Distant Thunder - Welcome The End
Distant Thunder is an american band consisting of James Rivera (ex-vocalist of Helstar, Destiny's End, and present vocalist of Seven Witches. Has also been appearing in live shows & tours with Megadeth, Anthrax, Wasp, Yngwie Malmsteen, Fates Warning, Savatage), along with former D.E guitarist Halpern, Z-Lot-Z guitarist Gill, Symphony X bassist LePond and Midnight Circus drummer Rick Ward. The material is, simply put, classic US heavy metal of the simpler, more straight forward kind. Rumors say that a lot of the material on this album was intentionally written for a third album from Destinys End, but as that band dissolved, the energy was put into making it into this band instead.
When the opening song I Welcome The End fades out, you feel that you have been hit by yet another mediocre power/heavy metal band that has put together a few decent riffs and hired one of the local dudes in the neighborhood to sing since nobody wanted/could do that. It is nothing that inspires, and even by light weighted power metal standards, it is pretty non saying. Neither the vocals, nor the song writing are anything that sticks and it sounds pretty flat. I guess a lot of potential buyers stopped listening at that point and never gave the rest a chance. That, in that case, is a bit of a pity. Because it gets better along the way.
Already in the next song the riffing gets better, as we are being served a great pumping riff with a classic way of building a song, and parallells can be drown to both Halford and King Diamond, but it never really reaches those heights. It's just a way of making you know what range the singer moves in, for you who have never heard him.
All along the songs get better and better, and the Judas Priest, King Diamond - and most of all Halford - influences get more and more distinct, mixed with a few Iron Maiden elements here and there, and it is mostly a matter of them being influenced by the mentioned bands instead of ripping them off. Most of the songs contain delicious and intricate riffs, and it is all forged in that classic, charming 80's metal style with songs that stand pretty strong. The album is rounded off with a Helstar classic - Run With The Pack which is a great tune, and also Accept's Restless And Wild, which would have been better off left at the experiment stage. Not an especially pretty piece.
To sum it up, it does not quite reach the same heights
as earlier mentioned Helstar and Destiny's End, since I miss a little
more juice and roughness behind this, and there are no ground breaking
or jaw dropping elements to be found here at all. But it serves very
well as a good dose of classic metal for your hungry metal ears. Probably
it will not stand the test of time, considering the heavy and skillful
competition they have to fight nowadays, but check this out if you want
it simple and groovy.