As in his previous solo album, The Thunderthief makes it very clear exactly what John Paul Jones brought to Led Zeppelin: driving bass, epic compositions, and impeccable musicianship. It's also very clear what he wasn't doing for Zeppelin: writing the lyrics. The tracks with words on the album are awkward and occasionally laughable, particularly the title track, which sounds suspiciously like a jab at Robert Plant, and "Angry Angry," a presumably mock punk song. Both detract from what is otherwise a very impressive album. Jones plays nearly every instrument on the record and mixes sounds from seemingly every continent and era he could think of. The Thunderthief's best moments are its surprises, like "Down to the River to Pray," a beautiful rendition of the bluegrass standard, and "Hoediddle," which starts off a classic rock jam and works its way into an Irish jig. On "Freedom Song," Jones mixes Eastern sounds in with Western philosophy and somehow makes its work. At the very least, The Thunderthief is evidence that Jones continues to experiment and brave new territory -- encouraging news from a man who could just rest on the greatest of laurels.
AllMusic Review by Brad Kohlenstein