“Thunderbirds” is the third release from the progressive metal band By Blood Alone, and I daresay it’s the group’s best work. Don’t let the seven tracks fool you; this CD is just a few minutes short of an hour with two songs hitting the 10-minute mark and another just behind it at nine minutes.

The band consists of vocalist Cruella, guitarist John Graveside, drummer Runtt, Jack Doran on bass and Jenny Williamson on keyboards.

“Drive All Night” goes from corybantic (a recent “Word of the Day” that I dig meaning frenzied, agitated, unrestrained) to calm during its nine-minute lifespan. Runtt takes no prisoners, and Graveside, Doran and Williamson keep up with him.

“I must retreat, I must leave-leave right now,” bays Cruella, fangs showing. The song is a ball of fire, and then it U-turns so Williamson’s quiet keys and strings can be heard. Cruella brings it down too, but not for long. The flames grow even higher as the seven-minute mark is passed. It ends with a flurry of keys, strings and a riff by Graveside.

“Night Terrors” is a too-fast drive on a dark and twisting road during a thunder-and-lightning-storm kind of song.

“I Bleed” no doubt chronicles Cruella’s descent into and return from hell that took the form of her battle with breast cancer beginning in 2007. Two minutes of ominous sounds lead into her vocals: “I should be careful of what I say, ’cause now I just pay the price/ All the years of wanting more, was I blind, did I have it all?” All her fury, her pain, and her 97 other emotions are uncorked in this song, and the band is right there with her.

The title track is the other 10-minute odyssey.

It’s no secret that this genre isn’t my normal cup of tea, but exceptions are always made when something like this lands — or crashes down — in my lap.

“Thunderbirds” was recorded and mixed by Steve La Cerra and John Graveside at Jericho Hill Records in Westbrook. Pick it up at Bull Moose Music or online at Cdbaby.com, iTunes.com, Amazon.com or Relapse.com. Find BBA online at bybloodalone.com. 

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at [email protected]