Sons of Thunder
Released: 2000, Metal Blade
Being a rather big fan of Labyrinth since getting their Return to Heaven Denied CD well over a year and a half ago, I was kinda ticked off when I read that Sons of Thunder wasn’t going to be released in North America until sometime in 2001, while Europe and Japan were getting it in August of this year. I even considered seeking out the new album on the net, downloading it, and then sending $20 directly to the band (Maybe we should do this for ALL bands... Screw the record companies! The bastards.). Anyway, I discovered that hmv.com was carrying the German import for the same price as an average disc, so (obviously) I ordered it from them. I still don’t know when it’s scheduled for release in North America, but now that I have it, my dears... I no longer give a damn.
Prior to hearing Sons of Thunder, I had read that it wasn’t very good (actually, I think the term used was "SUCKS!!!"). Anyway, I was fortunate enough to have heard a couple of tracks via the internet, so I was able to maintain my faith in Labyrinth until I finally got to hear the whole disc for myself. Call me weird (I’ve been called much worse...) because when I listened to it in it’s entirety, I found Sons of Thunder to be a most enjoyable CD. The opening track, "Chapter 1", begins with rumbling keys and a short dialogue (which scared my dog when I played it... I’ve since been banished to the basement to listen to music.) and then goes into a "chunky" sounding riff, more reminiscent of Malmsteen than anything by Labyrinth. Still, a very good song. More typical of the Labyrinth sound are the title track, "Kathryn", "Touch the Rainbow", and a slightly reworked version of "Save Me" from last year’s Timeless Crime EP. (The EP version is better, IMO.).
Sons of Thunder also happens to be a concept album, something that seems be getting a tad too popular among Metal bands these days, methinks. I’m not sure if the story was created by the band or if it’s based on an actual legend, but as it goes King Louis XIV of France threw a party in Versailles during which he was presented with a portrait from the ruler of Venice of his daughter, Kathryn. Despite it only being an amiable gift from the Republic of Venice, the King was mesmerized by Kathryn’s beauty and ordered his aide to have her sought out and brought to him. Hence, the Sons of Thunder, a secret mercenary-like organization, were contacted to carry out the task of having her kidnapped. I won’t give away the rest of the story, but I could see it possibly being made into a movie with Richard Gere or (even worse) Leonardo DiCaprio as the SoT member sent to find Kathryn. So pray that no one in Hollywood gets wind of it.
So if you can get past the semi-cheesy storyline and don’t mind the fact that Labyrinth have gotten a little heavier since their previous CD’s, then by all means pick this one up. (Highly recommended for fans of romance novels, haha...)