I finally found a writer willing to cover Black Metal: Avenge The Throne Review
Ok first things first, I’m ANTI, this is my first review for TGBNK. I’m primarily a “metalhead” when it comes to music, but I’ll be honest, I love a bit of absolutely fuckin’ everything, including lots of shit that would make half the musicians in the metal bands I listen to roll their eyes and call me a poser behind closed doors. But that’s bullshit, because 99% of black metal is absolute shit anyway, especially the ones I like. They revel in it. Anyway, Avenge The Throne has a generic verb-the-noun name, generic mid 90’s Fear Factory/Dimmu Borgir/Nile style computerised artwork, a generic metal font from 1001fonts.com and has song titles practically ripped straight out of the “Generic Black Metal song names” handbook. I’mma fire up the link for this bandcamp that I’ve been given to review and have a little looksee at whether the carpet matches the drapes, so to speak.
The opening track, “Heretic” starts off with a clearly Enslaved inspired clean riff over some windy sound effects, it reminds me a little of a very cold, sterile version of the infinitely catchier Isoders Dronning, but the difference between that song and this song by ATT is that the Enslaved song was not meant to be just an intro. Personally I don’t see much of a point in these kinds of tracks anymore unless you’re a musician that can do something that literally only you or a handful of others can do with their instrument or genre, but hey ho. It’s listenable enough, very downkey, a little sinister. It definitely has that hint of “there’s something coming…” but, with the aforementioned windy/spooky sound effects any riff with minor chords would do it.
It immediately segues into “Tomb“, which sounds like it was mixed completely differently, pounding programmed bass drum hitting a steady beat over some insanely sustained backing guitar while the (stereo typically, almost) thin- sounding lead guitar hits a chord at around 1:10 and it all kicks in, sounding very much like Wound Upon Wound (Ireland), mid-era Deathspell Omega and Weakling in that it’s very muddy and chaotic, but you can hear what’s going on and it draws you in, but this section only lasts about forty seconds or so before fading out into an outro riff which literally just stops and then is replaced by some sound effects? Wtf guys, that song coulda been 20 minutes of riffs based on the initial concept and coulda been its own EP, why was it only 2 minutes?
Anyway, that’s followed by “Infernal Catechism” which has a pointless 2 or 3 bar clean intro before breaking into the song, which is much more typical black metal than Tomb, but Avenge The Throne certainly have their own skew on it, there’s something about it that makes what they’re playing clearly “this is the way Avenge The Throne plays black metal” rather than just “normal black metal“. Even so, three songs into this record I can spot moments where a great black metal tune is trying to break out of its cage but its creators maybe seem afraid to be TOO different, or narrow their sound down too much into one of black metal‘s myriad of sub-sub-sub-subgenres that have often no actual musical difference other than the guitars being either “hoover”-like and fuzzy or “muddy” with plenty of low-end.
Ok, so now I’m about halfway through track five (of thirteen) and it’s still, very much the same – plenty of opportunities for some really interesting or exciting black metal to suddenly unleash itself from the confines of the song in which it lays dormant, but somehow just when you think they’ll go for it, the song changes dynamic to something completely different. As you may have guessed I got fed up of writing for individual songs, so at this point onward I’m only going to discuss real standout moments that pop up as I’m listening to it. Anyway, so these guys are clearly really big fans of the new style of “norsecore” black metal. See, “Norsecore” black metal, (and I hate to use that phrase, and this next one) back in the day, was anything that sounded anything like a Emperor, Mayhem, Burzum, Bathory, Summoning, Enslaved, Thorns, Gorgoroth, Marduk or Beherit album from the early 90s. These days it seems to pretty much mean sound like a cross between Mayhem’s Ordo Ad Chao muddy production and Watain’s pop-grade studio levelproduction values, with the Watain end of the spectrum winning very heavily from all the new-school European black metal I’ve been hearing lately. Avenge The Throne are no exception, other than how their songs break way too often (as if the writer has ADHD and thinks anything more than 4-16 bars is too long). Anyway, there’s a riff that’s the last half of track 7 that’s really fucking awesome, whether you like black metal or not. The track afterwards, Dominion, starts off with a riff that’s similar but not as good because of the better one I listened to right before it on the track before. Hmmm…. Track 9 is also a particular highlight about halfway through, this riff is catchy as fuck, I’d pick up my guitar if it wasn’t half 10 at night and next door didn’t have a sleeping baby (I’m bullshitting, I couldn’t play this for shit i’m actually terrible at guitar). Unfortunately the promising riff turns into “chugchugchug scalescalescale chugchugchug scalescalescale” and ruins it all for a minute before going back into how it was before.The two bonus tracks are really good as well.
Okay, so, before I give you my overall conclusion, let me explain my rating system, which is outta five –
1 – Shit, avoid it at all costs
2 – for fans of the genre only
3 – acceptable, if you’re not a fan of the genre. if this was a scale of 10 this would be 5 and 7.5 all at once, 7.5 because this is also used for albums that are really good examples of what they do but aren’t quite good enough, unique enough, or in some cases listenable enough, to be higher.
4 – this is for an album you’d like even if it’s a genre you wouldn’t normally listen to, or for a really damn good example of a genre you like.
5 – this is only for the best of the genre, the sort of milestone that dun’ changes the game. think Jane Doe or Si Monumentvm Reqviris, Curcvmspice or the napalm death album that invented grind that’s momentarily escaped my memory…
Anyway, there are moments where this band could really be doing something innovative, or not even innovative just something that’s like a particular subset of black metal that hasn’t been ruined by a trillion other bands doing the same thing, but they never quite reach it, and it shows. That and the aforementioned songwriter’s ADHD type thing, this album gets a fairly solid 2.5, because there are things that non-BM fans might appreciate, but not many of them.