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Monday, April 4, 2016

Throne of Heresy - Antioch

Artist: Throne of Heresy
Release Title: Antioch
Year: 2016
Label: The Sign Records
Genre: Death Metal
1. The God Delusion
2. Serpent Seed
3. Nemesis Rising
4. Flagellum Daemonum
5. Exordium
6. Black Gates of Antioch
7. Blood Sacrifice
8. Phosphorus
9. Souls for the Sepulchre
10. Where Bleak Spirits Pass

The second album from Swedish death metallers Throne of Heresy offers a rather solid enough outing here of solid and dependable death metal even there’s nothing all that impressive about it. Basing itself mostly around the churning riff-work that allows for some rather heavy, mid-tempo riffing featured that drives in some pounding rhythms that can change tempos rather nicely.  With plenty of opportunities for the effort to bring in scores of melodic flurries running through the songs that mix rather nicely with the intensity of the remaining rhythms which leaves this with a far darker concept of melodic death metal than usually offered with the focus on driving rhythms accented by melodic leads rather than just lighter rhythms and easily-accessible melodies which are scattered throughout in occasional spurts. While this sets up an overall enjoyable aspect to be found here within their sound, the fact that the music isn’t all that dynamic and overall varied tends to run the greatest damage against this one by keeping the music overall straightforward and rather one-dimensional. With a few minor exceptions, there’s little change-up here in what the music has on display being just a straightforward and unchanging work that keeps the dynamic death metal rhythms on track with the occasional bits of melodic tendencies to make for a rather engaging but forgettable affair without much to bring it back on repeat listens. This is really the biggest mark against the album otherwise.

The first half offers a solid impression of what’s in store here. Opener ‘The God Delusion’ takes a steady series of charging riffing and pounding drumming throughout a steady blast of up-tempo thumping rhythms taking on plenty of rocking patterns with plenty of melodic flurries running throughout the pounding drumming and mid-tempo riff-work through the finale for a solid opening blast. ‘Serpent Seed’ features hard-rocking riffing and plenty of stylish drumming working through a series of twisting riffing with plenty of straightforward rhythms offering plenty of melodic trills littered throughout the solo section and thumping along through the charging final half for a much more engaging and impressive effort. ‘Nemesis Rising’ uses a steady series of thumping mid-tempo riff-work and a fine series of pounding drumming to make for a dynamic mid-tempo charge with melodic swirling riffing carrying the thumping charge along into the strong series of extended swirling rhythms throughout the finale for one of the album’s better efforts. ‘Flagellum Daemonum’ takes immediate thumping drumming and pounding rhythms charging through thrashing up-tempo paces and settles on a driving mid-tempo rhythms with swirling melodic flurries throughout the blasting drum-work clattering through the finale for a short, vicious highlight effort. The mid-album instrumental breather ’Exordium’ uses haunting melodic rhythms and stylish drumming to weave a tribal flair through the series of charging mid-tempo rhythms pounding away leaving this as a fine enough instrumental.

The second half is slightly below the first but still has a lot to like throughout here. ‘Black Gates of Antioch’ uses a steady intro with plodding rhythms with plenty of pounding double-bass blasts firing through the up-tempo second half with fiery energetic riff-work and scorching melodies dropping for a series of discordant banging leading into the solo section and through the finale for a decidedly enjoyable enough offering. ‘Blood Sacrifice’ features sprawling rhythms slowly working into a plodding pace equipped with sluggish rhythms turning into a solid mid-tempo pace with a more intense series of riff-work against the sparkling swirling rhythms of the solo section on through the charging final half for a weak if still enjoyable effort. ‘Phosphorus’ features utterly blistering drumming running through frantic, intense patterns with plenty of charging riff-work keeping the intensity level up throughout the frantic, intense patterns full of furious rhythms with melodic leads through the intense finale for another strong highlight. ‘Souls for the Sepulchre’ uses a fade-in intro which turns into a stylish mid-tempo march with charging riffing and pounding drumming into a straightforward series of churning riff-work with the sprawling melodic leads of the solo section leading into the blistering fury of the final half for a decent enough effort. Lastly, the album-closer ‘Where Bleak Spirits Pass’ features a lilting guitar intro into a sprawling series of mid-tempo swirling riff-work with lilting melodies featured throughout the plodding paces with the main driving rhythm full of lethargic paces leading into the sprawling final half for a decidedly low-key finish.

Despite possessing a few minor sluggish areas throughout here that could’ve easily been fixed without much difficulty, the fact that there’s still quite a large amount of positives here makes this a nice change for fans looking for melodic death without veering too far from their traditional roots or just fans of driving straightforward death metal in general.

Score: 82/100

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