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Whore of Bethlehem - "Upon Judas' Throne" (CD)

Whore of Bethlehem - "Upon Judas' Throne" CD cover image

"Upon Judas' Throne" track listing:

1. Upon Judas' Throne
2. Hideous Resurrection
3. Christ Crusher
4. The Crowning Moment
5. Nocturnal Hauntings
6. Storm of Plague
7. Castle of Meth
8. Leviathan's Crown
9. Detest the Belief
10. Conjuring Your Death

Reviewed by on August 8, 2014

"While brutal and nefarious, WOB doesn't appear influenced by more typical slam-groove bands like Dying Fetus and Devourment. Groove certainly plays a part in the sound, but the rolling rhythms of Morbid Angel and blackened death of Behemoth come to mind."

With a name like Whore of Bethlehem one can deduce this is no gospel band. The Central Texas-based artist's self-released debut full-length contains nine songs (“Castle of Meth” is of another subject matter) devoted to blaspheming the cross. This rebellion against the world's most established religion first caught my ear in the words "infect the world with the Christian cancer" on the track "Christ Crusher."

"Upon Judas' Throne" may be the first album of substantial length by WOB, but the band's members are veterans in the Texas death metal scene. They have lent their names to prominent acts such as Flesh Hoarder, Disfigured, Scattered Remains, and Uncleansed. While brutal and nefarious, WOB doesn't appear influenced by more typical slam-groove bands like Dying Fetus and Devourment. Groove certainly plays a part in the sound, but the rolling rhythms of Morbid Angel and blackened death of Behemoth come to mind.

The title track and album opener is a good example of the Morbid Angel influence. The track shows the band's ability to build a riff through velocity. Drummer Rene Martinez keeps the pace varied following Ryan Sylvie and Phil King's variation on a riff. Martinez ignites "Nocturnal Hauntings" with impressive rolls before launching into a blistering blast beat. The following track, "Storm of Plague" could be called Storm of Beats as Martinez moves his sticks at dizzying speeds.

James Vanderberg growls deeply but discernibly, and he maintains a varied vocal delivery throughout the album. This brings to mind Deicide, if only in approach. "Hideous Resurrection" and "Leviathan's Crown" features ringing chords perfect for Vanderberg to hold out his longest shrieks and growls. The doomy, string-bent chords on this track are some of the album's most diabolic sounds. "Storm of Plague" includes some catchy fretwork (and a killer solo) while the guitars on "Castle of Meth" are blacker than the teeth of this castle's residents. The high-low string manipulation of "Crowning Moment" results in one of the bleaker sounding songs on the album.

WOB created some solid tunes with "Upon Judas' Throne." The riffs are catchy and the drumming is spectacular. Lyrically, WOB is on the same level of blasphemy as Deicide and Morbid Angel. Without the problem of becoming repetitious, there are some parts I wished the band would ride a little longer. All in all, though, "Upon Judas' Throne" is a strong first effort.

Highs: From the speed to tempo changes, the drumming is superb.

Lows: Some parts could be ridden longer for a greater lasting effect.

Bottom line: This blackened death offering is a strong first effort.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)