Company: Earache Records Release: 2007 Reviewer: Etiam Genre: Death
Less than the ultra-tight death metal machine they have the potential to be
On 'Come Death', Blood Red Throne storm out of Norway for their fourth LP, this time with a new drummer and vocalist to compliment the core trio of Tchort, Dod, and Erlend. These three members have been a part of the band since its earliest days--the former two on guitar, Erlend on bass--and have maintained a consistent stylistic focus throughout their career, regardless of the members they were operating with at the time. So, quite simply, 'Come Death' is another exercise in chunky, groove-oriented death metal with prominent bass and a (very) modern flair. It is a successful and relatively straightforward formula, but few bands have been able to consistently compete with Blood Red Throne's tight dynamic, clever riffing, and the understandably irresistible but irrelevant leg up in promotion, given Tchort's connections with Emperor, Green Carnation, Carpathian Forest, etc.
Over these nine tracks, the band fall into a predictable--but still entertaining--rhythm of wandering, palm-muted riffs low on the fretboard that end in very deliberate, openly hit cadences. The chunkier sections are generally accompanied by straight blasts from the drums, while a phrase's more melodic second half will be accompanied by a tattoo on the ride's bell. The song titles are similarly predictable, including the likes of 'No New Beginning', 'Deranged Assassin', 'Rebirth in Blood', and various other stock titles taken from the 'fill in the blank' section word bank of Death Metal 101's entrance exam. New vocalist Vald delivers his lyrics convincingly, though, and is a good fit for the group with a high shriek and mid-to-low growls that match up well when layered.
Some songs, such as the opener and 'Guttural Screams', feature slippery lines that are simply too charming to resist, despite their relative unoriginality, and are class examples of Blood Red Throne's prime objective. In fact, what 'Come Death' amounts to is what today's deathcore ought to be sounding like--surly songwriting packed with modern grooves, all without becoming a slam-dancing self-parody.
But, unfortunately, that still is less than the ultra-tight death metal machine Blood Red Throne have the potential to be (and arguably have been in the past) and a little too flat to leave us completely satisfied. If they can trim some of the more mundane chugs and inject more tracks with the enthusiasm heard on tracks like 'Slaying the Lamb', then Blood Red Throne will pack a thicker and more credible punch.
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