A Sound of Thunder: The Lesser Key of Solomon

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A Sound of Thunder - The Lesser Key of Solomon

HAIL, WARRIORS!

Sometimes, you get hungry, but you can’t decide what to eat. You want a cheeseburger, but you want pizza too. Then someone brings up Mexican food and all you can think about is getting a big sloppy burrito with a side of refried beans. Then you drive by the local Chinese restaurant and want to eat sweet and sour chicken. Then you park in the Wal-Mart parking lot and cry because life is hard and you can’t figure out what to eat. What if there was a food that was all of those things combined? A Chinese sweet and sour refried pizza burger of sorts? Sometimes that happens in music too. Sometimes I want to listen to Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Accept, Manowar, Liege Lord, Metallica, Pentagram, Trouble, and Thin Lizzy all at the same time. For fans of heavy metal who want a smorgasbord of heavy/power/doom/speed/hard rock in one album, A Sound of Thunder delivers with thunderous competence.

A Sound of Thunder

A Sound of Thunder

A Sound of Thunder reside in the DC area, and are trekking the independent route. The Lesser Key of Solomon is the fourth album they’ve released, and represents a bit of a stylistic change from their more heavy/power style demonstrated on Time’s Arrow. The artwork perfectly represents what you will hear when you listen: a dark, mysterious adventure. While storytelling and lyrical flow have always been a staple, they really outdid themselves with this album. Every song is a story, and the story enhances the music in a bombastic and dramatic fashion. The band is never afraid to one up each other with a solo/drum fill/dramatic scream, but maintain cohesiveness in crafting the appropriate moods to represent the lyrics. A Sound of Thunder easily transitions between various heavy metal related genres to provide generous diversity and keep the listener interested throughout the entirety of the album. Even though each song can stand alone as a piece of music and a story, the album is an absolute pleasure to listen to as a whole.

A Sound of Thunder - The Lesser Key of Solomon

A Sound of Thunder – The Lesser Key of Solomon

The first thing one will notice about the band is Nina Osegueda. Like Dio, Nina is an absolute powerhouse of a singer despite her height. Nina howls like a vengeful wild witch cursing your family because you looked at her funny. On previous albums, Nina certainly showed that she deserves the title of the Queen of Hell. However, The Lesser Key of Solomon is easily her best performance yet. The diversity of the songs on the album allows Nina to really show off her range of emotions in her singing. From the hellish screams on “Udoroth”, to the tragic and powerful “Elijah”, and to the adventurous “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb”, it is clear that Nina doesn’t belong to the one trick pony “I am woman, hear me roar” class of belting every song with the same voice. Nina masterfully handles the album’s subject material with passion, grace, and fire.

Of course, no singer would have any ground to stand on without being backed by the rest of the band. Fortunately for Nina, she has three incredible musicians that elegantly match up to her talent. On guitar, Josh Schwartz gives us huge riffs, big hooks, and dazzling solos. He PERFECTLY fits the music with a warm, crunchy guitar tone that is never too heavy and always appropriate. Bassist and Keyboardist Jesse Keen stays right in the pocket for the groove, then comes out for a bass solo, harmony, or melody at just the right moment to add some extra spice with a delicious sound deftly mixed for maximum flavor. The keyboards are used expertly as well and are, again, mixed perfectly so that they’re not overpowering, as is often the case in the more symphonic styles of power metal, but instead support the music and provide the listener with a bit more detail. On drums, Chris Haren tells us when to bang our heads, and he knows quite well when to command us. Chris takes a more simple approach to drumming. Rather than overloading us with fills at every corner and distracting from the music, he plays very supportive drums and, like everyone else, flows from style to style with dexterous ease. If there is one thing to say about this band as a whole, it is that they are all extremely talented, diverse musicians who know when to shred, when to support each other, and how to write as one unit instead of four musicians competing for attention.

By this point, you get that the band is great at what they do. So are a dozen other bands, but can they write music? Oh, they most certainly can. As I’ve said so many times already, this album goes all over the place in a delightful way. Central to the songwriting of the album is a horror/doom atmosphere, which is also reflected in the lyrical content. The majority of the songs float around standard heavy metal, with some tracks diving deeply into power or doom metal. If you’re hungry for riffs, prepare for a gluttonous feast courtesy of Josh and Jesse. Because of the diversity of the album, some listeners may hook onto certain tracks faster than others, and may even dislike some of them. A lot of the songs don’t immediately click, but are “growers” that increase in value with repeated listens. The album is a bit front heavy, with the most dynamic and intriguing tracks dominating the front half and leaving the latter half a bit to be desired. I wouldn’t say that any of the songs individually are duds, but there are certainly times when one can become a bit bored.

As an entire package, The Lesser Key of Solomon is a great album that is not to be missed, especially by fans of heavy/power metal. Between Nina’s vocals, Josh and Jesse’s dynamic duo of guitar/bass riffs and solos, Chris’s consistent drumming, and the mostly excellent songwriting, A Sound of Thunder has given us a solid release. With standout tracks like the fiery “Udoroth” (with an incredible music video accompanying it!) or the epic “Elijah“, this album deserves a full listen. This is an exciting band that has proven they can consistently write great albums, and I look forward to hearing many more from them. Do not flush on this album.

NO FLUSH

You can purchase the album directly from the band on their bandcamp, or visit their website.  Check out their Facebook page and give them a like while you’re at it.

(Photo VIA)

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  • Jormungandr

    Thanks Randall, I needed something to pep me up this morning!

    • Every warrior has a gash on his sword. Move on to victory

  • Ignatius the Wizened

    In deepest port a draught o’ plunder, adroit the lines of mind asunder; giveth the world a cove to fail, it drains the face a color pale.

  • Edward #negrodMMXV

    Randall – great review. I’ll make it a point to at least check out some tracks when I’m not at work.

    • VVorld Peace

      Udoroth is probably the highlight of the album.

  • CyberneticOrganism
  • CyberneticOrganism

    Hey wait, I bought a share of the singer’s butt! Great song by the way; review sums it up well.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      This song makes me want to joust
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLRQ7kfAXPk

    • Stockhausen

      Buying a share of a butt and ruling buttz are very different things. We may own part of a butt, but A Sound of Thunder will always rule our buttz.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        And these buttz that are ruled, they shall bring forth lolz. They shall be called by their rightful name: the lolbuttz

        • Stockhausen

          And all peoples of all lands will bow before the buttz, and they will all, in unison, lol, and the lolbuttz shall never fall.

  • Tyree

    Oh Rexy stop that. You’re so sexy.

  • DeadButtDreaming

    This is not Twilight Force.

  • VVorld Peace

    Great review, Randall. This album definitely had some killer songs.

    • Favorite for you? Elijah for me

      • VVorld Peace

        Udoroth.

      • the solos/bridge on Elijah tear it up… Iron Maiden style!

  • That intro paragraph has sparked a hunger inside me.

  • i agree with your score, this album is great! and terrific job with the review.
    …and buttz.

  • I may change my score to flush because the singer of this band has talked me into playing WoW again

  • Commander Shepard

    Going to play this in the captains quarters now.

  • BLVKKBEVRD

    Very interested/10 will check it out when I get home

  • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

    It’s smorgasbrød, Randall. Don’t make me come down and slay you!

    Nevertheless, checked them out when her butt was “for sale” and have since added them to the tragically short list of Female Fronted Metal Bands I Like.

    • That list for me is also tragically short, but maybe I can hook you up?

      MindMaze, Unleash the Archers, Ancient Bards, White Empress?

      • BLVKKBEVRD

        Ancient bards >>>>>>>>

      • Pretty reckless

        • Commander Shepard

          Bad Jack!

          • We are in a fight.

          • Commander Shepard

            Ok, got my singularity ready for you.

          • Fuck

          • ever wonder where they go?

          • Commander Shepard

            I like to imagine they travel to a generic djent band’s hangar and fuck their shit up.

          • KJM

            Is that like a Dark Matter bazooka?

          • Commander Shepard

            Note that this person is playing as the impostor, but this is a singularity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcIeWTgVu_0

          • KJM

            Ah, more like a Dark Matter proximity grenade.

        • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

          Commence sequence: dying.

      • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

        I shall check the first two (MindMaze had a frontwoman!?) AB, I think, was OK. Not sure I like WE, the former COF guys new band, right?

        • I just met her at DeLand Fest and checked them out, didn’t know COF was related at all. Right band though. They’re a solid 6/10 for me

    • KJM

      Blood Ceremony?
      Purson?
      Occultation?

      • I didn’t even think about doom, i was totally focused on power.

        With that said, Royal Thunder

        • KJM

          Purson’s much more Psych these days.

          • You know what I was goin for

          • KJM

            But of course…

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          “I didn’t even think about doom, i was totally focused on power.” said the dude who turned me on to PAGAN ALTAR!!!!!!

        • Renan Ribeiro

          Alunah put out a GREAT album in 2014, female fronted doom. Probably one of the most delicious guitar tones of the past year

        • Renan Ribeiro
      • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

        Know all. BC is pretty good, not so much love for the rest, just OK.

        • KJM

          Yeah, they’re all really acquired tastes especially if you prefer heavier stuff.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

            I’m sorta all around, but a lot of the ‘retro’ stuff leaves me cold.

          • KJM

            I’m an ancient fossil so retro is ok with me. I could name some of the newer Retro Doom that I don’t care for but I’m in a nice mood so I won’t.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

            I don’t what it is that makes me dislike it. Because I like some of it. Maybe it’s that the only thing a lot of bands have is ‘retro’. Doom gets a pass for me tho, if it’s not female-fronted. I mean way to oversaturate the scene guys and gals. Like Alunah isn’t even a bad band, but I can’t stand a thousand bands trying to emulate the same sound and riffs with the same singer (they ALWAYS sound the same)

          • KJM

            Well, I wasn’t familiar with Alunah so I just gave them a listen, lasted about a minute.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

            Yeah, well… Yeah. That pretty much sums it up.

    • tertius_decimus

      > Female Fronted Metal Bands I Like

      I can count on my either hand.

      Madder Mortem (Agnete Kyrkevaag has incredible voice ranging from silent whisper to psycho screams so powerful which sometimes give an impression she’s gonna spit her lungs);
      Jex Thoth;
      Djerv (Agnete Kjølsruds voice is weird and funny);
      and…
      and…

      It’s three! There are, obviously, Doro and Lita Ford who are really talented and truly deserve respect, but I’m not into their music (that’s just my personal prefernece, I don’t insist). Also, Bolt Thrower (Jo Bench isn’t on front).

      Flush this tendency to join beautiful looking girl for the sake of her look. It adds nothing to music.

      • KJM

        If I like something it’s because I like something, not because the singer has a nice ass.

      • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

        I agree. Also I don’t much care for the gothic/symphinic approah that seems to gather most frontwomen. Will check these bands tho.

        • KJM

          I am no fan of Symphonic Metal at all.

        • It varies from band to band for me. Theatre of Tragedy is about one of the only one’s I enjoy. Nightwish and Epica aren’t bad either but I don’t own any of their albums.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

            Delain for me. Almost interested at this new Nightwish, the newest Epica was surprisingly good. Women have lately dominated my non-metal playlist tho. By a mile.

          • Xandria, Amberian Dawn, Ellis, Susperia, and Victorian-Aristocrats Symphony are pretty good.

          • I purchased the most recent Amberian Dawn album. I haven’t listened to it yet. I’ll have to get on that.

      • Tyree
        • tertius_decimus

          This is as bad as it gets.

          • Tyree

            Really? You don’t grind I assume?

          • tertius_decimus

            If you like it, good for you. They’ve found their audience.

          • Tyree

            Good talk.

          • tertius_decimus

            What do you waiting from me to tell you?

            This example is awful. She tears her throat like hysteric cuckoo but adds nothing interesting to this particular song. Out of time, out of rhythm, sounds disgusting.

          • Tyree

            You are going to hate pretty much everything I post musically. Just saying 😉

          • He said “sounds disgusting” like it was a bad thing and I’m really confused.

          • KJM

            Awesome!

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            I don’t really enjoy female fronted bands. I enjoy Heart and Hellion but that’s about it.

          • Does Life Of Agony count as female fronted nowadays?

          • Tyree

            Sure, Same with Cretin.

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            I don’t really like them.

          • Not really into them either, but was making a sorta joke there.

          • KJM

            Nah, this kicks ass. It’s not my normal thing but whatever.

        • Renan Ribeiro

          Total babe. She looks like she would kick your ass and outrun you.

      • Sinister had a good female vocalist for a couple albums: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOSN13SnIf4

        • tertius_decimus

          Meh.

          • This particular track was meh. I couldn’t remember any of the other names without putting in effort.

      • OldMetalHead

        But what about Sockweb? 😉

        • tertius_decimus

          Flush.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

            … You won’t like it… I think.

        • cosigned.

      • ever heard of Into Eternity? they use operatic vocals. the riffs are QUITE tasty!

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      I make it a point never to admit I like Huntress in these female lead threads…but I do.

      • OldMetalHead

        I saw them open for LOG last year. I thought Jill Janus was annoying, but some of the music was ok.

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          I like the crunchy guitars…and dug her “act”…

      • Nordling Rites Ov Leõnhart

        Nah, they’re not that barf… I mean bad. Barf. It’s not like her… barf…. had any-barf to do with… barf… their barf.

        Opinions, assholes, barf, stuff.
        I won’t judge you, or think less of you.

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          haha…thats the usual reaction I run into….

          • Commander Shepard

            They are a decent enough band until she opens her mouth.

  • Well, my bandcamp wishlist is officially growing again.

    • Tyree

      Damn, just looked at my Bandcamp status here.

      • Holy mother of fuck!

        • Commander Shepard

          This is nothing, in 2136 he has so many things on his wishlist that bandcamp crashes for an entire month.

          • And somehow he manages to listen to them all because tyree?

          • Commander Shepard

            I cannot confirm or deny this.

      • I need to get on this

      • add me bby https://bandcamp.com/avalonsteel

        Also I wish I could change my URL. Hope I stay in this band for a long time

        • Tyree

          Done!

      • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career
        • Tyree

          Why the hell am I listening to this crappy Aerosmith album?

          Hahahaha, YES!

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            What crappy Aerosmith album? My music is noise.

          • Tyree

            That’s one of your song titles? Right? I’m confused.

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            That album hasn’t been finished yet. It’s going to be a double album of the rawest possible silence to ever be recorded.

          • Tyree

            NOICE!

          • Howard Dean

            “Silent Rage at a Foghat Concert in Eden” gets me every time.

  • Ferris Mueller

    Sounds like mommy-approved gateway metal for my 8yo daughter. Wifey still gives me crap about taking her to a Goatwhore show… when she was 6

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Your daughter is gonna be more hardcore than all of us by age 14

      • Ferris Mueller

        ‘Sorry honey, Bruno Mars MP3s are not compatible with your new tablet. Pythia, however….’

        • Akercocke ov Steele

          “The RAM only recognizes Morbid Angel and Pyrrhon” But in all seriousness, Might wanna start off with Priest and Maiden just to be safe.

          • Ferris Mueller

            She’s not interested in the classics yet but immediately fell in love with Kittie, Angtoria, Nightwish, some IWABO and the Arch Enemy live DVD. At first I thought it was just a girl power thing but she hates Evanescence which is encouraging.

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            IWABO are abysmal live. I saw them at a festival and they were tied for worst act with Emmure and All Thar Remains.

          • Ferris Mueller

            Your screen name should win you money

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            You like it? Vernon Gholston is one of the worst football players ever on one of my favorite teams. I’m a Jaguars fan but when I want to hide that I say I’m a Jets fan.

          • Ferris Mueller

            Yeah I got the joke instantly. I live in FL and the Jags are my #2 team behind the Chiefs. Bortles was starting to look sharp towards the end of the season!

          • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

            I love Bortles because he’s better than Gabbert. Anything is better than Gabbert.

          • Everyone should hate Evanescence.

          • Thuacamole Jim

            WAKE ME UP

          • Ellipsis ov Flush

            SAVE MEEEEEE

  • JamesGrimm

    cheeeseeeee..

  • Holy shit. This is really good. This will get in my belly now. Today is definitely a power metal Monday for me.

  • Stockhausen

    I thunderously (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) approve of this. As a non-lover of power metal, or what some may call a poser, this album cuts through the fat of my opinions and delivers a decisive blow to my like muscle. Not in a way that paralyzes the like muscle, but in a way that makes me like it. This is probably the worst description I’ve ever given, and I’ll chalk it up to the fact that I just watched that Diary #3 video. What the wtf.

    • Renan Ribeiro

      These are my exact sentiments. I’m big on traditional heavy metal but no so much on power, and this feels like a perfect blend.

  • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

    I know these guys. One of the band members reviewed the Blue Oyster Cult box set in a video I watched on YouTube. I’ll give them a listen ASAP.

  • Goddamn, this band fucking OWNS!!!!!

  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    unsheathing my sword now..

  • Scrimm

    Here’s some more female fronted goodness I’ve been spinning. https://parasiticextirpation.bandcamp.com/releases

    • brvtal!

    • Tyree

      WOW!

    • Lacertilian

      Anything with Extirpation in the title must be killer.

  • Renan Ribeiro

    Oh I’m diggin it

  • Vernon Gholston’s NFL Career

    On the subject of good music here’s a sneak peek at my latest album. It’s a remix album of Tony Martin era Black Sabbath and it’s awesome.

    https://blimpcrashinginmidair.bandcamp.com/album/sneak-peek-ep