Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Skullthrone - Demo

London two piece Skullthrone are a burst of black metal that's had plenty of years to fester in punk's corpse. Their demo, recorded throughout 2010 and '11 is a nice mixture of aggressive and raw black metal which falls upon melodic and recognizable refrains yet attacks with a hardcore sense of energy.

The band's eight song demo covers a broad spectrum of approaches and does well to incorporate a slew of distinct tropes and ideas in order to create a filthy mix that strays just enough from the beaten path to keep you attentive. Opener "I" has an awesome mid song break that spins out to this hypnotic snakelike tremolo riff. It's sections like that and the midsection of "IV" that really get me going. The punky bursts in between, like the main section of "II" doesn't get me the same way, but I do like some of the curve ball sections like "III's" shamble and the d-beat urgency of "VI."

While the band's articulation and wealth of ideas does well to keep the demo varied, each track feels a bit too separate in terms of momentum. I can really dig on a track or two at a time, but with the demo playing  in full, the abrupt shifts from one track to another makes it feel a bit too unfocused. Where "I" relies heavily on blast beats and a dizzying tremolo refrain, "II" breaks into a mid-pace punk thud that doesn't connect so well. This flopping between attacks continues from one track to the next. It does show the band's prowess in terms of approach and ability to mix things up, but it feels like they're not picking the bone clean of a good idea when they find one.

But, enough complaining. I'm thankful the band doesn't suffer the opposite and run an idea into the ground. Skullthrone's demo is a promising piece of filthy black metal that should appeal to fans of Horna and similar Finnish acts, 2nd wave acts, and current raw black metal acts that offer a touch of filth and punk to their mix.

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