Album Title: Pestilent Dawn
Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Date of Release: 9 April 2021
If you are on the lookout for a pulverising half-hour of extreme death metal music, then you may wish to read on. If you’re into more fluffy forms of heavy metal, then you may instead wish to give this one a miss and wait for another review another day.
‘Pestilent Dawn’ is the debut full-length record from Throne, a Michigan USA-based quartet comprised of vocalist/guitarist Nathan Barnes, guitarist Joe Kesselring, drummer Kollin Perpignani, and bassist Leslie Drake. Formed in 2014, it took until 2017 for the band to take the stage for the first time but, since then, they have gained traction in the extreme metal world, sharing the stage with At The Gates, Suffocation, Revocation, and Belphegor amongst others. Their stock rose ever further with the 2018 release of their debut EP, ‘Altar Of The Dying’ and now, in 2021, they have unleashed their first long-player.
The likes of Suffocation, Belphegor and Behemoth are good reference points when offering an opening description of Throne’s output. However, none of them are entirely accurate because Throne have their own way about them. Theirs is a bludgeoning, heavy-as-hell style, the kind that threatens to rip your face off from 20 paces. It is sharp, generally fast-paced, and incredibly intense. In fact, I’d add maybe Myrkskog to the list of references due largely to the precision and speed with which much of the material is delivered. Just take ‘Amongst The Sinners, They Came Forth’ as a prime example. It blasts out of the speakers with what appears to be an uncontrolled malevolent fury. However, it quickly becomes clear that the three minutes and twenty-one seconds of brutality is very controlled; everything is delivered with a slick precision, led by the warp-speed drumming of Perpignani and backed up by riff after savage riff delivered by Barnes and Kesselring. The black metal elements are there for all to hear, despite the deep, guttural growls and squeals of Barnes atop the ferocity. But, with cleverly-placed slower, groovier riffs, and a wailing lead guitar solo, the track is incredibly memorable.
And therein lies the strength of Throne. For all their aggression, the music is memorable, almost catchy in places. I recently reviewed the new Cannibal Corpse record and I struggled to engage with much of the material beyond a superficial level. With Throne, there is no struggle. It might be heavy in the extreme but I’m willing to listen time and time again to ‘Pestilent Dawn’.
‘In The Midst Of Chaos’ is a monster track that kicks in with a slower, lurching riff that allows some groove whilst the drumming is relentless. As the track progresses, the fast-picked blackened riffs emerge to great effect and the blend of death and black produces one of my favourite moments on the album. Pinched harmonics, rumbling bass, lead solos, and flamboyant drum rolls all add to the enjoyment of what still remains a brutal, uncompromising composition.
In terms of any negativity, I’d suggest the fact that seven ‘proper’ songs, three interludes and a total run-time that just creeps over the half-hour mark is a little disappointing. That said, the mid-album delicate acoustic guitar interlude, ‘Eternity In Mourning’ is a really beautiful moment of respite. And when the attack is as intense and brutal as Throne’s, perhaps thirty minutes isn’t too far short of the right length.
The title track renews the savagery but in the second half of the song, there’s a deliberate slowing in favour of a crushing, semi-melodic and groovy riff upon which more a measured and mellifluous lead guitar solo is placed, until the pace quickens, at which point it too
The killer guitar sound that Throne have created is heard in all its glory at the beginning of ‘Born Of Death’ as the crushing notes are slow and allowed to resonate on their own before being joined by the remainder of the band. From there, the pace is upped, but it’s a wonderfully dynamic extreme metal song thanks to a more frequent and pronounced change in tempo. One minute we’re confronted by machine-gun drumming and razor-sharp blackened riffing, the next our heads are nodding along to death metal from the abyss. And ‘Beyond Malice’ requires a mention as it is easily one of the most instant and melodic of the tracks on the record, almost surprisingly so, despite never losing any of its hard-hitting intensity in the process.
I’m incredibly impressed with this debut album from Throne. This is an engaging and highly effective album from beginning to end, demonstrating how you can take brutal death metal, add some blackened elements, some groove, and a little touch of melody, and create something rather special. It proves that you can have technical ability, you can have extremity, and you can have memorability all in one devastating package. Based on this first offering from Throne, their future looks very bright indeed and I for one cannot wait to see what they deliver next.
The Score of Much Metal: 89%
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: