Spoiler alert. I'm a fan of A Sound of Thunder. So you can probably just chuck objectivity out the door with this review. Sorry, you purists. I'll admit another thing: I waited almost two weeks to write the review of their third album The Lesser Key of Solomon, wanting to read what others were saying. I've seen some saying, 'Well, it's not this. It's not that. It isn't the same as ...' and so on.
I don't know. Opinions are like ... well, you know. Sure sounds like A Sound Of Thunder to me. Classic American heavy metal with nods to traditions from UK to Germany to New York to LA, from the last 30 some years. Strong melodic metal vocals, on the female side. Blistering guitar solos. Punchy, groovy rhythm section with large booming double bass drums. Then these things are wrapped in arrangements that venture from straight forward heavy metal to something more progressive. Udoroth fits the former with some direct power metal, Elijah the latter, something different.
You can't escape the creativity of that song; call it some experimentation if you will. At first pass, the composition seems all over the place, piano, heaviness, switches in tempo, like ASoT said, 'We've got the shit. Now let's mess with these dudes. They're gonna crap themselves trying to figure this one out.' Pair it with the preceding, and lighter, The Boy Who Could Fly, noting some lyrical similarities, and you have a lengthy epic to challenge you. Both songs also demonstrate the continuing depth of Nina Osegueda's voice.
Alternatively, Master of Pain and Blood From the Mummy's Tomb, which follow, put the 'thunder' into their metal. Master of Pain could be accused of being nearly lumbering, like a golem, in its heaviness. It's Godzilla walking through your downtown making sure to crush both the petunias and Humvees along the way. It's true heavy metal. The other song begins steady and thumping, only to hit the accelerator, with Schwartz going bonkers on his guitar in the end. Considering just two more songs. ASoT's metal is slightly tempered with One Empty Grave, a steady yet still heavy number with sharp riffs and a piercing solo. The finale, House of Bones, may run along the same lines as the aforementioned Elijah, heavy metal with some technical notes. Piano returns once more, at the start, only to be joined by a fusion like bass line and smart guitar licks, before Osegueda's voice rings in. This basically continues until around the six minute mark, where Chris Haren's drums, along with the bass, turns the song into this groove machine. And more guitar wizardry follows. And then I'm wondering, if this was arranged differently, it could be a blues number, even metal blues. I'm guessing A Sound of Thunder could pull that off.
Some conclusion, then? I found The Lesser Key of Solomon to be a strong, creative, entertaining, and even a bit challenging album of classic American metal. One thing's for certain, it shows a band attentive to their craft, and not wishing to stand still. And that's a good thing. Quite recommended.
Some conclusion, then? I found The Lesser Key of Solomon to be a strong, creative, entertaining, and even a bit challenging album of classic American metal.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]