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Iron Thrones - "The Wretched Sun" (CD)

Iron Thrones - "The Wretched Sun" CD cover image

"The Wretched Sun" track listing:

1. Like A Moth To Flame
2. Ever Flowing
3. Against The Grain
4. I Once Had The Crown
5. Forever Glowing
6. And The Sky Came Falling Down

Reviewed by on July 30, 2010

"It’s no doubt Iron Thrones had a vision in mind when writing for 'The Wretched Sun,' as it is a consistent record, but just not as breathtaking as their debut."

Iron Thrones is a young band which does things their own way or no way. The focal point of the “No Label Needed” movement; Iron Thrones is one of the premier bands in the new wave of progressive metal who are forging their own path to metal stardom. Having stormed onto the scene with their incredible debut “Visions Of Light,” Iron Thrones instantly became recognized for their bone crushing take on progressive metal. With the release of their second album, “The Wretched Sun,” the band keeps on the same path without steering to far left of center.

“The Wretched Sun” begins with “Like A Moth To Flame,” a straight to the point deather that hits heavy and hard. The song’s near deathcore-like atmosphere works as a great opener but also drags on a bit much for a song with little-to-no experimentation. Much of the album follows in the same vein with more focus put towards the band’s aggressive metal sound rather than the softer sections, which does hold “The Wretched Sun” back from being something amazing.

“Against the Grain” is one of the longer tracks on the record and is the first on the album to demonstrate Iron Throne’s true sound. Drifting between brutal, technical death metal and soft progressive rock elements, “Against the Grain” gives the album the much needed injection of imagination, ending with a clean vocal section worthy of any Opeth comparisons. “I Once Had The Crown” works in much the same way, but in reverse. Starting with a well executed picking section and ambient soundscapes it sends the listener into a calming trance before knocking them over with pummeling death metal ferocity. The transition repeats itself a few times over and works its way to include a great simplistic guitar solo which builds the melody for the song moving forward through its epic twelve minute length.

“The Wretched Sun” ends with “And The Sky Came Falling Down,” which is the true high point of the record, featuring a fantastic melody that layers itself on top of the brutal, raspy intro. The clean moments that follow include the best singing on the entire record and provides the track with a great retro prog feel, that is until the death metal is brought back to the forefront. Crushing, technical, catchy, and melodic are all words used to describe the closing track, which is what redeems the album from its earlier flaws.

When all is said and done, “The Wretched Sun” is a good progressive death metal album but it’s not great. Many of the heavier sections tend to bleed into one another, sounding quite similar with little variation. It’s no doubt Iron Thrones had a vision in mind when writing for “The Wretched Sun,” as it is a consistent record, but just not as breathtaking as their debut. The sophomore slump might have stricken Iron Thrones, but they are only just beginning.

Highs: The later parts of the album demonstrate Iron Throne's overall talent at combining the soft with the heavy.

Lows: Some earlier moments sound more along the lines of deathcore.

Bottom line: Fans of heavier progressive metal will enjoy this album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)