I’m not gonna lie, I’m a giddy school child right now. No one in their right mind would have seen it coming but it has been a Grier wet dream to review Blood Red Throne. BRT is one of my top ten favorite bands of all time. Who? What? When? How? Where? Being the casual death metal listener that I am, this is the kind of death metal I like. BRT has crushing riffs that tightrope over the Vat of Thrash on a Brutal Death Metal braided cable. A cable supported on one end by vicious, audible bass guitar and the other by thunderous drum work. To top it off, vocals rain acid on top of tight-ropers brave enough to venture out. Each bark and shriek complimenting and exaggerating every downstroke, thick-stringed rumble, and cymbal hit. And this new slice of death and gore is no different. What are the chances of survival with Fit to Kill? Slim to none.
If you don’t know Blood Red Throne and their brand of Trve Norwegian Death Metal, you must be as content with life as a child, money in hand, watching the ice cream truck drive by, leaving you broken and dead inside. Is that what you want? No, motherfucker, no. Beginning with 2001’s Monument of Death, BRT have tried to achieve a full-band effort that splatters subtle black metal touches1 with pummeling Floridian-style death metal. Weaved into this were pit-friendly thrash breakdowns. The debut set the tone and each album afterward became sicker and nastier—with ’05’s Altered Genesis being the pinnacle. After losing Mr. Hustler and gaining the equally-competent Vald on Come Death, the band returned to their classic sound, set forth by Monument of Death. And, from Vald to Yngve “Bolt” Christiansen, they’ve never looked back.
Though Altered Genesis and its dark definition of Norwegian death metal is my favorite, the band has impressive leadership under Død and a passion that keeps each new album feeling as passionate as the last. And that hasn’t changed one iota with Fit to Kill. If anything, the band continues to push boundaries, giving each album something new. In the case of Fit to Kill, that comes with a forty-nine-minute runtime, with songs in the five, six, and eight-minute range. It’s the bands longest record, next to Altered Genesis, and it’s just as stacked.
Songs like closer “End,” “Bloodity,” and “Deal It or Die” have the most going on. “End” and “Bloodity” are beasts—packing riff after riff into a five-to-six minute concrete foundation. A foundation that crumbles under the groovy, headbangable, mid-song breakdown of “Bloodity” and the closing cannonade of “End.” But “Deal It or Die” chooses to use its eight minutes to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. With a slower, mid-tempo pace, this haunting piece deals out riffs, builds, and capable solo work to get its point across. It’s not exactly “epic” for its length, but it’s a solid piece.
Like “Deal It or Die,” the other mid-tempo pieces are on the back-half of the record. And all are one after another. The “B-side” of the record begins with the technical, tip-toeing creeper that is “Skyggemannen.” The intro is badass and the general vibe is one that would fit well on Altered Genesis. Following its predecessor’s lead, “InStructed InSanity” slithers through thick dissonance, using a villainous riff to match the venomous rasps. Closing out the trilogy, “Movement of the Parasites” builds off its mid-paced hand-me-downs to deliver a massive, chugging conclusion.
Interspersed around these pieces are tracks that find Christiansen exploring new vocal patterns and techniques. Since joining the band on 2013’s self-titled release, his vocals—while effective—are a standard, deep-throated bark and a scream that reminds me of Hypocrisy. But he’s upped his game with each release—this being his third. For example, opener “Requiem Mass,” with its sick, thrashy midsection, is complete with every shriek, scream, and phlegm combination known to man. “Killing Machine Pt. 2” is also hellbent on destroying the human race, and achieves it some surprising, sharp staccato shrieks ala Origin‘s Entity.
In the end, Fit to Kill nestles nicely in with the other Christiansen-era releases (Fit to Kill‘s predecessor, Union of Flesh and Machine, being the best). Although I’m partial to the early, Tchort and Mr. Hustler days, these last three albums show a band that’ll never slow down. While Fit to Kill is stronger on its “A-side,” and songs like “Movement of the Parasites” and “Deal It or Die” are a bit long, it’s another badass release from an underrated legend.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Mighty Music
Websites: bloodredthrone.bandcamp.com | bloodredthrone.com | facebook.com/bloodredthroneofficial
Releases Worldwide: September 13th, 2019