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A Sound Of Thunder - "Time's Arrow" (CD)

A Sound Of Thunder - "Time's Arrow" CD cover image

"Time's Arrow" track listing:

1. Power Play
2. Time's Arrow
3. I Will Not Break
4. Broken Bridge
5. Queen of Hell
6. Let's Start a Fire
7. I'll Walk With You
8. My Disease (featuring Blaze Bayley)
9. End of the Road
10. Wastelands
11. Reign of the Hawklords

Reviewed by on May 28, 2013

"A Sound of Thunder takes the purity of stripped down rock and metal, combining it into a lethal sound filled with all the things that seem to be missing in modern days: interesting songwriting, educated lyrics, and stunning solos."

Basic rock, basic metal, basic hooks, basic melody… are you being set up for a boring ride through the same day, eating the same cereal, driving to work using the same route, getting to the same repetitive job with same bitchy boss? Think again. Take that basic rock and basic metal and add the power punch of one of metal’s rising vocalists and some of the scenes finest solos (you remember those, right?) for A Sound of Thunder’s return with the band's third full-length “Time’s Arrow.”

You'd think I get bored bringing up the same topics…review after review…about “less is more.” I can feel eyes rolling at the thought of yet another story telling session from grandpa about the old days when “the dam began to burst” and we used to read our magazines “from the back to the front” while we “listened to the radio every Friday night” and queued for our “ticket through the ice and snow.” Same old story aside, fact remains that D.C. area band A Sound of Thunder takes the purity of stripped down rock and metal, combining it into a lethal sound filled with all the things that seem to be missing in modern days: interesting songwriting, educated lyrics, and stunning solos.

The “Queen of Hell” EP, released earlier this year (see review), was merely the precursor… the appetizer if you will. The band that floored me in 2012 with “Out of the Darkness” (see review) now ups the ante by getting dramatically better in so many facets of the music. I am pretty sure the songs that will likely catch the ear of the public will most likely be “Power Play,” “My Disease” (featuring a duet with vocalist Nina Osegueda and Ex-Maiden vocalist, and the man “most likely to be a guest vocalist besides Michael Kiske,” Blaze Bayley) and “I Will Not Break,” all of which have currently been released as full song streams over the last couple of months. Suffice to say, as great as those tracks are, I’d like to concentrate on ones not likely to get as much attention:

“I’ll Walk With You” – the song least likely to be the next smash hit (according to the band) is by far my favorite of the album. The combination of brilliant melody, perfect vocal execution with tongue in cheek lyrics inspired by The Walking Dead makes it one of those songs that is the hallmark of a band’s career.

“Broken Bridge” – a subtle acoustic guitar intro quickly cascades into one of the heaviest riffs of the album intertwined with guitarist Josh Schwartz’s now trademark harmony hook. I cannot stress how great it is to hear well played and interesting solos.

“Wastelands” – a driving number with an amazing bluesy breakdown about three minutes in, as the band expertly deploys the “power of the Schwartz!”

“Reign of the Hawklords” – an eclectic trippy upbeat track that captures the essence of Hawklord but still makes it sound current and fresh.

If you find yourself lost in a sea with operatic symphonic female fronted bands and prefer to hear more real stripped down rock and metal with a female that slices the air with a bold and powerful voice – one filled with an overpowering “take no shit” attitude - then look up as a A Sound of Thunder is heard. Your reward is an album that unifies old and new, ratchets up the intrigue and is wrapped up in a tightly produced bow. Now go and discover what you’ve been missing.

Highs: High value songwriting executed to perfection with amazing solos.

Lows: The eclectic combination might be too much for the uneducated.

Bottom line: Drawing blood from old and new, "Time's Arrow" strikes with passion and "Power Play."

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)