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Thoren - Gwarth II

Gwarth II
by Cherie Wong at 27 January 2020, 8:43 PM

On February 7, 2020, THOREN will release “Gwarth II.” THOREN is an instrumental progressive death metal project based out of Detroit. Formed in 2013, the core members are Anthony Lipari and Joseph Paquette. Drumming was provided by Alex Cohen (ex-PYRRHON and IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT) on tracks 2, 5, 7, and 9 and by Kenny Grohowski (IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT) on tracks 1, 3, 4, and 6. “Gwarth II” is the follow up to “Gwarth I,” which was released in late 2018. According to guitarist Anthony, almost all the tracks of “Gwarth I” and “Gwarth II” were recorded at the same session and were intended to be on the same album. However, upon realizing how dense the music was, the band decided to split the album into two parts.

“Gwarth II” is 30 minutes of extraordinarily dissonant instrumental music. At first listen, this album might sound like a drawn out cacophonous nightmare. It is hard to tell the songs apart even after a few listens. However, after a few listens, a few of the tracks do offer something unique. In addition, it is difficult to deny their technical prowess, especially since each instrument is clamoring for your attention at all times. The guitar part ranges from shrill jarring riffs to distorted low slams. The bass lays a low groove to each track. Though there are two different drummers, they’re both great at complementing the riffs with interesting beats.

As an introduction, the titular first track “Gwarth” is a good display of what the range that can be expected from the album. One of the memorable passages that stood out to me was on the third track “Thaw Gur.” At the minute and a half mark, the guitarist plays a melody of sharp notes to add to the discordant sound rather than relying on slams and distortion. The sixth track “Raun Raeg” stood out to me for the same reason. On both the eighth track “Lithui” and the closing track “Firen,” the band shows that they are capable of showing a bit of restraint while still creating dissonant music. These tracks also don’t have any drumming. I admit I wish that these were spaced out more evenly on the album as the music is punishing and requires more breaks.

Overall, I recommend this album to fans of extreme instrumental progressive and technical death metal. If you enjoy bands like BLOTTED SCIENCE or MESHUGGAH, then THOREN might be for you. This album is definitely not easy listening and it was difficult to describe and review. Not everybody will get it, but I recommend you give it a spin if you are intrigued by my review here.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Gwarth
2. Naeg
3. Thaw Gur
4. Vex
5. Gorthad
6. Raun Raeg
7. Egladhrim
8. Lithui
9. Suith
10. Firen
Anthony Lipari – Guitars
Joseph Paquette – Bass
Alex Cohen – Drums
Kenny Grohowski – Drums
Record Label: Drylands Records


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Edited 28 January 2023

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