A Sound Of Thunder – The Lesser Key Of Solomon
Reviewed by Kylie McInnes
Well, well, well, if it isn’t A Sound Of Thunder’s highly anticipated follow-up to last year’s Time’s Arrow. If you recall from my review of that album, my main gripe was that there was too much emphasis on extended compositions and not enough Nina Osegueda. There’s a bit of an improvement here, as far as making the longer instrumental parts more energetic (thus matching the still-astounding vocal prowess of the female Dio, rather than making me yearn for vocals rather than riffs), but there are still three songs that top the 8 minute mark (and two more over 6), which I find problematic.
After a brief intro track, “Udoroth” leaps out of the speakers straight for your ears’ jugular (it works, right?). Imagine Tony Iommi writing Judas Priest riffs for a 70s Sabbath track, and that about sums up my thoughts (which is a majorly good thing). “Fortuneteller” has another cool riff set, but is a bit of a letdown from the previous track. “The Boy Who Could Fly” is a fairly forgettable quasi-ballad that doesn’t really “click,” especially considering how memorable the following track is.
“Elijah” follows with an interesting take on making a horror movie idea into a creepy-as-hell metal track. Nina’s vocals for the part of the mother alone make this worth a listen. I’m still trying to piece together the story, but it sounds like half Carrie, half Hide And Seek (so, imaginary friends and psycho moms), and all awesome. The riffing in the mid-section is phenomenal. “Master Of Pain” has a bit too much Pantera-style riffing for my tastes, and is another piece of forgettable filler. “Blood From From The Mummy’s Tomb” is one of my favorites however, featuring a cool groove riff alternating with speedy guitar work that works very well together.
Moving on, “Black Secrets” is another forgettable number, but “One Empty Grave” and “House Of Bones” close the album out in spectacular fashion. “One Empty Grave” is the one slower song on the album that just “works”, and the Sabbathian basswork in “House Of Bones” makes it one of the must-hear tracks. Individual performances are great all across the board, although Nina’s vocals are the main reason that I listen to this band (the fury of the voice compels me…). The sound is crisp and clear with great production, and there’s no real downside to the studio work.
So we have another mixed bag from A Sound Of Thunder: there are some direct strikes and a few that miss their mark. It’s a slight improvement from last year’s effort (especially with how badass “Udoroth” is). It’s certainly worth a spin, but sadly, this is the sort of album that skip buttons were invented for. This could probably be a great 50 minute album, but it’s merely an above-average hour-long affair.
3.25 // 5