meister Hears A Sound of Thunder) I went back into their works acquiring the discography including Time’s Arrow (2013), Out of the Darkness (2012), and Metal Renaissance (2011). Now, after another wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in which they reached the goal in something like less than 24 hours, actually tripling their original $10,000 goal, the band is set to issue their next conquest with Tales from the Deadside on September 25, 2015.
A Sound of Thunder was formed in 2008 by guitarist Josh Schwartz and drummer Chris Haren. After over a year of numerous line-up changes and false starts, in late 2009 they were joined by vocalist Nina Osegueda, who had grown restless in her previous band and was in search of broader musical horizons. The chemistry between Schwartz, Haren and Osegueda was instant, and they began writing, recording and gigging with a series of short-tenured and fill-in bassists. Finally in 2011 they were joined by bassist and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Keen, and the definitive band line-up was cemented. A Sound of Thunder delivers a unique and exciting blend of classic heavy metal, progressive, and rock. The young upstarts from Washington, DC pay no heed to trends, focusing on quality songwriting with memorable melodies and riffs that stand the test of time. With first class musicianship all around, the band’s not-so-secret weapon is vocalist, Nina Osegueda. Standing only 5′ 2″, the diminutive singer packs the vocal wallop of someone twice her size. Described as a “heavy metal Swiss army knife”, Osegueda moves effortlessly from a delicate whisper to overwhelming power, with the occasional banshee wail thrown in for good measure!
Tales from the Deadside is a full-length concept album based on Valiant Entertainment‘s Shadowman comic book series. “The story of Shadowman, his alter-ego Jack Boniface, and the many characters in his world inspired us to create what we believe is our best album to date,” said A Sound Of Thunder guitarist Josh Schwartz. “We let the story lead us to places our music has never been before, combining all the elements of supernatural horror, drama, action and adventure found in the comics. Of course everything has gone through our own unique Thunderous filter, and all the familiar ASOT elements will be there. The Shadowman‘s harrowing journey demanded no less!”
Personally, I usually shy away from anything labeled “a concept album” probably thanks to my childhood disappointment in KISS‘ Music from the Elder, but as a whole I just don’t particularly prefer my album to tell me a story however, A Sound of Thunder lured me in to give concept albums another chance. While still not my favorite listening style, the musicianship on A Sound of Thunder‘s Tales From the Deadside is top notch and kudos all the way for expanding their horizons and trying something new. Pint-sized Nina Osegueda‘s vocal prowess is front and center as she incorporates a screeching, yet melodic wail (if that makes sense) from time to time. Josh Schwartz‘s emotive guitar solos, Chris Haren‘s pounding backbeat and Jesse Keen‘s thumping bass, basically all of the elements that I came to love about A Sound of Thunder are present here and the narratives in between songs do help the listener to follow along with the storylines. Tales From the Deadside is definitely a rollercoaster ride of epic storytelling. Not my usual listening fare as I prefer the songs to smash along individually from each other, a little more chorus driven, but the more I listen, the more A Sound of Thunder‘s fifth full-length release grows on me. While “Tower of Souls” (video below) is probably my most preferred composition and the standout cut for me off Tales From the Deadside, it’ll likely never see the play rotation on my MP3 player that tracks like The Lesser Key of Solomon‘s “Udoroth”, “Master of Pain”, “House of Bones”, and “One Empty Grave” achieved.
At what appears to be a pace of an album a year that this band is on, I eagerly await the future as the talents within A Sound of Thunder‘s membership is readily apparent. If you’re just discovering A Sound of Thunder I recommend starting with something like 2014’s The Lesser Key of Solomon instead of Tales From the Deadside.