|Genre:||Melodic Black Metal|
|Release Date:||31st of March, 2023|
|Released via||Listenable Records|
|Cover Artwork||Khaos Diktator Design|
THRON from the German black forest area have quickly been able to making a name for themselves since their formation in 2015. With the release of three critically acclaimed studio releases already under their belt (the latest and most prominent being Pilgrim in 2021) which gained them international respect and support slots for such prolific acts as the almighty Behemoth, the band aims for the Melodic Black Metal throne with their new album simply titled Dust.
If you’re already familiar with the sound THRON have been cultivating over the few years since their inception, Dust, most likely named after one of 2021’s Pilgrim’s highlights, will not shock you with a complete 180 in the songwriting department. There are still plenty of melodic twin guitar tremolo picked riffs, lightning fast blast attacks and catchy leads to be found throughout its runtime. This is shown during the album’s strong but predictable opening duo as well as on straighter songs such as late album highlight “The Wrong God”. Therefore, the Dissection / Necrophobic influence mixed with early Swedish Death Metal traits is still as prevalent as expected. But throughout Dust, THRON manage to set themselves apart from the trademark sound that has been established in the beginning of the 90’s, by implementing more complex strong structures and progressive influences akin to Mercyful Fate into their sound. This is amplified in the albums longer cuts such as “The Tyranny Of I” or “The Golden Calf”, where short melodic breaks and tempo shifts are integrated into the onslaught that makes up for the majority of the tracks. “The True Belief” also offers the listener more room to breathe with its more relaxed verses and subdued Goth influence. Because of these cleverly placed turns, Dust hardly becomes stale. And while all individual performances are certainly more proficient than the usual genre standards, a special mention has to go to the undisclosed drummer who provides a stunning performance throughout Dust, showing rapid fire speed, intricate cymbal work and numerous rhythmic shifts.
To save best things for last, Dust closes out with its most ambitious track “Martyr.” With this song, THRON demonstrate just how far they’ve come as songwriters culminating all their influences into one of their strongest songs of their career. While some of these tracks still might offer some room for trimming in certain places, the nuanced shifts in mood presented througout Dust work wonders for the album’s general dynamic. Speaking of dynamic, the production could use a more natural sound. While the mix is crisp and clear, it ultimately feels a little too sterile for my taste. Maybe that’s just me.
And in the end that should take away from the enjoyability of Dust and the fact that this album is already an early highlight in this year’s modern Black Metal release circuit. For future releases it will be interesting to see if THRON take their sound even further into adventurous territory, picking up the progressive traces shown here. Until then, there is plenty to enjoy on the latest installment of Germany’s hottest (or should I say iciest?!) Melodic Black Metal act.