Review: Thundermother – Black And Gold
AFM Records (August 19th, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
As of late, there has been a surge of female centric rock bands that have popped up around the world. Taking inspiration from, and riding the success, of bands like Halestorm and Evanescence, the world has been recently introduced to all female bands such as Plush and The Warning. Before both of these bands, there was a band in Sweden rising into prominence. Now, with a tour lined up supporting Whitesnake and Scorpions, Thundermother is about to release their fifth album ‘Black And Gold‘ that will undoubtedly take the world by storm.
No hyperbole, this is an absolutely sensational album that, if there is any justice in the world, will make this band a household name. Full disclosure, this is the first album I have heard from this band, but that will absolutely change. I need to hear more! For those unfamiliar with their sound, the best way to describe it would be AC/DC by way of the Sunset Strip. You can practically hear the individual bands that have inspired each of their songs.
The album opens up with ‘The Light in The Sky‘, which serves as a perfect intro to let you know what to expect from this band and to welcome you in to their “gang”. Powerful choral vocals screaming out over a heavy, power chord drenched, mid-tempo rocker.
What comes next is one of my favorite songs of this year, the title track ‘Black And Gold‘. This song fires on all cylinders and is saturated with high energy exuberance. I’ve listened to this track about 50 times already and I just began reviewing this album yesterday. I can’t stop playing this song. What makes it so special to me is the live feel that is captured by the band. It’s played hard, fast, and loose. Sporadically throughout the song, you hear various band members come in and out of background vocals, either jumping in last minute to throw down matching vocals or sometimes just faintly talking over the music. This scattershot approach may sound like a mess, but producer Søren Andersen controls the chaos just enough to make it feel like the band is jamming out right in front of you. One of the most unique production approaches I have ever heard. The talk box added by guitarist Filippa Nässil also adds a nice touch.
In direct competition for song of the year is second single ‘I Don’t Know You’. The AC/DC comparisons are inevitable, but there’s so much more to this song. The faux live setting that has a crowd singing background chorales, the chord progression into the chorus which changes from that familiar AC/DC rhythm into something more melodic and reminiscent of the hair metal 80s. Singer Guernica Mancini emotes passion mixed with resentment in a chorus that is my favorite performance of hers on the album.
Third single, the ballad ‘Hot Mess’, shows off their latter-day Aerosmith influences. A blues-drenched ode to forgiveness, it’s a great change of pace and slows the album down at just the right time. Ms. Mancini could be a vocal doppelganger to Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale.
I could go on about all the songs but to make a more concise review, the girls pull from various inspirations to create one of the best albums I have heard all year. I hold Halestorm’s ‘The Strange Case of…’ in high regard and this album matches that one. For those that like their rock bare bones, straight, heavy, and to the point, this is a must have album that will come to define the band going forward.