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Wednesday 25 September 2019

Reviews: Blood Red Throne, The Agonist, Block Buster, A Joker's Rage (Matt, Paul S & Paul H)

Blood Red Throne: Fit To Kill (Mighty Music) [Paul Scoble]

Blood Red Throne have been in existence for 21 years, the five piece from Norway have produced 8 albums before Fit To Kill, the last being Union Of Flesh And Machine released in 2016. Blood Red Throne specialise in a fairly old school style of death metal, but like a few other old school death metal bands that have been going for a long time they are incredibly proficient and are very good musicians. This leads to old school death metal that is so well played, with fantastic solos and brilliant riffs. Last years Unleashed album had a similar feel; old school blasting and savagery, but with a technical ability that rivals any modern technical death metal. The album opens with one of the best tracks on the album; Requiem Mass. The opening of the song is almost perfect. A fantastic build up so that when the first rippingly savage blast riff comes in it’s just so satisfying, and the rest of the song doesn’t disappoint either, huge inertia to all the riffs, and beautifully melodic and well played solo, great start! Bloodity is a barrage of taut riffs, it has a dense powerful verse and more expansive chorus. Killing Machine Pt.2 is a mix of driving mid-paced riffs and and slower heavy as anything riffs. The mid-paced riffs have a little bit of a ‘Galloping Horse’ quality to them.

WhoreZone is uptempo and maybe a little bit D-beat, it’s driving and has loads of inertia, the track also boast some very pleasing slow and heavy parts as well. Skyggemannen opens with a massive blast beat before going into a slower and more measured section. The slow parts of this album have a really purposeful intent to them, they are aggressive and feel unstoppable. The song juxtaposes these two feels for the rest of the song, ending on a fantastic blast riff. InStructed InSanity has a nasty discordant opening, before mixing fast and savage with slow and heavy. Movement Of The Parasites is lacking in blast beat style riffs but makes up for it by having some insanely powerful slow and heavy, and measured and melodic mid-paced sections. Deal It Or Die is discordant at the beginning before being slow, grinding, unstoppable and heavy as all fuck. The song has a very melodic and tuneful solo and is a very impressive piece of mid-paced death metal brutality. The album is brought to an end by by the appropriately titled End. The song is a mix of mid-paced riffs and faster blast heavy passages, and is an absolute corker of a track, a really great track to end the album on. Fit To Kill is a great album. An album that sits near (if not at) the top of what Blood Red Throne have produced in their long career. The album has all the great aspects of old school death metal, whilst also having loads of modern chops and ability. This is an essential piece of Death Metal. 8/10

The Agonist: Orphans (Rodeostar Records) [Matt Bladen]

The sixth album from Canadian melo-deathers is the third with Vicky Psarakis behind the mic and it's probably their most melodic, extreme album so far with Psarakis' vocals the real feature of this record as her cleans soar above the thrashy riffs bringing the melodic touches on A Devil Made Me Do It but where she really shows her power is with the guttural roars on tracks such as the thunderous In Vertigo which has some huge choirs behind the complex guitar leads and blast beats. That's a perfect way to open this album but the power of this album is in it's diversity with the anthemic metalcore of As One We Survive to the almost power metal sound of Blood As My Guide. The problem is though technically impressive and vocally dexterous The Agonist are a melodic death metal band a genre that is massively over subscribed and there is a train of thought that says the band lost their biggest asset when Alissa White-Gluz, but I disagree they are as good now as they were then, possibly better vocally but melo-death is a genre that so often leaves me cold and unfortunately this album while good had my attention wandering about half way through, still if you're a fan you'll love it. 7/10    

Block Buster: Losing Gravity (Frontiers Records) [Paul Hutchings]

Another new signing to Frontiers, Block Buster are a four-piece outfit from Finland. Losing Gravity boasts one of the worst covers I’ve ever seen. However, their music is better than their artwork with a mix of styles making this an enjoyable listen. Out In The City opens the album, an energetic hard rocker, quickly followed by the Royal Blood sounding Gone By The Morning, the staccato stutter style working well. Flammable is another punchy rousing song, with some neat harmonies but it is the title track which really stands out. Some fabulous guitar work, a delicious hook mellow yet perfectly balanced and the first song to really grab the attention. It’s not all fabulous though, Sweet Mary Jane is a throwaway formulaic track and Walking Like A Dog isn’t much better, with pretty lazy lyrics and a dull pace which is interspersed high-pitched harmonies which add little. In fact, the second half of the album is substantially weaker with closing song Bulletproof possibly the runt of the whole litter. A solid enough debut, but nothing to write home about. 5/10

A Joker's Rage: The Rain Dance (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

Three tracks into the new album from so called Northern Rock Powerhouse A Joker's Rage and my stomach churned as the electronically charge My Hero managed to bring to mind Don Broco, You Me At Six etc bands that I have absolutely no interest in and it goes on from there with a post-emo, meets modern radio rock tracks with some nasal vocals brought in for complete nausea. Apparently this band have a knack for using different styles and making an album sound cohesive and flow but all I hear is the music that has grown out of the Emo revolution in the early noughties, but still holds no reverence with me at all. Someone may love it, they may be daring and progressive to some but for me The Rain Dance is nothing more than a damp squib, which is a solid 5. However what I can't forgive though is their tribute to Freddie Mercury Ballet To The Masses which is an industrial rocker that name-checks Queen songs throughout and is bloody godawful! 3/10

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