It is rare to find a metal band in this era that can bring freshness to the classic heavy metal genre. A band that can tap into the likes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate, and infuse them with a modern approach and style: Once such band is A Sound of Thunder. The quartet, which hails from the Washington D.C. area, has set a prolific pace for releasing albums not seen since the early days of the genre.
The group was founded in 2008 by guitarist and composer Josh Schwartz, along with drummer Chris Haren. Soon after, powerhouse vocalist Nina Osegueda joined the fray, and her vocal prowess, often compared to a female version of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio, proved to be the perfect balance to Schwartz’s intelligent songwriting. Bassist and keyboardist Jesse Keen became the missing piece when he took over bass duties during the recording of the band’s 2011 debut album, Metal Renaissance.
A Sound of Thunder would evolve for its sophomore effort, Out of the Darkness in 2012 which featured the tongue-in-cheek fan favorite, “Kill That Bitch” and a cameo from Raven frontman, John Gallagher. They pushed their sound even farther on 2013’s Queen of Hell EP and Time’s Arrow album, the latter of which featured a duet with former Iron Maiden vocalist, Blaze Bayley. The band has built a passionate and devoted fan-base who has helped them exceed back-to-back crowd-funding campaigns through Kickstarter.
The group’s most recent album, The Lesser Key of Solomon finds A Sound of Thunder moving through darker territory yet still maintaining its melodic core and recognizable signature. Yet even as the new record awaits its September 9th release, the band is already putting finishing touches on its fifth studio effort, as yet untitled, which Schwartz tells Metalholic will be released in early 2015. A Sound of Thunder is also preparing to record a full covers album as a reward to fans who contributed so greatly to their recent Kickstarter campaign.
Schwartz talked about the new twists and turns on The Lesser Key of Solomon:
“We were a little nervous cause we definitely stretched out a little bit on this album. We experimented and tried some things that were a little outside of our comfort zone. We’re very pleased that everybody seems to like it.”
Over the course of the bands four albums A Sound of Thunder has encountered critics who have a difficult time assigning a label to the band as they do not fit any particular sub-genre of metal. They are simply “heavy metal”. Josh talked about how that has impacted the band:
“That’s a big deal. It’s been a big hurdle for us, but none of us in the band are really listening to one specific sub-genre of metal. Nor do we really care about specific sub-genres. While I like some power metal bands and doom metal bands, to me it’s all just metal and hard rock. And furthermore, my favorite bands are ones that predate the sub-genres anyway. I’m the kind of dude that would like to go back and see Black Sabbath and Yes at the same concert.”
Schwartz also talked about the band’s blistering writing and recording schedule:
“Part of it is because we haven’t been on any big tours. We’re not touring as much as some other bands so we have the time, but the other part of it is that the four of us are really close friends. We get together twice a week, every week, and we’ve been in the habit for the entire existence of this band of just jamming every time we get together. More often than not, every time we jam it creates at least part of a song.”
The band recently created a fully animated video for the new song “Udoroth” from The Lesser Key of Solomon. Udoroth plays the antagonist in the storyline, which goes far beyond the song, and Schwartz shared that the title character was named after legendary German metal vocalist Udo Dirkschneider (Accept, U.D.O.). He hopes to continue the story someday and would ultimately like to have Dirkschneider voice his namesake character.
Whether one is a fan of traditional heavy metal with a modern approach or female fronted metal, A Sound of Thunder is one of those fantastic under-the-radar gems that savvy rock fans love to discover. Now is your chance.