It goes without saying that Derek Sherinian, Tony Franklin, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal are well respected by their peers in the music community. The trio’s collective resume reads like a who’s who of rock. From Sons of Apollo, to Dream Theater, to Alice Cooper, to Guns N’ Roses and more, the trio has worked with many of the industry’s top names. So for the group to join up-and-coming prog wunderkind Thomas Thunder for his debut album, The Pharaoh’s Temple – released today – was an interesting step for the musicians. It says a lot that these accomplished individuals would join forces with a 15 year-old (yes, 15 year-old) in his dream for music stardom. It says that they saw something special in the young drummer. Needless to say that in listening to Thunder’s work with the famed trio on his debut album, his work is impressive in its own right. The record’s already released singles have already proven that true. They are just a sample of what makes his work and that of his more seasoned counterparts so impressive throughout the album, too. ‘Iridescence,’ which serves technically as part of the album’s midpoint (the record consists of nine songs), is another way in which the collective’s work makes the album worth hearing. It will be discussed shortly. ‘King Chronos,’ the record’s penultimate entry, is another key addition to the album and will be discussed a little later. ‘The Voyage,’ which closes out the album, is one more way in which The Pharaoh’s Temple shows its success. When it and the other songs noted here are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole becomes a strong start for Thomas Thunder and another equally impressive outing for Sherinian, Franklin, and Thal that will appeal to most prog fans.
Thomas Thunder’s debut album, The Pharaoh’s Temple is a positive start for the young, up-and-coming drummer. It is additionally, another enjoyable offering from his more well-known counterparts, Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, and Tony Franklin. The record’s current singles make the clear. So do many of the album’s other songs, not the least of which is ‘Iridescence. While the album’s current singles are pure prog, showing influence of Dream Theater and Sons of Apollo, ‘Iridescence’ stands out because it incorporates other influences. The nearly four-minute opus opens with a drum fill by Thunder, brooding keyboard and equally steady bass and guitar from Franklin and Thal that takes audiences back to the 80s. Speaking of Thunder, at only 15, his talents on the drums are clear. His fills, his ability to keep time, and add just the right flare at all of the right moments is impressive. It is enough to put even some older drummers (this drummer included) to shame. The collective’s work points to a bit of the big hair ballads of that age before taking on more of a pure prog approach as the song progresses. From there, the group takes another even more dramatic turn, opting instead for a blues-based rock approach a la Deep Purple. It makes for such a stark contrast to the other influences. Yet at the same time the contrast is well-balanced. It makes the song all the more interesting. By the song’s end, it will leave listeners fulfilled through that display of well-balanced influences. It is just one of the songs that serves to show the album’s strength. ‘King Chronos’ does its own part to show the impact of Thunder and company’s work.
‘King Chronos’ presents its own unique arrangement separate from those featured in the rest of the album. Its opening bars present a solemn sound, anchored by Sherinian’s work on the keyboards. On a completely random note that likely only some will get, those opening bars are reminiscent of the music bed used for a certain scene from the little-known PC game, “The Journeyman Project 3.” Audiences who are familiar with that game will immediately catch that clearly unintentional similarity in sound. It only lasts briefly, though. It very quickly gives way to a full-on symphonic sound and stylistic approach that to a point, is one part prog and one part vintage Ozzy Osbourne. The Ozzy comparison (more specifically the Randy Rhoades comparison) comes through Thal’s work on guitar. The prog eventually wins out, with the more vintage guitar rock sound playing more of a companion role, but a solid role nonetheless. Again, Thunder’s abilities are on full display here. He shows with his timekeeping ability and his ability to effectively use his whole kit that he could become one of the next big names in the prog drumming community. The production that went into this song adds its own touch, as it adds certain aesthetic effects that enhance the song even more. The eventual chaos that closes out the song is worth its own interest, too. It makes for its own unique contrast to the whole. When everything within this song is considered together, the whole makes the song yet another powerful addition to the album and another example of what the record has to offer. It is just one more example of what the record has to offer, too. ‘The Voyage,’ the record’s finale, is one more example of the album’s strength.
‘The Voyage’ is important to examine because once again, it offers up a clear 80s-influenced arrangement. It is an arrangement that is also unlike any of the album’s other works. In this case, the duality in Sherinian’s performance, alongside that of Thunder, Thal, and Franklin hints ever so lightly at perhaps some Def Leppard leanings. As with the record’s other works though, that influence also soon becomes more secondary as the group’s prog leanings come more into play as the song progresses. Thal’s heavy guitars, alongside Sherinian’s work on keyboard and Franklin’s bass work creates such a rich, heavy composition. Thunder meanwhile adds just the right flare to the whole to complete the rich picture painted by this composition. The juxtaposition of that heavier prog sound and style to the more 80s hair rock sounds here makes the whole yet another unique addition to the album. It shows yet again, the variety offered throughout the record. It also does just as well to put each musician’s talents on display, including those of the young noisemaker himself, Thunder. When this composition is considered along with the other songs examined here, the album’s current singles and the rest of its entries, the whole proves itself to be another impressive offering from the veterans, Sherinian, Thal, and Franklin. It additionally proves itself a strong start for Mr. Thunder.
Thomas Thunder’s debut album, The Pharaoh’s Temple is a positive offering from the up-and-coming drummer. That is due to the talent shown by himself on the drums, and that of his fellow musicians. The singles that the record has already produced go a long way toward supporting the noted statements. Much the same can be said of the songs examined here. All of those songs do their own part to display the group’s talents. They prove Thunder could easily become one of the next big names in the prog community as he ages. They also continue to cement the reputation of his more seasoned counterparts from one to the next. When they are considered with the album’s remaining songs, the whole makes The Pharaoh’s Temple a presentation that will appeal to most prog rock and metal fans.
The Pharaoh’s Temple is available now. More information on Thomas Thunder’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at https://thomasthundermusic.com.
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