A Sound of Thunder – New Legacy Calling Part I

Tuesday, 30th September 2014

Remember when metal was just metal? People would clamor to any show they could, seek out all the record stores and magazines and radio stations to get any taste they had for the genre, once hooked it was like a drug that you needed that daily fix. Nowadays, classifications and social media can put a serious damper on sitting down and just being in the moment, engaging deeply into a record and not multi-tasking one’s life away to use albums and artists as a passive form of entertainment.

Hailing from the Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia part of the United States, A Sound Of Thunder is a quartet of musicians bringing the classic, traditional, and true heavy metal spirit out on a consistent basis. Averaging new, full length product on a yearly basis (at least since 2011’s debut full length Metal Renaissance), it’s great to find a group of musicians willing to put every ounce of ingenuity and creativity into their art, giving the fans full product and production value with all the bells and whistles one can muster, and at the same time writing songs that rival many of their idols from the 1970’s and 80’s.

Following copious playbacks for their fourth full length album The Lesser Key of Solomon, I reached out to guitarist/keyboardist Josh Schwartz and vocalist Nina Osegueda, and we were able to engage in a fascinating dialogue regarding a host of topics ranging from animation and comic books to crowdfunding and social media – beyond discussion of heavy metal and A Sound of Thunder’s career. And if you like what they’re saying, be sure to seek out their catalog, as they are certainly developing a discography of excellent material.

Dead Rhetoric: Tell us some standout moments that propelled you as a music fan to become part of the heavy metal community – eventually leading to the desire to pick up an instrument and write/perform original material?

Nina Osegueda: My boyfriend in high school took me to see Dragonforce, and a little bit before that I fell in love with Hammerfall, when I saw Dragonforce live I said to myself, this is what I want to do. So I started performing in a metal band, ended up quitting that one (Blood Corps) to join A Sound Of Thunder, and I’ve been here ever since.

Josh Schwartz: I remember being 16 or 17 and had been into hard rock and metal for a few years, I was a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Blue Öyster Cult; this was in the mid 1990’s, those bands were way before my time but I liked the old stuff. I distinctly remember really being into Seventh Star and The Eternal Idol by Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi’s playing on those plus the timing with the lead guitar made me want to pick up a guitar and play for the very first time.

Dead Rhetoric: For a few years early in A Sound Of Thunder’s career, the bass player slot seemed to be the toughest to nail down. Any particular reasons behind this?

Osegueda: I think this is the case for a lot of bands, for some reason bass players are the hardest to keep ahold of. I’m not sure why that is, but it was definitely the case for us.

Schwartz: It’s hard to convince people that you are serious and have potential when you are in the early days of a career, you don’t have a good sounding recording. We had Nina in place, and Chris (Haren: drums) and I were there ready to go. Then we needed a bass player, and it drove us to work with people that didn’t really work that well, playing wise or personality wise. We actually had one bass player who came up to me two years later who was maybe going to join and then quit, he came up later and apologized for not seeing the potential to stay with the band. I guess the rest of us were on board, we had the vision and knew the band could be good, maybe it wasn’t as obvious to people on the outside.

Dead Rhetoric: Prolific is the word that comes to mind in regards to your band’s output. Since 2009 you’ve released 4 full length albums, 2 EP’s and a single. In previous conversations online you’ve discussed your ongoing commitment to develop new material at every rehearsal – do the best A Sound of Thunder songs develop out of these jam times or are there also times where member(s) bring material on off time to the table that works out well?

Schwartz: I think it’s a combination. We have the best chemistry and come up with the best ideas when all four of us are there. Usually we take the first 2-3 cool ideas from rehearsal, then I’ll sit down with them on a computer to finalize the arrangements, add a couple more parts, the guitar solo part or bridges. That’s the typical way, we’ve had a couple of oddballs where Nina will have the entire idea for the vocal melody before the music is even written, that was “The Night Witch” and Jesse (Keen: guitars, bass, keyboards) wrote the main riff for “House of Bones”, he had been sitting on that riff for a few years and finally brought it to the band.

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