Throne of Heresy Antioch CoverI have a long standing joke with friends that about fifty percent of death metal bands out there derive their identity with respect to the phrases “Lovecraftian horror” and “anti-Christian,” and Throne of Heresy isn’t out to prove me wrong. So find a bucket, because Antioch is the perfect chance to revisit a favorite conceit of mine; the album review as a drinking game. Those of you who are veterans of Angry Metal Guy will have hopefully recovered as much as possible from the first episode, which leaves us in the perfect position to relapse with an even more thorough inebriation initiative. Guided by the talented gentlemen of Throne of Heresy, we’re about to embark on a dangerous journey of discovery (mainly with regards to liver functionality) known to its players as The Death Metal Drinking Game.

Throne of Heresy  are a Swedish (drink, drink) five-piece (sip) blackened death metal band and Antioch (reference to history of Christianity, take a sip) is their sophomore effort. It’s ten tracks long, lasts 40 minutes and comes in at DR6 (do you see what you’re getting into here?). But hey, metadata can only tell you so much; what matters is what’s on the inside – half a workout’s worth of trope-filled, predictable, but ultimately competent death metal. One needn’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre to nail down Throne‘s biggest influence right off the bat. One power chord into “The God Delusion” (keep them coming) and the Bloodbath-ism is clear as the nose sawed off a cadaver’s face. In fact, I’d say that if you were disappointed by Grand Morbid Funeral, this is the album you may have been looking for in its place; if Mikael Åkerfeldt had been replaced by Decapitated‘s Rafał Piotrowski rather than Nick Holmes, Bloodbath and Throne of Heresy would be completely indistinguishable.

In an astonishing display of restraint, that very singer, Thomas Clifford, waits until the third song, “Nemesis Rising” to utter the words “Leviathan” (take a shot), “Cthulu” (finish your drink), and “death may die” (fill a horn with mead, set aside). In keeping with these highly original themes, most of these songs ride on pretty tried and true chugging, buzzing power chords, and blast beats of somewhat different tempos (drink). Though the majority of the album is set at a middling pace, the band does shuffle the deck with faster tempos in songs like “Phosphorus,” which sounds a lot like Abysmal Dawn when it kicks into high gear. Occasional breakdowns break down as well, accompanied with stronger melody on “Souls for the Sepulchre.”

Throne of Heresy Band Photo

Once you’ve downed that horn of mead at seeing the above jean jackets, the thought might wind its way into your pickled brain that Throne of Heresy doesn’t seem to have a lot going for them; yet in terms of digestibility this album is exemplary. Though I certainly won’t be returning to it come the year’s end, Antioch is structured quite well as an album, saving its best song for last and keeping a remarkably steady pace. Beyond that, its songs are enticing in their simplicity; you know what’s coming next because they often follow a simple rock song structure, and the band knows when to bring back important riffs.

Antioch lacks the creativity of Abysmal Dawn or the lovable ham-fistedness you get from Gluttony or Jungle Rot, and though it’s a very competent release – the band makes a good stab at writing songs – it’s just not fun or interesting enough to stay on rotation. Throne of Heresy can follow their idols punch-for-punch, but that’s not worth much when the ring is so stuffed with other boxers. If you’re looking for a fun death metal record that doesn’t try to impress, you can stop here, but I can’t recommend it for anything other than passive listening because of how ultimately unoriginal and fleeting the experience is.

It’s now safe to stop drinking [We deny any and all responsibility for excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs or Viking horns.Steel Druhm].


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: The Sign Records
Websites: throneofheresy.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/throneofheresy
Release Dates: February 12th, 2016

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  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Awesome review/game. Hopefully you kept hydrated during the madness. Appropriating a title of a Richard Dawkins book for a song title probably should’ve been a shot of whatever edgy kids in high school drink, so maybe Bacardi? The embedded Dawkins-core was just boring, I’d rather listen to Bloodbath’s knowing how to write riffs and Holmes’ growling any day.

    • Dawkins-core matters.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        ALL core matters.

    • iain gleasure

      These days it’s Iceberg Vodka at least in the Greater Toronto Area.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        People actually drink Iceberg? I guess it’s cheap-ish at the LCBO.

        Are you from the GTA? When I was in London I’d drive up there for shows all the time, because that’s where all the good stuff got booked.

        • Iain Gleasure

          High schoolers in Mississauga drink Iceberg. And yes I live in the GTA. Guess where ^.

  • Worldeater

    A sober view on uninspired death metal!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I can’t believe no comparison was made to Hail Of Bullets. The embedded track sounds so much like a companion song to “Stalingrad” that the only thing missing to make it a Hail Of Bullets song is Martin Van Drunen.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I wish I could get more into Martin’s vocal style, but I can’t. It’s a bummer, because I like HOBs’ sound, but the vocals turn me off. Oddly, though, I don’t mind the vocalist for Horrendous, and he’s got a similar style.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Van Drunen’s vocals are different from most Death growls because they are higher pitched.

        How about Pestilence? Van Drunen sang for Pestilence too. Do you listen to Pestilence?

        How about Obituary? John Tardy has a vocal style similar to Martin Van Drunen’s. In fact John Tardy is my all-time favorite Death Metal vocalist. I love how he sounds like thick black blood oozes from his mouth every time he yells.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Pestilence, no. But I’ll check out Obituary — I like your description. : )

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Start with “Cause Of Death” or “The End Complete” for Obituary. I also encourage you to try Pestilence, start with “Malleus Maleficarum” or “Consuming Impulse” which are their two albums with Martin Van Drunen on vocals. Later on Patrick Mameli took over vocals but one wouldn´t know it if one weren´t told.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Thanks, Juan, I’ll check those out. I appreciate it.

    • Yeah, definitely getting more of a Hail of Bullets vibe from this than Bloodbath. That said, it is a lot faster than most Hail of Bullets songs right?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Yeah, it faster but has the same vibe. While Hail Of Bullets is mostly mid paced with scattered fast sections, this is the opposite: mostly fast with mid paced sections. But the vibe is similar with the speed ratios switched.

  • oooo now do a Drunken History version of AMG.

  • Diego Molero

    Dammit, I’m to young to play that game.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Absolutely fantastic review, Kronos. I hate that every comment I have left recently has been about band photos but it seems that death metal has caught up with early 2000’s metalcore! At least two of the band members are doing the awkward thumb-in-pockets thing good heavens. And dem condescending stares doe. Hnnnng

    Oh, and ‘We deny any and all responsibility for excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs or Viking horns.’ doesn’t contain anything about adhering to legal drinking ages. I’m sure my lawsuit will run smoothly; metal review websites statistically account for 66.6% of alcohol-related deaths in teens across Australia. Be ready for a fite mateys

    • Pimpolho

      I’m starting to get confused. When is a band photo not actually bad and/or weird? I feel like everything could be criticized. :

      • Kronos

        All band photos are fundamentally bad. They should be replaced with mythical perissodactyls.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        While I agree for the most part with Kronos, I think the ‘fundamentally bad’ comes from the fact that many bands create wonderful records but skimp on the band photo itself. Either they try too hard to be metal or don’t try at all. Rishloo’s band pic (see attached) is a rare example of a band photo done right; it suits the music and the band members look like humans being human. I think because 2016 started with a flurry of (imo) ridiculous band pics (see Venomous Concept), now I’m just paying more attention to them. But perrisodactyls would definitely be better

        • Kronos

          Please tell me when was the last time you saw a human being sitting in front of a billowing table of burnt umber powder? Look prospective bands out there, I officially don’t give a shit what any of you look like unless it’s hilarious and I can then make fun of you for how stupid you are. If you spent more than three minutes and $0 on your promotional pic, then you’re not metal.

          The band pictured below is metal.

          http://metalodyssey.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/trials-promo-band-pic-2015-062215ngigaslhasam.jpg

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            I thought burnt umber was all the rage.

            But i’ll give you this one, damn straight that’s metal

  • De2013

    But one gotta love that sphere-themed cover!

    • basenjibrian

      I vote for poisonous serpents as the Theme for 2016!

  • Mark Z

    Great review, and pretty spot-on judging by the embedded track. Painfully mediocre.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    What about vicodin?