Splintered Throne – The Greater Good of Man Review

The name Splintered Throne conjures a host of shameful memories in my mind. You see, I’m a bit of a husky chap, and I always have been. High school found me attaining my final form when the scale approached 300 lbs. And that’s when the chairs began to die. Steel folding chairs, rolling office chairs, even the seemingly indestructible plastic chairs with the metal legs and the slots in the back—they all crumbled beneath my massive mass. My classmates became accustomed to the sight of me falling on my ass atop a mound of wreckage, a move I’ve come to call the Reverse Matt Foley. As if this all wasn’t bad enough, I’ve also left a multitude of splintered toilet seats in my wake. Fortunately, these usually occur in private, although they are rather painful should a butt cheek happen to become pinched in the fracture. But perhaps my most embarrassing throne moment was when my wife and I were being seated at the fanciest restaurant at a resort on our honeymoon. As I tried to push myself closer to the table, I inadvertently ripped the entire arm off the chair. I’ll never forget the shame of handing the arm to the hostess. But enough of this sad stuff. On to Splintered Throne the band.

Splintered Throne hails from Portland, Oregon, and while The Greater Good of Man is their third full-length album, it’s something of a fresh start for the band. After founding member and longtime vocalist Brian Garrison left, the band brought celebrated blues singer Lisa Mann into the fold, and it doesn’t take long for her to prove that she’s more than a match for Splintered Throne’s heavy/power/hard rock formula. The band launches straight into “The Reaper is Calling,” a hard-charging heavy-verging-on-power metal track that’s equal parts Dio and Dream Evil, and Mann’s vocals fit perfectly. But as badly as I want to use that track as the embedded sample, I’ve opted to go with a different single. “Morning Star Rising” is a slow-burning Dio-Sabbath hard rocker, and it really showcases Mann’s smooth yet bluesy voice as she croons over subdued verses and powerful choruses.

And those two tracks demonstrate The Greater Good of Man’s greatest strength: its variety. “The Reaper is Calling” is joined by other power metal tracks like “The Crossing” and “Night of the Heathens,” while the bluesy, heartfelt emotion of “Morning Star Rising” finds its match in “Let it Rain,” “Underdogs,” and a rerecorded version of the band’s 2017 track, “Immortal.” Splintered Throne also knows how to make relatively straightforward hard rock songs sound special, with “Time Stands Still” and the killer title track ending up as album highlights—the latter doing so while effectively calling out humanity’s tendency to wallow in selfishness.

There’s precious little to criticize about The Greater Good of Man. My restrained score for the record says more about the band’s potential than it does about any specific deficiency to be found here. Splintered Throne is insanely talented, and I feel like they’re just barely scratching the surface of that talent here. I’ve mentioned Mann’s performance enough for you to know that she’s the MVP on this album, but let’s not forget the rest of the band. The guitar duo of Matt Dorado and Jason Moser have obviously been around the block and play the the record’s varied styles incredibly well, and bassist Brian Bailey and drummer Kris Holboke give the songs weight even during the more somber sections. If you like this style, you’re going to like the whole platter, but for standouts, check out “The Reaper is Calling,” “Morning Star Rising,” “The Greater Good of Man,” “Let it Rain,” “Underdogs,” and “Time Stands Still.”

By adding The Greater Good of (Lisa) Mann to their arsenal, Splintered Throne have set themselves up for traditional metal and hard rock domination. The Greater Good of Man is a very good record that should please those metal fans who wouldn’t mind if Unleash the Archers and Seven Kingdoms added some old-school bluesy hard rock to their sound, and it’s kept me on the edge of my seat—a dangerous position for me to be in—for weeks now.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 224 kbps mp3
Label: C-Squared Music
Websites: splinteredthrone.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/splintered.throne | splinteredthrone.com
Releases Worldwide: August 19th, 2022

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