Time’s Arrow is A Sound of Thunder’s third full-length album, following hot on the heels of 2012’s acclaimed Out of the Darkness (Nightmare Records) and 2013’s Queen of Hell EP. Entering Assembly Line Studios in May 2012 with producer Kevin ‘131’ Gutierrez (Shinedown, While Heaven Wept). The album is the perfect blend of traditional metal with power metal and progressive touches. The production is top notch and the songwriting is stronger than ever.
The lead off track Power Play starts the album off with a metal nod to old school Iron Maiden from the bass line from bassist Jesse Keen to guitarist Josh Schwartz guitar riff. A great start to the album! The title track Times Arrow is an anthemic epic with a powerful chorus. When Nina Osegueda reaches for the stratosphere on the last chorus I had chills run down my spine.The guitar rhythm for I Will Not Break is reminiscent of Anthrax’s Hi Pro Glow, this is a headbanging metal rocker with another strong chorus and vocal melody.
Broken Bridge is heavy and melodic with some excellent harmony guitar leads and Osegueda’s powerful and melodic pipes accented with a great harmony vocal line during the chorus
I already had a sample of the kickass Queen of Hell on the Ep and it is still a killer metal tune with Osegueda’s Halford meets Dickinson metal screams From the depths of Hades. I want to send this track to Manowar bassist Joey Demaio with a note that says “you wish!”
Lets Start a Fire is a shorter punchy mainstream metal song with with a catchy chorus and Nina’s vocal performance is definitely on fire here. Lead guitarist Josh sets the fretboard a blaze with a shredding solo.
Want a love song set in a Zombie Apocalypse? Then I’ll Walk With You is the song for you! Inspired by The Walking Dead series, the song slows things down with a clean guitar and Nina’s hauntingly beautiful vocals taking center stage. To call this a “power ballad” would be a disservice to the song. There are quiet moments that inspire beauty and heavy sections that build into a crescendo before returning back to the clean and acoustic guitar section and a killer guitar solo from Schwartz.
My Disease features former Wolfsbane/Iron Maiden vocalist Blaze Bayley performing a great heavy metal duet with Nina. While he is not one of my favorite singers, Bayley’s vocal performance is strong (better than anything recorded with Maiden for sure!) and effective and the two vocalists styles blend well together. The middle section of the song has an eerie early Sabbath vibe with Bailey’s ominous sounding vocal tone. The song kicks back into high gear with a pounding drum beat and blistering guitar lead and ends with a double bass drum flourish from drummer Chris Haren.
End of the Road is a mid tempo fun bluesy heavy rocker with Nina getting her blues on and shows off her considerable vocal range and versatility. The breakdown has a great jam and the pace quickens as the song takes on a harder edge. Josh’s bluesy guitar solos show his chops as well.
Wastelands has a great 80’s metal opening riff that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Dokken or Loudness album from that era but sounds fresh and current and not dated at all.
The albums final track Reign of the Hawklords ( a tribute to the legendary band Hawkwind) is a heavy rocker with a lot of progressive elements to create the most unique moment on the album. The harmony vocals remind me of The Bangles cover of the Simon & Garfunkel‘s Hazy Shade of Winter. I’ll be willing to bet no other review of Time’s Arrow made that comparison!!
I know it sounds strange, but it is meant as a compliment! With Time’s Arrow, A Sound of Thunder has created another melodic opus that tops their previous album Out of the Darkness. Widely regarded in the metal underground, yet unknown to the mainstream masses, this band is a shining example of U.S. traditional/power metal at its best!