July 2021 Feature Release – The Horde Edition
So just like that we find that a new month is upon us which of course means that we’ll be nominating a brand new monthly feature release for each clan. This essentially means that we’re asking you to rate, review & discuss our chosen features for no other reason than because we enjoy the process & banter. We’re really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our chosen releases so don’t be shy.
This month’s feature release for The Horde has been nominated by Ben. It's 2005's third album from Norwegian death metal outfit Blood Red Throne entitled "Altered Genesis". I've had a bit of time for Blood Red Throne over the years & have also really enjoyed them in a live environment so I'm looking forwards to revisiting this release, particularly as Ben has been on an impressive run of form with selecting feature releases that appeal to my unique taste profile.
First off, sterling choice for The Horde featured release Ben. I had never heard any Blood Red Throne before this, and I am kicking myself for missing out on Altered Genesis for so long. I did wonder when doing my research on this band quite how they would incorporate Scandinavian death metal and black metal elements into their sound as Wikipedia/Metal Archives seemed to indicate. I think it is fair to say that I hear no bm on Altered Genesis, this is a straight up, face ripper of a death metal record. Firmly routed in the vein of Cannibal Corpse, Vomitory and Bloodbath this is intense death metal with a groovy set of riffs and some clever technical elements to elevate it beyond those base CC comparators.
In terms of track sequencing, at first glance it just looks like BRT have slammed back-to-back raging death metal bangers for a twelve-track album. However, this is a cleverly put together death metal album that takes in regular gasps of fresh air to reinvigorate itself at various points over the album. For the first four or five tracks they build up the duration of each track, concisely increasing the experience of their scathing death metal style. The band peak out around the five-and-a-half-minute point in terms of the longest track (the title track as it happens) before finishing off the album with a storming culmination of three tracks under four minutes long to complete the experience pretty much how it started.
Around the halfway point the album takes on a slightly more technical edge as the bass seems to become more prominent in the sound, touching on Suffocation like audibility as well as Dying Fetus like runs where the four strings seem to go off on their own tangent. This really piques the interest levels for me at a point where most albums start to lose my interest. It is like the band have held back an element of their sound on purpose so they can tease the listener’s ears further. This technical edge also makes the twelve tracks more manageable as you go through arguably three different stages of evolution with the album overall.
The delivery of the album is exactly how most death metal fans would want to hear their death metal played, fast, heavy and utterly relentless. I cannot remember many albums outside of the early 90s that has this level of energy present from start to finish. It is like a Deicide record mentality played with a Suffocation level of technicality and entertained by some Swedish riffs for good measure. This was the last record to feature the stupidly named Mr. Hustler on vocals and so it will be interesting as I check out to see if there is any noticeable dip in quality on output after his departure because on here, he is superb. The vocals are consistent on the record and are perhaps the one element that does not change across the whole track listing, never adapting to become even a momentary scowl or shriek, opting instead to maintain that guttural style end-to-end.
It is fair to say that I am sold.
I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed this one Vinny. It's one of those albums where the generally mediocre ratings it receives are just totally at odds with my own experience, so it's nice to know I'm not alone in thinking it kicks ass.
Yeah I'm really digging this one too. I've been familiar with Blood Red Throne for more than a decade now & have always liked them. Ben & I actually got the chance to see them live at Hellfest 2012 & they were really solid in a live environment too. They're tight & brutal & have a very strong death metal pedigree. I love the gutteral vocals & the Cannibal Corpse style half-time riffage. The performance of the rhythm section is obviously pretty awesome too with the Alex Webster inspired bass playing of future Deeds Of Flesh & Spawn Of Possession member Erlend Caspersen & the powerful double kick work of Carpathian Forest, Green Carnation & In The Woods... drummer Anders Kobro being some of the highlights of the album.
There's just a few things that prevent Blood Red Throne from competing with the top tier of the death metal spectrum in my opinion. Firstly, they wear their influences very obviously on their sleeves. In fact I can pretty easily pick out where most of the riffs were derived from so it's lucky that they do it extremely well. It's just that they jump around a little bit in paying homage to one classic death metal band after another without ever really firming up their own identity. They probably missed an opportunity with the lead guitar work too as I feel that a more accomplished performance could have taken them to the next level. But the main reason that I can't quite get my scoring up to the higher end is the inclusion of some fairly generic riffs here & there. These often come with some bouncy up-beat drumming that doesn't appeal to me all that much too &, although these sections usually only stick around for a short period, they've managed to encourage me to drop a half mark off my rating in the process. Still... this is a very high quality death metal record with great intensity & brutality & I'd be surprised if any fans of the genre fail to find enjoyment in it.
For fans of Cannibal Corpse, Vomitory & Cannabis Corpse.
Not exactly the sort of death metal I usually go for, this. It seems to take a lot of influence from early Cannibal Corpse and I did listen to quit a bit of CC back in the day, along with the likes of Deicide and Morbid Angel, but of those only Morbid Angel really stuck with me through to today. I prefer death metal a little looser and more abyssal-sounding as I'm sure you all know by now. That said, I've given this four or five spins and I haven't got fed up of it yet. This is probably about as intense and brutal as I go with death metal, I'm not at all into the br00tality wars that seems to afflict a lot of the more extreme DM bands, but this has a nice trade-off between brutality and listenability. One thing I couldn't get enough of with this album was that bass sound - I just wish it was a bit more prominent because it seriously kicks the proverbial ass, especially on the pair of tracks Arterial Lust and Flesh to Destroy. The vocals are great (at what they are intended to do) and remain consistent throughout the album, the drumming is energetic, tight and focussed. I must admit that whilst listening through, the album does run together a bit for me, but then a killer riff jumps out and grabs me by the throat, demanding more of my attention and this happens often enough to keep me listening. There are a couple of tracks in the middle of the album that feel a bit more technical and I didn't enjoy them anything like as much - my aversion to tech-death being fairly well-documented by now.
Overall, this was an album I got quite a bit out of, considering that it does reside a little out of my comfort zone. I wanted to give it a 4, but I think realistically, for me it's got to be a 3.5/5.
I can't deny that this absolutely rips, the deepness of the chugs is brutal but still discernable and most of the transitions are on point, but like Sonny this isn't exactly my style when it comes to Death Metal. The vocals are a bit too one note and too vomited-out for me personally and I lose interest in the whole affair by track 8 or 9, but this definitely isn't low quality stuff and I'm surprised that, according to Ben, seasoned Death Metal listeners seem to write this one off. Even though I can't see myself going back to this one it's definitely above average when it comes to slightly-less-than Brutal/Slam Death Metal. The riffs are on point, the more melodic and technical stuff like at the end of "Mephitication" is cool and interesting, so I'm willing to rate it fairly highly.