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Blood Red Throne - Fit to Kill Award winner

Blood Red Throne
Fit to Kill
by Chris Hawkins at 06 August 2019, 6:40 PM

Over the course of eight previous releases, beginning with 2001’s triumphant “Monument of Death,” BLOOD RED THRONE have carved a palpable legacy for themselves in the Norwegian scene.  The bands roots go deep, all the way back to 1998 when Død and Tchort, both already respected musicians in the Black Metal scene having played with the likes of SATYRICON and EMPEROR respectively, decided to form the project to showcase their passion for pure, undiluted, Death Metal without compromise.  It was a genre choice that may have seemed like trying run uphill but they effectively gained the status of a big fish or more appropriately, a great white shark, in a small pond.  The band now stand prepared to unleash their latest, “Fit to Kill” via Mighty Music on September 13, 2019.

Perhaps what is most aesthetically pleasing about BLOOD RED THRONE’s sound is that even when firing off some of the most maniacal, twisted riffs and rhythms, there is an inherent musical quality that manifests itself.  Over the years, the band have managed to refine their craft so finely as to create music that while shockingly intense retains an underlying melody along with an adherence to song structure.  What is immediately apparent when listening to “Fit to Kill” is the robust productions.  From the very beginning with the first track, “Requiem Mass,” the overall sound is like a legion of Roman soldiers charging en mass and pillaging through the battlefield.  The drums are equalized pristinely with a thunderous bass drum sound and clean, crisp cymbal crashes.  The bass, as heard especially in the fourth track, “WhoreZone,” is round, deep, and encrusted with just enough dirt and grit to allow it to genuinely pop perfectly out of the mix.  The vocals do not overpower the instruments but instead compliment them perfectly with a dry lung, guttural style reminiscent of the genre’s heavyweights.

The guitars themselves deserve a closer look exclusively.  In a day and age when Metal producers have lazily compromised innovation to copy and paste what has already worked for other bands, “Fit to Kill” is the forceful kick to the teeth the scene has needed.  The guitar sound is a game changer.  While they are absolutely saturated with distortion, no tonal integrity is sacrificed.  As heard on first single and fifth track, “Skyggemannen,” the guitars have an intense bite with a finely-focused articulation.  There isn’t a particular type of riff or picking style that overpowers the rest as fullness is retained whether tremolo picking, letting chords ring, or executing pummeling palm-muted sections.  The solos are challenging yet not overindulgent or cliched.

BLOOD RED THRONE is most endearing due to the importance the band places upon momentum and dynamics in the songs.  In no way can this album be written off as some easily categorized, neatly-fitting genre placement.  No, this is not just another, (add your own prefix) Death Metal album.  Instead, the band operates according to its own ethos, its own mandate of quality and adherence to challenging music that moves you.  The groove is strong with this one.  Take, for example, “Movement of the Parasites,” the seventh track.  Intense polyrhythms, dissonant chords, and huge shifts of momentum are all utilized to create a song that is absolutely irresistible in its to and fro.  Experience and deft skill help to craft memorable songs such as this but equally important is vision.  The band obviously has a vision of the opus they wish to create shared through the members and unified in song.

Fit to Kill” is by far the most impressive Death Metal album this year.  While it is impossible not to be blown away by the quality of the riffs upon first listening, that is not to say the album easily grows stale.  Rather, this is one of those albums one can come back to time after time and get a fresh bludgeoning by noticing new nuances in the mix.  Rarely does a band come along that so successfully blends sheer brutality with catchy hooks and breakdowns without sounding derived or watered down.  There have been some strong Death Metal albums this year, but as of today, August 6, 2019, this is by far the very best.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9



4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Requiem Mass
2. Bloodity
3. Killing Machine Pt. 2
4. WhoreZone
5. Skyggemannen
6. InStructed InSanity
7. Movement of the Parasites
8. Deal it or Die
9. End

Lineup:
Freddy Bolsø - Drums
Død – Guitar
Ivan Gujic - Guitar
Stian Gundersen – Bass
Yngve “Bolt” Christiansen – Vocals

Record Label: Mighty Music
     


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