Relentlessly picking on black metal bands whose members opt for anonymity is a favorite pastime of ours here at Angry Metal Guy, but it kinda sorta makes sense when you look at the practice from the band’s perspective. When trying to break into the scene, withholding one’s identity means that critics have only the music to go on, and if the musicians happen to suck, it eliminates any possibility of cred shredding in the eyes of the masses. Germany’s Thron don’t have a thing to worry about in this regard; silhouettes as band members aside, their stripped-down blend of black metal and melodeath lacks so much as a hint of pretentiousness and is totally effective in its simplicity. In fact, it’s good enough that we’ll even spare them the shame of getting unicorn’d… This time.

Thron’s fusion of genres plays like a cross between the dissonant, cascading chords of Watain and the icy velocity of Dissection, and is gratifying from the first listen. Relentless melodeath drum patterns provide an energetic backdrop for vicious vocals and melodic tremolo riffs that toe the line between cartoonish evil and genuine diabolical intent, and the formula just works. Much of this debut’s success can be attributed to song variety and structure; some tracks lean more towards the blackened end of the spectrum (“Orphaned By the Undertaker,” taking the crown for Song Title o’ the Month) while others dabble in traditional death metal (“Bloodfeast”), and all of them stray far enough from traditional structures without coming across as meandering. The enjoyment to be derived from Thron is admittedly surface level only as there’s not much left to discover after the first couple of listens, but as a meat ‘n’ potatoes offering it absolutely delivers the goods.

Strangely, Thron‘s shortest tracks are back-loaded onto its second half, with cuts averaging around six minutes on the front end and four minutes on the back. The shift to less complex structures is an odd but not unwelcome twist, as it gives the record a unique sense of progression that I don’t recall encountering elsewhere. The first track of the record (“Purified In Fire”), however, doesn’t feel like it has enough ideas to justify its length; the riff well runs dry early on, making the last couple of minutes feel like a retread. Aside from a minute or two that could have been snipped from this cut, the entirety of the album kept me engaged, and the riffs are all so good that I wouldn’t even consider those couple of minutes of “Purified in Fire” to be a weak link so much as a slight hump to overcome before diving into the remainder of the record.

A band as straightforward as Thron could typically be expected to produce 3.0 material at best, but there are enough great moments and riffs scattered throughout that really push Thron over the line into 3.5 territory for me. The tempo hike that properly kicks off “The Blacklist” supremely kicks ass, the blackened waltz of “The Evolution of Satan” is infectiously fun, and the deliberate stomp of “Blackest Hell” delivers a thrashy twist akin to Toxic Holocaust. The Suffocation riff on “Bloodfeast” that leads into the deathiest tremolo run Dissection never wrote earns special mention too, as it makes me want to throw up the horns like a middle schooler who still thinks it’s acceptable to do so outside the confines of a metal gig. The production is nothing to sneeze at, either, as Thron ticks in at a surprisingly spacious DR8 and sports a good guitar tone well suited for Thron’s melding of genres. The mix is also good despite a bass that’s a tad obscured, and the drums sound a bit thin, but overall the production left a positive impression on me.

Thron is the kind of underground black metal that’s at high risk of being (and almost was) easily overlooked when it shows up in the promo pool, but after weeks of reviewing power metal I was more than willing to give an obscure black metal record a shot. I’m very happy I did. A surprising find for so early in the year, Thron breaks the mold of joyless second wave worship in favor of blistering, blackened fun. It isn’t exactly sophisticated, but if it can sink its claws into you as it did for me, you’ll find there’s much to like and little to object to here. Nice job Thron, whoever the hell you are.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Clavis Secretorvm
Websites: facebook.com/THRONKvlt | thronkvlt.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: January 20th, 2017

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  • SegaGenitals

    That album art… Skinny-ass minotaur in front of labyrinth image… bursting from woven old man’s face (the clew or clue: the thread given to Theseus to find his way out of the maze) Perhaps some deeper metaphor… minotaur smiles like his balls are being tickled…

  • The Unicorn
    • Eldritch Elitist

      So that’s what Moot’s been up to!

    • Thatguy

      OK.

      Or all penguins.

      • Diego Molero

        Penguins.

  • brklyner

    It seems just a *wee* bit hypocritical to pick on BM band members for their anonymity when not a single AMG reviewer will back up their words with his or her real name (not to mention that it gets old real fast). Just sayin’.

    • brklyner

      Sorry, except Steel of course. I can only assume that it must be his real name, anything else would just seem wrong.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Of course Steel Druhm is his real name! What else would you expect a Viking gorilla to be named?

        • Dead1

          I never pictured him as a Viking gorilla, avatar or not.

          More like slightly older nerdy dude. In fact I picture all metal bloggers as nerdy dudes because most of the old school proper metal long hairs I’ve known weren’t the pinnacle of literacy or sobriety.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I believe it’s Steel “Justice” Druhm.

      • Damn right!

    • Thatguy

      Hypocrisy makes the world go round.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Hypocrisy is great but I prefer Amon Amarth.

        • Thatguy

          Ha!

          So do I.

    • Wait, “Angry” is not AMG’s first name. When did THAT happen?

      And it’s true, Steel Druhm’s first name is not “Steel.” However, he is made out of solid steel so that sorta counts.

      • sir_c

        Ferric Testicles would be more accurate

  • DrChocolate

    I can get down to this. It has a similar, albeit somewhat less sophisticated, feel to Hyperion’s stunner from last year. That’s a good thing.

    • AgonMcDuck

      That Hyperion record was something else. If this is even close to being as good I will be very pleased.

  • PLB

    Really like the song on the review page. Will check this once it is released. Sounds like simple,efficient and easy melo-blackened fun.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Thron. Wasn’t that an 80’s movie or something?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I knew there was something wrong with that pesky “h”.

  • AgonMcDuck

    As a fan of Dissection, Naglfar, Sacramentum, and Hyperion, I need to get on this. Later when I get home. :D

  • David D.

    I was skeptical with the lo-fi fuzz in the intro but holy damn this is amazing

  • Tofu muncher

    “a slight hump” doesn’t cut it for me. I need to listen to MOAR of this album. Thanks for introducing.

  • Feytalist

    Are we just going to gloss over the fact that their Facebook/Bandcamp page is “Thronkvlt”.