Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I just love it when I stumble upon a new group that I haven’t heard of before and they totally blow me away. The D.C. based metal band A Sound of Thunder did just that when I listened to the opening track on their new album Out of the Darkness. One song, that’s all it took for me to know that I was listening to something special.
The band consists of Jesse Keen on bass, Chris Haren on drums, John Schwartz on guitar and Nina Osegueda on vocals. I know, I know, you’re probably saying ‘Oh great, another female fronted metal band’, but this is different and so is Nina. The band has a sound that is familiar, but at the same time is a breath of fresh air. They combine killer riffs and pounding drums with catchy hooks and a vocal delivery that is out of this world.
The album opens with “The Day I Die” and you can immediately tell that this band was influenced by Black Sabbath. The guitar riff at the beginning of the song is very Sabbathesque with its dark and brooding feel. Then, Nina’s vocals kick in and you are totally floored. The sheer power and conviction of her voice commands your attention. The song has an awesome breakdown at the 5 minute mark where it really gets that early Sabbath vibe going. The song clocks in at over eight minutes in length, but it flows so smoothly that it never seems to get boring.
“The Nightwitch” has a cool little intro that sounds like something out of a Freddie Krueger movie. Nina’s vocal delivery is soft and gentle and you think you are in for a ballad. Then, guitarist Josh Schwartz shows up and kicks the door down with a hot riff and totally changes the landscape of the song. Josh really shines on this track throughout with some solid fretwork along with a smoking hot solo thrown in for good measure.
“Kill That Bitch” is, as twisted as this may sound, a fun little song that showcases a more playful side to the band. The plot is pretty simple: you’re with a girl and another girl wants you and for that to happen you just need to ‘kill that bitch for her’. The lyrics are tongue in cheek and not meant to be taken seriously…..I think. I couldn’t help but hear shades of Lzzy Hale from Halestorm in this song.
“Out of the Darkness” features a guest appearance by Raven vocalist/bassist John Gallagher. This song definitely screams old school metal reminiscent of the mighty Iron Maiden. The song kicks ass from the killer riff to kick it off to Nina’s powerful last note to end it. “Calat Alhambra” starts off with a nice piano intro and then shifts gears and the band flat out rock on this one. Again, it’s a throwback to the sound of Iron Maiden that would even have Mr. Dickinson throwing up his horns in approval.
“This Too Shall Pass” is a beautiful ballad that shows off the softer side of the band of vocalist Nina Osegueda. Her delivery brings out the raw emotion and feelings in the lyrics. The addition of a string section is a major bonus to the song and adds a wonderful layer to this already amazing song. It also shows the depth and versatility that this band has to offer.
I think this album is solid from beginning to end. Josh Schwartz is a beast on the guitar and displays some very interesting and unique riffs throughout the album. The rhythm section of Chris Haren on drums and Jesse Keen on bass is as tight and solid as any other unit in music today. Then there’s vocalist Nina Osegueda. This woman has so many guns in her arsenal. She embodies power, passion, sensitivity and aggression that a lot of singers would kill for. If Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson had a love child, then she would definitely be it! Do yourself a favor and check this album out before the band blows up big. You need to jump on this bandwagon because it’s going to fill up quick!
High school is generally a time to party and hang out with friends. It’s a time of enjoying the carefree lifestyle of being young and living for the moment. For Matthew Hasting, it was a time of self discovery and finding his inner voice. That’s when he put together his Christian metal core band MyChildren MyBride and started looking towards the future.
The band worked hard, toured and tried to find the right mix of musicians. There were so many lineup changes that a revolving door was needed to make it easier for those coming and going. Yet, determination prevailed as the band signed with Solid State Records and started creating a buzz. Their debut album Unbreakable came out in 2008 and its follow-up Lost Boy in 2010 and the road became their new home. Their hard work ethic and dedication started winning fans and critics over alike.
Now, it’s 2012 and their highly anticipated third album is about to be released. It’s odd for a band’s third album to be self-titled, but lead singer Matthew Hasting feels as if this album is a rebirth for them and they are starting over. After listening to it in its entirety, I do believe fans will agree with him. Producer Zeuss (Hatebreed,Shadows Fall,Suicide Silence) helped the boys tap into something that they had yet to discover about themselves and the results are pretty amazing.
The album opens with “Morpheus” which sets a tone of importance for the album. It’s a short track clocking in at 1:34 and starts off somberly, but builds as the whispered intro is joined by the chugging guitar riffs and drums thirty seconds in. It leads into “On Wings of Integrity Part 2”. This song is definitely one written especially for the fans. The band continued the song lyrically from its predecessor and it is a really something special. It’s sure to go over really well live with chants of “we are the voice of this generation” which just screams audience participation.
“Anathema” kicks things into high gear with its faster, more aggressive tempo. Mathis Arnell is a beast on the drums on this track too. The song also has a cool breakdown about two minutes in where it gets totally quiet and you think the song is over, but it’s not. The next track, “God of Nothing”, is one of the band’s most creative shining moments in its young career. The musician ship is top notch and
Matt’s vocals show a great deal of diversity. The song starts with a very effective spoken intro and leads into the heaviest and most intense journey that the guys have ever taken you on in four minutes. Matt mixes his spoken word with this more common aggressive styling and it really clicks. I love how the song drops off suddenly at the end with only a piano closing it out in a haunting fashion.
“The Endless” is one of the more powerful songs lyrically on the album. Although the guys are all Christians, they don’t make that the prime focus of their lyrical content. Their songs have a positive theme to them that are universally appealing regardless of one’s religious beliefs. The song deals with death and losing those who are close to you. Always remember that no matter how bad you think you have it, there’s someone else who has it worse.
“Hell or High Water” is another song where the boys seem all jacked up on Red Bull. High energy and high intensity on this track that just flat out rocks. The album closes in a big way with the very strong track “No One Listens, No One Cares”. It’s definitely a standout track and particularly strong on the musicianship aspect. The drumming by Mathis is stellar and the dual guitar attack of Robert Bloomfield and Hunter Wells shows off some of the most insane and creative guitar work on the album. It’s an awesome choice to finish on such a strong note.
I have to say that the guys have definitely raised the bar on this album. Zeuss has awoken a sleeping beast on this one. They are more aggressive than ever and seemed more focused and determined. As mentioned before, it is like a new start for the band. The riffs are more brutal, the choruses are bigger and more epic and the guys sound hungry. A very strong album with a very positive message and worthy of praise.
Atlanta, Georgia’s Nashville Pussy was dubbed by a U.S. magazine as “one of the hardest working bands in show business”. If you have ever seen them in concert, it would be hard to deny this label. They bring their unique mix of whiskey, Southern metal, raunch and roll to the stage unlike any other band around. Their studio albums have become instant classics, but their live show truly elevates them to another level.
The band was formed back in 1997 by vocalist/guitarist Blaine Cartwright. His wife Ruyter Suys has been by his side along the entire journey playing a blistering lead guitar. The two were joined by drummer Jeremy Thompson. The bass duties in the band have been somewhat of a revolving door having four different female bassists along their 15 year journey. Their current bassist, Karen Cuda, has been with the band 2005’s Get Some! album.
The band is releasing a deluxe version of their 2009 classic From Hell to Texas on March 27 via Steamhammer/SPV. The deluxe version features a remixed and upgraded version of the 2009 album in an unexplained new sequence. For those not familiar with the original release, it contains such staple songs as “Drunk Driving Man”, “Ain’t Your Business” and “I’m So High”. That was the last studio album to date from the band.
The deluxe version contains a second disc entitled Live and Loud in Europe. The disc contains sixteen tracks that are compiled from various shows on their 2011 European tour. The songs span their career from their 1998 debut album up through their 2009 release. The live disc really brings across the power and energy behind this band’s live show. It may be a bit raw at times and not perfect, but isn’t that what true rock and roll is about? It’s not supposed to be clean and sterile and sanitized for your protection.
The better tracks on the live disc seem to come from the show in Prague, Czech Republic. There are blistering versions of “From Hell to Texas” and “Hate and Whiskey” present from that show. Those aren’t the only highlights though. Other standout tracks include a smoking hot version of “Snake Eyes” and the crowd favorite “Go Motherfucker Go”. There’s nothing quite like a raunchy rock and roll song with a great sing-along chorus to get a little audience participation.
Now, I know that a lot of live albums are composed of songs from various shows, but it usually flows together from beginning to end making it almost impossible to tell. There are times on the album where it doesn’t flow as smoothly as others. That’s about the only fault that I have when listening to the album. I’m not sure if this is from the mixing or what, then again maybe the band intended it to be that way to give it even more of a raw edge. The omission of their 1999 Grammy nominated song “Fried Chicken and Coffee” was also a bit of a letdown for me.
The album does a great job of capturing the vibe of a live Nashville Pussy show. You can just sense the sweat dripping from lead guitarist Ruyter as she cranks out her solo; a solo that a lot of men in the business wish they could deliver in the way that she does. Blaine’s vocals do get a bit strained at times and almost sound borderline painful in his delivery, but the man’s a rock and roll trooper and keeps marching on.
The band was formed because they were tired of watching people in rock bands on stage just going through the motions, with more style over substance. As with many great and iconic bands before them, the band came together to play the type of music that they always wanted to hear. It’s raunchy, it’s dirty, it’s sexy and it’s pure, unadulterated rock and roll. They have maintained their authenticity over their fifteen year career and haven’t compromised who they are or what they believe in.
You may not ever hear any of their songs performed on American Idol, but something tells me that they really could care less.