Blood Red Throne
Souls Of Damnation
posted on 6/2009 By:
In many cases, the joy of listening to a newly-acquired album comes from surprises—the thrill we get from encountering unexpected twists and daring lyrical sleight-of-hand.
Souls of Damnation is not one of those cases.
Blood Red Throne are approaching ‘institution’ status. The Norwegian death metallers have been releasing albums every two years for a decade now, and judging by this slaughterhouse of a fifth release, they won’t be slowing down or altering their approach....ever. Further, prime axeman Tchort has put longtime collaborators Green Carnation on hold and left Carpathian Forest, ensuring that BRT will be the center of his attention for the foreseeable future. So if you’re hankering for to-the-point, very Eastern European-sounding death metal, look no further.
It’s strange that a DM band from Norway, which isn’t widely regarded as a death metal hotbed, would choose to ignore the influence of their famed Swedish neighbors. BRT certainly do, instead drawing heavily from another thriving death metal scene—Poland’s. Like Vader or early Decapitated, Souls of Damnation takes the rickety, thrashy approach of older Floridian acts like Monstrosity and Malevolent Creation and soups it up into a precise, icy murder machine. That’s not to say that BRT have resorted to over-the-top technicality. Rather, their catchy-but-classic riffment is delivered without a single flaw (a nod to forefathers who had little to do beyond drink rationed vodka and practice their instruments, perhaps). Sometimes it’s hard to tell which decade this album came from; the riffs are pure 90’s malevolence, but the performances and Valle Adzic’s glitzy production scream “right fucking now, bitches!” The latter element might put off those in search of a filthier, crustier sound, but even then Adzic’s gloss isn’t overwhelming.
Souls of Damnation has no shortage of great moments. Harrowing blasts and spiky (and audible!) bass guitar runs abound on “Your Cold Flesh,” which neatly balances the sickening stomp that introduces “Human Fraud.” The main riff from the awesomely-titled “Not Turgenjev, But Close” provides a supremely evil counterpoint to the surprise upbeat melodic section closer “Ten Steps of Purgatory”…but even the fun bits are overwhelmingly familiar. There’s no question that this album will lose some shelf life because of redundancy, but that’s not a complaint. I, like virtually everyone who will check out this album, knew exactly what to expect from the get-go, and Blood Red Throne delivers in spades. Souls of Damnation is a triumph of execution, if not of ideas, and it's a nice reminder that no-frills death metal can still fucking shred.
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