A Sound of Thunder - Out of the Darkness
Nightmare Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (61'36")
Release year: 2012
Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

The promotional material from the young DC/Northern Virginia band A Sound of Thunder played a little hard to get, but I am glad I took the effort to land it. Honestly, in the last few years I do not think I had a traditional heavy metal album excite me that much. Seemingly, A Sound of Thunder do not play anything new, metal has seen this music before. Yet, they do not over-concentrate on any “staying true to the core” factors, do not chase blinding speeds or pristine production, do not recycle riffs and certainly do not put all of their eggs in one basket in the music sense of the word. It is actually precisely because Out of the Darkness traverses the planes of traditional metal, power metal, melodic and progressive rock, the album sounds so diverse. Even more importantly, every style seems to have the bandmembers’ heart and soul poured into it in even measure, and that layer of ingenuity on top of diversity makes the whole experience immensely enjoyable.

Song by song reviews are the most boring ones to read, and aren’t really my thing, but without those individual song descriptions I would struggle to convey to you how Out of the Darkness allows for visiting multiple facets of heavy music of 70s and 80s with outstanding female vocalist Nina Osegueda leading the way. The Day I Die has those grumbling bearish forceful guitars of Eternal Idol-era Black Sabbath. The Night Witch, very fitting to be the single on the album, begins with that creepy xylophone-mechanical musicbox sound of Mercyful Fate or, even more so, King Diamond. The driving riffs and catchy hooky chorus are prelude to “the witch” lulling you into her realm, without any meanness in her voice. Kill That Bitch then takes a 180 degree turn and goes for a rocker-biker chick image, something out of the Nashville Pussy repertoire. Normally, I would not like this redneck sort of song, but in the hand of A Sound of Thunder/Osegueda this stuff plain rocks, and almighty Doro would be impressed with the shrieks/screams Nina goes after. Murderous Horde begins with a Sabbathy feel again, but midway rips into a Judas Priest Painkiller-like riff ratcheting up the pressure. Warlock would not be embarrassed to add the title track to its discography, given its energetic riffs and Nina turning into a total beast. The only ballad on the album This Too Shall Pass is also a non-linear exercise in woven complexity, very much Jag Panzer like from Thane to the Throne or Demons and Wizards from Fiddler on the Green, blending cello/violin into its acoustic guitars.

The crowning achievement for me, however, is the Spanish Reconquista-inspired epic Calat Alhambra. The storytelling setup intro, the Iced Earth-like gallop, slightly accented, on purpose, vocals, the “ethnic” groups, like Dantesco, can only dream of having it so good. Nina Osegueda has the amazing balance throughout the record. Yes, you can tell right away that A Sound of Thunder is a female fronted heavy metal band, and many may have reservations about it. I happen to think that her gender has nothing to do with the quality of the delivery she exhibits. Not a hint of fruitiness or weakness, she sounds strong and powerful, stretching herself to hit just the right notes, high or low, not making a mockery of it on either end of the register.

A Sound of Thunder musicians can come up with a strong riff (A Sound of Thunder, Fight Until the End), or have expansive melodic solos (The Night Witch, A Sound of Thunder, Calat Alhambra, Fight Until the End). Most importantly, however, whoever handles the songwriting for the band is on top of his/her game, as these compositions are simply interesting to listen to. You anticipate hearing how a song unfolds, and you want to have it repeated on whatever musical device you are using. Without a weak track on the album either, I go back to the beginning of my effusive write-up. I have not been so pleasantly surprised in a long time.

Killing Songs :
The Night Witch, Out of the Darkness, Calat Alhambra
Alex quoted 90 / 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
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