You what mate? Doom? Six tracks….. an hour & twenty minutes long? I do the death & thrash stuff don’t I?
Well bugger me, this is good. Thronehammer are a trio hailing from the UK and Germany featuring members of Uncoffined / Naked Star and er…. The Walruz and they bring the fucking crush on this their debut album. Vocalist Kat Gillham has an impressive set of pipes and reminds me of Tony Martin’s performance on “Headless Cross” (my favourite Sabbath album incidentally). She utterly slays on the mic with an impressive range and clarity and coupled with the ludicrously heavy riffing of Stuart “Booty” West make this a pretty monstrous collection of imposing doom. The promo material states “Candlemass meets Bathory meets Warhorse” and, for once, the promo writers nail it.
Album opener “Behind the Wall of Frost” is instantly daunting with its seventeen minute length and I was thinking I’d get bored or tap out but no, this may be long but it is utterly enthralling. “Conquered and Erased” is only a marginally less scary prospect at eleven minutes but just as engrossing as the opener. There’s a lot going on in these songs beyond the obvious slab-heavy doom tropes. The band create very layered dynamic soundscapes & throw in the odd digital effect and acoustic interlude. Never over indulgent (well maybe a bit) and certainly not boring which is what I first feared.
Warhorn is probably my favourite track and it really reminds me of “Piece Of Mind” era Maiden slowed down with Gillham doing her best (and a decent one too) Bruce Dickinson impression. At least it is for the first six minutes or so before we flick the “crush” switch and the neck bothering riffing slows to a snail’s pace and the fuzz drenched soloing threatens to remove your eyebrows and at 16m14 Gillham emits a fag & cider drenched growl that would humble Ben Ward.
“Usurper of the Oaken Throne” is probably the heaviest album you’ll hear this decade and if you’re not a fan of “epic funeral doom” don’t be intimidated….. ok… be a bit intimidated but buy it anyway. Good work!
(8/10 Mark Eve)