A Sound of Thunder
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A Sound of Thunder

Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States | SELF

Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States | SELF
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“Time’s Arrow” marks the third studio album for Washington D.C. based metal quartet, A Sound of Thunder. Many bands seem to find their groove with the third record and that may be true for ASOT, though the songwriting for the album began before the group’s 2012 effort, “Out of the Darkness” even hit the market. They’re kind of prolific like that. In fact, they have already completed songs for album number four and “Time’s Arrow” doesn’t even see release until June 4, on the band’s own Mad Neptune Records.

A Sound of Thunder shopped the record to numerous labels, most of which were very receptive, but the feedback was similar from all: “Your sound covers too many styles, it needs to fit into a box we can package and promote.” For guitarist Josh Schwartz, vocalist Nina Osegueda, drummer Chris Haren and bassist, Jesse Keen, boxes are too confined to hold A Sound of Thunder.

A Sound of Thunder’s sonic signature is an amalgamation of various metal genres. It encompasses the likes of proto-metal, traditional metal, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and even power metal. Ultimately though, A Sound of Thunder is simply a metal band, and the product of generations of influences colliding to birth a brilliant new child. One can readily hear the influences of bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple, but there are so many more flowing deeply beneath the current, including Hawkwind, who we’ll get to later.

“Time’s Arrow” clocks in at just over an hour, with 11 songs. It was preceeded this spring by the taster EP “Queen of Hell” which featured a special version of the song “Queen of Hell” with Benedictum vocalist Veronica Freeman joining Osegueda. There was also a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Trashed”, and the tongue in cheek, “Hello Nurse”. The EP acts as a nice table-setter for the album, and is a most own in its own right.

The album opens up with “Powerplay”, a track that really pulls in the classic NWOBHM feel with Josh’s crisp guitar work. This is a great rhythmic and driving song, with shouted background vocals on the chorus. The bass and drum breakdown before Schwartz’s melodic and fitting guitar solo adds just the right touch. New listeners get an immediate blast of Osegueda’s immense vocal prowess. She is among the new wave female fronting metal vocalists who eschew the typical symphonic, Gothic, and metalcore tags. She is Bruce Dickinson with an X chromosome.

The title track began its musical journey five years ago as a seedling in Schwartz’s brainpan, and it came to fruition as the underpinning of a short story by Haren. The song is an epic beast clocking in at almost 10 minutes. “Time’s Arrow” marks the centerpiece of the album despite being the second song in. It is packed with mammoth melodies, a hooky chorus, stellar individual performances, an intriguing lyrical theme, and huge vocals. Then there are the subtle nuances throughout. In short, it hits just the right note at every turn.

This week the band released the first lyric video from “Time’s Arrow” for the track, “I Will Not Break”. This might be the only song on the album short enough to fit a radio friendly format, but A Sound of Thunder doesn’t write music to fit inside a box. Bassist Jesse Keen kicks off the song which has an overall dark Arabian foundation to its sound. Lyrically, it’s a song about self-reliance, self-empowerment, and being your own person at all costs. Anyone feeling bullied should herald this one as a personal anthem. Offered Schwartz, who is the band’s primary songwriter:

“Jesse actually wrote the middle section of “I Will Not Break”, I think with something very heavy and aggressive in mind, and I went and made it all trippy by adding the keys and backwards guitar solo.”

“Broken Bridge” opens with a slow acoustic intro, then drops into a very modern stuttering riff followed by spiraling dual guitar that recalls classic Queensrÿche. The song bursts with flowing melody. Osegueda doubles her vocal line giving two stunning perspectives that culminate in one infectious harmony. Schwartz lays down some inspired work here as well before he closes it out with a haunting piano and keyboard outro.

As I wrote in my review of the EP, “Queen of Hell”, begins with a dramatic build of chanting “hail, Queen of hell!” The guitars then set the pace before the Queen herself, Osegueda lays down a spine-gripping, throat-ripping howl. Keen and Haren keep the rhythmic propulsion driving the song forward while Schwartz’s guitars do battle with the mammoth voice of Oseguada. Old school Judas Priest meets Gamma Ray, classic Black Sabbath meets Hammerfall: Traditional meets power metal. The fact that Osegueda’s voice alone crashes down like a sound of thunder; one massive sonic tornado and 1000 unleashed hell hounds, only adds to the glory of the beast.

Nina gives us her best ethereal vocal line on the haunting quasi-ballad, “I’ll Walk With You”. It doesn’t remain at a slow tempo for the duration, but - Examiner


A Sound of Thunder has become one of my favorite metal bands over the past year or two. Based out of the Washington D.C. area, the band is comprised of Nina Osegueda (vocals), Justin Schwartz (guitar), Chris Haren (drums), and Jesse Keen (bass). 2012’s Out of the Darkness is a tough act to follow and the EP Queen of Hell that was released at the beginning of this year built up a lot of hype for me about their next full-length release. My expectations were high and I waited with earnest anticipation for their next album. I am pleased to announce that Time’s Arrow has not only lived up to the hype, but it has also surpassed their previous work in terms of excellence and execution.

Time’s Arrow is A Sound of Thunder’s masterpiece. It is an energetic, supercharged metal extravaganza from start to finish. These eleven catchy and scorching songs show A Sound of Thunder at the top of their game and make for one incredible ride. “Power Play” sets things on fire right out of the gates with some blazing guitar action. This song is the epitome of the unrelenting nature of this album. It is as catchy as it is fierce, and is the type of song that will get you pumped up for anything. If you like this song, then you will love the rest of the album. The spine tingling “Time’s Arrow” is epic in scope. It remains fresh and invigorating throughout its almost ten minute run-time. It is always a good sign when the length of a long song is not noticed, as it is not repetitive or ever feels tedious. And listening to Nina belt out the chorus might just give you goose bumps.

With a sweet opening baseline, “I Will Not Break” is a gritty and powerful rock anthem. It will make you feel like you can conquer anything. The sober opening of “Broken Bridge” is deceptive, as it gives to some crushing metal music. The only song from the EP to make it on this album, “Queen of Hell” is an infectious song that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It is hard not to be enchanted by this anthem and is the perfect song for live shows. It is absolutely diabolical and you will love every second of it. Next is an a heavy metal ode to pyromania, “Let’s Start a Fire” and “I’ll Walk With You” is an emotional song that puts Nina’s voice on full display. Featuring Blaze Bayley of Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden fame, the duet of “My Disease” is a brutal and twisted song that really stands out. “Wastelands” is a vibrant ride through an apocalyptic landscape. The spacey “Reign of the Hawklords” is a weird and wonderful way to cap of this amazing album.

Time’s Arrow is their best album to date. With its blazing guitars, booming drums, and a voice that can soar above practically anything, A Sound of Thunder is just phenomenal at what they do. They are true masters of metal. I cannot wait for their next album because it will be exciting to see what they do next. The stars are the limit for A Sound of Thunder.
- Muzik Reviews


Ok fans of A Sound of Thunder (ASOT). As you know here at TMT we are big fans of this band and we have promoted them many times. However, after I did a review of the previous EP Queen Of Hell, the band seemed a bit irritated, especially when it came to the song Hello Nurse. To this day I keep asking myself, "why did they record this?"

The band did send me an advanced copy of the CD but instead of TMT doing a review, I am providing the review that our friends over at Focus on Metal did.

Click on the link here: Focus on Metal - Times Arrow review and it will take you to their site.

Here is their complete review. I hope there are no issues with me re-posting it.

Time's Arrow is the latest release from A Sound of Thunder. Their last, 2012's Out of The Darkness was completely brilliant and I couldn't imagine being able to follow it up. The incredible progression in just three albums is amazing. This is a band that has been able to mix old school sensibilities with some of the newer sonics to create a sound that is so damn approachable.

One of those old school sensibilities is sequencing an album. They don't write filler so they spend time figuring out how to sequence the songs. Even more so on this release since you can also get it on vinyl.

Another bit of old school is their attention to the artwork. Check out the cover art above. They have labored over every detail of the regular CD and the box set. Essentially they take all this on themselves. There's not some huge staff behind them.

Let's go through the tracks:
Power Play - This is clearly the grab you by the nut sack opening track. Remember the first time you heard Steve Harris's bass? Power Play opens with this killer bass line from Jesse Keen that will take you back to that feeling. A few bars in and Josh Schwartz opens up with a killer dual guitar harmony. It's clear these guys have come to rip. Chris Haren keeps a nice tidy drum part behind it all just gluing it all together. At the 23 second mark they just shift gears and take it to a whole other level. It not until the 41 second mark that the mighty vocals of Nina Osegueda enter the picture. 41 seconds in and I'm already glued to the speakers. Once Nina hits it's all done. She has one of the best set of pipes in metal today and this release is a veritable showcase for her talents.
In this case her vocals hits strong and clean with just a touch of that raspiness she can inject at will. Adding to that is some great gang vocals when needed. Again some old school sensibilities in that regard. This track is so damn good. Great lyrics. Tasty solo. Hooks that will infect your brain and we are only one track in.

Time's Arrow- The title track as track two. A long time tradition carried on by ASOT. Okay my first impression was F*%K it's almost ten minutes long. Long time listeners know I have an issue with long songs. Personal bias, I know but that just how I'm wired. Alright let's dive in on this one.
So there's about two minutes of instrumental lead in. It's massive sounding and very well orchestrated. As I'm listening to it I'm just staring at the cover art trying to put the music with the artwork. Once the vocals kick in the first thing I notice is how tight the guitar melody and the vocal melody are. It really draws you in. There was also something else there. It took a bit but at almost 10 freaking minutes I had time to figure it out. There's almost this seventies vibe to the overall feel to this one. That's not a bad thing it just the vibe I got. All totaled even at ten minutes this is a great track. The amount of work that had to have gone into recording this song had to be huge. There's a lot going on and in true ASOT from the mix lets everything have it's moment to shine. It may not be my go to song on this one but I have a shit ton of respect for what they did on it.

I Will Not Break - A smoldering churning chunk of metal. Think of the tempo of Priest' Grinder. That's where this one sits. THe lyrics on this one are classic no B.S. from Nina. The choice line "I won't be silent but I might be violent". The guitar tone on the fills on is this just killer. Clean and searing. You can't ignore it. That's followed up by a solo with this cool middle eastern vibe in this nice copping of George Lynch's style. This whole track just says POWER in a very forceful way. The real secret on this one is the infectious lines that the rhythm section puts down in the background.

Broken Bridge - This one starts of slow and just lulls you into thinking that you are getting a bit of a respite. NOPE!! About 30 seconds in it kicks into a nice mid tempo rocker. I say this as a compliment, I can just hear Ronnie James Dio doing this song. With that in mind it just made Nina's vocals that much cooler. I don't know how Josh gets that thick massive guitar ton - The Thrash Metal Times




Ever since I got to review Out of the Darkness by A Sound of Thunder and conducted an interview with the band, I have been a fan and actually stayed in touch, at least once in a while. So if some will accuse me for shamelessly plugging the band’s subsequent efforts, Queen of Hell EP and now new full-length Time’s Arrow, I guess the accusation is well founded, but the product is full worth it. If I could characterize how I feel about A Sound of Thunder in one sentence, the band is not reinventing the wheel playing classic heavy metal style, but in the process they create a diverse collection of refreshingly good songs and that warms my heart. I am glad to report hereby that Time’s Arrow is no exception.

With over an hour of music, compositions long and short, I anticipate different people liking different songs on Time’s Arrow. It is probably a testament of the individual cuts not only standing strong on their own but the overall album flow, however, that I tend to stick longer with Time’s Arrow as a whole than I did with Out of the Darkness (whenever that album is popped in the fingers dial Calat Alhambra first, before getting on with the rest of it). One of the reasons for that, I think, Time’s Arrow is more diverse. At the same time the album presents a pair of straightforward table setting rolling-down-the-street biker rockers, Power Play and Let’s Start the Fire, it has more sprawling, epic and soaring pieces like previously praised Queen of Hell and the closer Reign of the Hawklords. A Sound of Thunder has an innate ability to combine mystery with powerful romp. The title track is a prime example, where mid-song atmospherics are sandwiched between rejuvenated Iced Earth gallop and obligatory hooky chorus. Wastelands blends another catchy melody with somewhat progressive elements. End of the Road starts out in a ripping bluesy fashion, proceeds with guitars reminding me of Seventh Star era Black Sabbath only to close with a powerful finish (the band are big fans so they won't mind the comparison). I Will Not Break is rebellious stumping anthem proclamation, which I think will go over very well live, despite its somewhat quirky rhythm. Even the album’s ballad I’ll Walk With You is non-linear, the story of what I think is modern Bonnie and Clyde, oscillating between tender acoustics and emotional lament. With a set of songs like this, it is possible the songs won’t have universal appeal, but the quality presented will demand universal respect.

I am not a musician myself, but it feels to me the band progressed further from Out of the Darkness. The guitars on A Sound of Thunder have always been quality, but now they are meticulous, the drums are powerful, yet I especially wanted to emphasize the new-found active bass. Tracks like Power Play, I Will Not Break, My Disease and End of the Road demonstrate this fact particularly well. Nina Osegueda still helms the vocals, and classic metal fans won’t be able to deny themselves the pleasure of comparing her high clean voice to the legendary Doro. Nina attempts to stretch herself further than before, taking some very high notes on Queen of Hell, but at the same time I am glad she can sing with power and in lower register when the song calls for it (Broken Bridge). Even though I would prefer even more power in that region of Nina’s voice, I have to say that in her duet with Blaze Bailey on My Disease she totally outshines her famous partner. He sounds a little tired, so Nina stands head and shoulders above Blaze.

Time’s Arrow is another solid piece to A Sound of Thunder discography and another validation in my book why my original instincts hearing Out of the Darkness were right.
- Metal Reviews


Melodic heavy metal with a giant dose of classic metal and hard rock? Sounds like fun! And fun it is. Time's Arrow is non-stop, but so full of subtle differences that it never wears you down.

This album has some of the best replay value I've heard all year. On the first listen you thoroughly enjoy this lively, powerful record. On the second listen (which will likely happen mere seconds later), you already recognize many of the tunes like old friends. It's fun and seemingly straightforward, yet on the 10th or 15th listen you're still discovering new depths in these songs. Instantly memorable, yet with possibilities for long-term exploration and enjoyment.

The subtle differences are really what set this apart. The end result is an album that may seem full of similar songs, or seem to be sticking to one style, but is strangely compelling at the same time. If you put some thought into your listening, you'll notice a vast range of approaches to their classic metal style.

You won't notice from listening but the songs are quite long for being a "fun" heavy metal album. Many are upwards of 6 minutes, but the second track/title track is 9:50. I was very surprised to realize this after having spun the album perhaps 6 times already. If you'd asked me to guess the song lengths without looking, I would have said they were probably 3-4 minute songs. Time really does fly on Time's Arrow, which is due to the ridiculously strong songwriting as well as the musicians' solid performances.

The vocals here are so amazing you'll probably find yourself with an air microphone whether or not you've ever sung a note in your life. Nina Osegueda represents a range of styles, notes, and emotion rarely matched in heavy metal. Basically: Bruce Dickinson, eat your heart out.

Glorious guitar solos and leads decorate each tune, while the rhythm section in many ways creates the true mood with their decisive energy level. Classic melodic metal with energy to spare.

The opening track, "Power Play," could easily have been the lead off single, as could about half the songs on here. The band's ability to create rocking yet individual tunes is so, so evident. The chosen single for EP release was "Queen Of Hell" and it was a worthy choice. (The Queen Of Hell EP includes a version of the song with Benedictum's Veronica Freeman on guest vocals, in duet with Nina.)

Another song worth mentioning is the ballad "I'll Walk With You." This further shows off the band's creativity in lyric-writing and range of abilities with emotion and musical style. It's a love story… set during the zombie apocalypse. It's thoughtfully written and quite fascinating; could have easily been a chapter in World War Z.

A Sound Of Thunder really stakes their claim with this record. If you hadn't heard of them before (I hadn't!) then join me in taking a collective moment to scratch our heads and wonder why the hell that is, then move on with falling in love with this record. Definitely a contender for a Best Of 2013 list. - Metal Storm


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." - Metal Underground


A Sound of Thunder is a band that has been around for some time but never really got the recognition they deserved. In fact, they even had to go to Kickstarter to raise $8,000 for their new album. If you look on the album, you will find the name of everyone who contributed money to make this album a reality. Of course, an album isn't just made or broken by fans that believe in the band or a righteous album cover, it all boils down to what's in the music, whether it's worth a glowing or a rotten review.

The energy level of this album is beyond comprehension. It ranges from mid-tempo with "End of the Road" to fervent and powerful with "I Will Not Break". This shows a diversity for the band and its members. Anyone can chug out 40 ear-bleeding rapid songs one after the other, or 40 slow songs that drag on for 10 minutes a piece. One of the talents of this band is their ability to keep you guessing.

Nina sings like a female version of Bruce Dickinson and Josh's guitar playing is sophisticated yet fascinating, one song he's taking it easy the next he's blistering out a furious tone that leaves you doing a double-take and saying "Wait a minute, WHAT am I listening to?" Jesse's bass and Chris's drum roles do exactly what they are supposed to do; support the music and add the sound that makes this band able to stand out from many others. In spite of their variance in playing ability, make no mistake about it, this band is pure heavy metal, the way most metalheads of the '70s and early '80s remember metal as being.

The operative word if you compared this album to earlier works like Metal Renaissance is polish. This band has done a lot to improve their sound since 2011. It shows in songs like "Power Play" and "I'll Walk With You". Both of these songs have crisp chords and emotional melodies, almost like you can feel the passion from the entire band saying "We have one chance to do this right, so let's kick this one's ass!"

Clocking in at about 64 1/2 minutes, these tracks are ones that you will find yourself enjoying and while most of the songs are shorter than that on Out of the Darkness, (with only the eponymous song exceeding 7 minutes in length), the plurality of these songs are still quite epic. The duet with Blaze Bayley on "My Disease" is well done, although sometimes I felt that Nina's singing outdid that of Blaze, he still managed to hold his own, and this is coming from a person who worried that Bayley had made Iron Maiden unlistenable.

In conclusion, Time's Arrow is a fantastic album full of something for everyone. If you like metal done in the '70s or '80s, fast and furious songs or slower and more relaxing music, this album will have at least one song you will like. Give it a listen, it will be worth your time. Maybe the album cover is an indicator after all, with all the energy exuded from it as a sign of what you'll hear when you play it. :) - Metal Archives


Discography

Time's Arrow (2013) [ALBUM]
Queen of Hell (2013) [EP]
Out of the Darkness (2012) [ALBUM]
Metal Renaissance (2011) [ALBUM]
A Sound of Thunder (2010) [EP]

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Bio

A Sound of Thunder is a Washington DC based, female fronted heavy metal band. Their four piece band consists of Josh Schwartz on guitar, Nina Osegueda on vocals, Jesse Keen on bass, and Chris Haren on drums. A Sound of Thunder conquers metal realms ranging from '70s blues-based proto-metal a la Black Sabbath and early Judas Priest, to triumphant modern power metal a la Hammerfall and Primal Fear. Soaring vocals, incendiary instrumentals, and classic songs combine to form an unrelenting, unapologetic slab of metal to stand the test of time.