It Was Metal is a heavy as fuck album, in plenty of ways. And it might just be the best one so far by DC quartet A Sound Of Thunder. It is their seventh full length album in seven years (!), having released their unpolished debut Metal Renaissance in 2011 and hitting a high point in The Lesser Key Of Solomon in 2014. The last offering was a cover album, preceded by fairly generic Tales From The Deadside (2016). Now they seem to have hit their stride as It Was Metal hits most notes right, dealing furious guitar battling, rollicking riffage and flying solos with pinpoint accuracy and lots of cheesy fun along the way. One point where A Sound Of Thunder have always stood out is their storytelling. Every song is a story in its own right, be it based on comic books, occult myth or historic figures, and the lyrics portray the stories with depth, vocalist Nina Osegueda’s range and passion giving it the mood befitting the tone of the music.
Opening track Phantom Flight is a densely heavy duet between Osegueda and Accept frontman Mark Tornillo. a highlight on the album with its frantic rhythm play and the perfect match of the vocalists. Osegueda’s shrieks, closer in resemblance to older legends like Doro Pesch than her contemporary likes who would rather take their power metal in more symphonic routes, do well with the grittier, old school heavy style closer to that of Doro, Manowar, and the early heavy power outings of the 1980’s. Basically the only problem It Was Metal has is that it’s got a couple of filler songs, as well as putting the songs in the wrong order. The obvious way to start would be The Crossroads Deal, which in itself works as an intro to the title track, setting the old blues vibe perfectly for sealing the deal with the Devil to create heavy metal. You’ve got the larger than life epic stylistics of closer Fortress Of The Future Race and the electrifying riffage adding a touch of venom to Atlacatl and title track It Was Metal.
Josh Schwartz doesn’t sit idle as each track takes him in new directions, while still letting him play around and have obvious fun as he delivers solo after potent solo. Bass player and keyboardist Jesse Keen adds the deep, rumbling drive with in the first part, and sets the theme and the background atmosphere with the low key keyboard presence. Unfortunately a couple of low points are around; you have Second Lives, which is fairly stagnant, and the overlong Obsidian & Gold (Desdinova Returns), and Lifebringer could have been cut a minute or two. But nothing stands out as much as Tomyris. This is where the storytelling comes to a peak; dealing with the ancient Persian queen and major badass of the same name, where Osegueda portrays the role with conviction and coolness. The epic setting and the flowing drama sits well as the melodic metal that should sit well with any fan of traditional metal. A Sound Of Thunder deliver their potent declaration of love for old school heavy metal with ingenuity and precision, and it definitely is metal - heavy metal.
Standout tracks: Phantom Flight, Els Segadors (The Reapers), Tomyris