Woe Of Tyrants
posted on 5/2010 By:
Christian-leaning melodic-slash-technical death metal outfit Woe Of Tyrants returns with another Black Dahlia Murder-leaning slab of catchy-and-complicated death metal, one that doesn’t completely ape that better known band but has more than enough in line with it to warrant the inevitable comparison.
Opening with a toss-off instrumental intro and then "Creatures Of The Mire," which is both the album’s hardest-edged moment and least-interesting track, Threnody establishes itself initially as a tech-fest, before adding a more melodic angle in "Venom Eye" and beyond. Vocalist Chris Catanzaro employs the expected alternating patterns, guttural lows and midrange rasps, with the latter both more prominent and more engaging. Instrumentally, the true standout here is drummer Johnny Roberts, whose performance is monstrous. Although the guitar tandem of Nick Dozer and Matt Kincaid blitz through their riffs with skill and fury, many of their riffs—particularly their most technical moments, those snaking and interwoven dizzying half-lead/half-riff combinations—tend not to stick with me longer than the album’s running time.
On the song front, the record is stronger in the middle than on either end, with some nice mid-disc touches including the goth-tinted female vocals in "Tempting The Wretch" and the title track’s spiraling and pedaling acoustic riff that segues into one of the better melodeath-ish moments on hand, with frantic drums and tremolo-picked melodies atop keyboard pads. The album’s most musically interesting moment is the Arabic-tinged instrumental "The Venus Orbit," which rides a droning Middle Eastern-styled riff and tribal drumming into the thrash-toned and arpeggio-laden blasting of "Lightning Over Atlantis."
I admit that I’m not familiar with Woe Of Tyrants’ back catalog, so how this one stacks up against earlier efforts, I can’t say, but I can say that I found Threnody something of a pleasant surprise. The production is perfectly shiny; the songs are generally engaging, if ultimately a bit predictable and occasionally a bit bland; the performances are certainly respectable, if again, a bit undistinguished. While Threnody won’t make my top ten list this year, and while it treads the line of cookie-cutter major-indie-label metal these days, it manages to maintain its footing and remains a solid listen for fans of modern melodic-tinged death metal.
And for those of you whose brain clicked off after the very first word of this review, it's perhaps worthy of note that Woe Of Tyrants take an oblique approach to proselytizing, and I’m not certain I would have known this was a Christian-themed band had I not read reports to that effect. Musically, Threnody is as biting and tight as any of the other (largely faceless) bands of the same ilk, no matter what unbearable positivity may lurk beneath Catanzaro’s throat-rending retch.
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