Laughing on Judgement Day

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For a while there, it seemed as though England's Thunder might follow in the footsteps of Def Leppard or Whitesnake and actually conquer America with their powerful melodic hard rock. But, when faced with the ever more hostile musical environment of the early ‘90s (read: Seattle), all they managed was a smattering of critical support and a number of hit singles in their homeland. Still, despite producing but one big hit in the infectious, horn-punctuated "Everybody Wants Her," Thunder's sophomore album, 1992's Laughing on Judgement Day, was anything but a slump, and may in fact have been the strongest all-around effort of the group's career. Among the highlights, "The Moment of Truth" and "Today the World Stopped Turning" packed massive, irresistible choruses, while "Low Life in High Places" and "Empty City" provided stunning showcases for the formidably soulful voice of singer Danny Bowes (a latter day David Coverdale, in the best sense). Even borderline sonic relics like the partly funky "The Moment of Truth" and "Fire to Ice" (which bordered on AOR) were meticulously constructed from the ground up -- not that this meant much in the face of grunge. So even though there was not a single obvious clunker among Laughing on Judgement Day's 14 tracks, Thunder's sound was sadly already yesterday's news, and the band would never again replicate the achievements of its early career.

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