BLOOD RED THRONE
“For fans of brutal Scandinavian death metal”. So states the heading on the press blurb that came through with this promo. Kind of true, but Blood Red Throne have always been about more than mere “brutality”. And “brutal” seems to be the perennial go-to word to describe any band aligned with the extreme metal scene (from journos to PR folk to fans, they’re all guilty); so much so that its meaning has surely abated over time. For me, at least. And I groan whenever I see it written down (which, to be fair, I’ve probably been guilty of myself at some point!).
Too much death these days seems to succumb to genre clichés and monolithic banality (I eschewed using “brutality” there, albeit banality and brutality within the extreme metal scene have arguably become synonymous). However, Blood Red Throne have continued to forge their own path within the genre and their latest, 'Fit to Kill', is no exception. In 2019, they remain a fine example of the heterogeneity the genre can offer. These Norwegians, through various personnel changes, have always been great at adding breadth and depth to their deathed-up discharge. Low, mid and higher register growls keep matters interesting on the vocal side of things, whereas the seamless transitions between palm-muted thrash riffage, and the all-out frenzied passages of sonic cacophony remain well-balanced throughout and 100% engaging. The grooves help, too. Drums, bass and guitars combine to create plenty of very nice grooving moments. Blood Red Throne do heavy grooves ever so fucking well. And this album is a real groovy fucker. There's a ton of headbanging potential here, for sure, and no doubt mosh pit-inducing carnage for songs' more ferocious parts.
Varying tempos and different time signatures help keep matters interesting throughout, as does the disparate fretboard parts played masterfully by founding member Daniel “Død” Olaisen and 2010 recruit Ivan “Meathook” Gujic, including a healthy dose of palm-muted thrash riffage, some tremolo-picked blackened death passages, and engaging lead work. The drums, courtesy of the band’s original drummer, Freddy Bolsø, who returned behind the kit for 2016’s ‘Union of Flesh and Machine’, delivers the goods once again, with a phenomenal performance. He adds all kinds of engaging rhythmic variance to the compositional arrangements. Sometimes, the tempo changes in the blink of an eye, with fervent bursts of blast beats punctuating an otherwise mid-paced passage. Bassist Stian Gundersen is the new boy in the band, and brings some great low-end resonance to the songs. And Yngve “Bolt” Christianse’s vocals remain the gutturally efficacious experience they always have been.
Collectively, Blood Red Throne have delivered another strong album where they’ve succeeded in crafting a series of tracks where the overall mood is generally one of darkness. However, it’s not just dark in general tone; rather, Blood Red Throne have managed to conjure up an affectively morbid atmosphere that conveys a serious sense of menace, be it through sonic ferocity or brooding, down-tempo gloom. There, I didn’t resort to the “B” word once.
FIT TO KILL
Review by Mark Holmes
13th Sept 2019
1) Requiem Mass
3) Killing Machine pt 2
6) InStructed InSanity
7) Movement of the Parasites
8) Deal it or Die
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...Blood Red Throne have managed to conjure up an affectively morbid atmosphere that conveys a serious sense of menace, be it through sonic ferocity or brooding, down-tempo gloom."