Throne of the Annunaki
posted on 8/2007 By:
Ah, “extreme metal”. The term, in and of itself, is something of a cop-out, but despite this fact, this is the tag Annunaki prefer to brand themselves with. Unappealing and vague as it may be, there really is no better way to describe this band. Their sound is a distinctly American amalgamation of black, thrash, and death (in that order?), and carries a roughhewn youthfulness on its scarred back. In addition, they contain a certain ferocity that belies the workmanlike nature of their compositions. Despite this fervor, it’s apparent that this is a debut album, and it succumbs to some of the typical trappings.
Annunaki adhere to a head-down, spiked-gauntlet style of forehead-punching heavy metal which is best compared to the devastation that Goatwhore wreaked on their last album. This is not a freely-tossed comparison; A Haunting Curse was my favorite album of 2006. With that fact established, one can excuse my initial infatuation with this album. On first listen, this sounds like a hidden treasure, but after the charm wears off, it’s more akin to finding four bucks in the dryer. This band creates riffs as if they were building a wall…a hulking, massive, barrier with jagged edges protruding every couple of feet up. Tall, dark, and sturdy as fuck, the wall does its job well, but it’s gray façade isn’t something that you’re going to want to go stare down every day, much less scale. Some of these riffs ride hard with the best of ‘em, a prime example being the vertebreaker at the 2:20 mark of “Torture”. On the other hand, a significant portion of their riffs are pretty damn vanilla. As such, the record comes across as somewhat pedestrian at times, and after the initial rush of this buzzsaw onslaught has passed, this thing boils down to being just another first record from a bunch of ardent metalheads.
That certain lingering, I’m-not-as-impressed-as-I-thought-I-was feeling could easily be remedied, however. Throne of the Annunaki is home to a fully-fleshed 13 tracks, each of which speed along at an unrelenting clip. If condensed into a smaller package, by weeding out the stock riffage and focusing on a smaller collection of tracks, Annunaki’s enormous potential could be realized sooner rather than later. Frankly, his band has all the tools: A skilled vocal demon in Tony Stanziano (whose Falgoustian phrasings truly enhance the aforementioned comparison); a drummer with absolutely no regard for his own safety; a stringed duo with intentions of building towering structures of dirty, nastified, blackened deathrash. They just have to find their sweet spot, trim the fat, and stop leaning on the same tricks so often. John Blicharz’s Slayer-esque solos are soaked with so much whammy bar wailing and pop up so damn often that after the eighth song, I thought Kerry King’s bald, tribal tattooed head was going to poop out of my subwoofer. Variation, dude. It is your friend.
If the tone of this review seems all over the damn place, it’s because my emotions towards this beast are all over the damn place too. One spin will provoke belligerent horn-raising, while the next may prompt violent disc ejection. The tone of this record and the mission of the band are highly commendable, and this album is a cool little wrecker in and of itself. While it may leave a lot to be desired in terms of relevance and longevity, Throne of the Annunaki is worth a look if you’re into the giant middle finger, American-as-hell type of death dealing (which I most certainly am). This material probably kills live, especially a crusher like “Dysphoria Delerium”…so keep an eye on these guys, and remember their wicked name. With some fine tuning, this crew could be killing with the best of ‘em in no time. As of right now? I’ll be jamming on some Goatwhore. Call me later.
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