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Throne Of Malediction - "Ceremonial Blood" (CD)

Throne Of Malediction - "Ceremonial Blood" CD cover image

"Ceremonial Blood" track listing:

1. Season of Death (4:23)
2. Ceremonial Blood (3:44)
3. Bloodlust and Perversion (3:50)
4. Vicious Fate (3:13)
5. The Only One (5:38)
6. Beneath the Winter Sun (1:50)
7. Inside This Decay (4:29)
8. Revoker of Dreams (3:50)
9. Never Enough (3:18)
10. Red Death (7:40)
11. Fake (3:18)
12. Empty Soul (2:57)
13. Black Test/Freestyle jam (bonus track) (3:45)
14. Never Enough/Verkrag mix (bonus track) (7:00)

Reviewed by on October 25, 2010

"The debut album 'Ceremonial Blood' sees Throne of Malediction shifting towards an old school European black metal sound, dropping out a lot of the different influences heard on the band’s previous EP, with a few exceptions."

Montana’s Throne of Malediction has finally put together a full-length effort, which moves the band forward and streamlines the sound a bit since the release of “EP 1” (reviewed here). The debut album “Ceremonial Blood” sees Throne of Malediction shifting towards an old school European black metal sound, dropping out a lot of the different influences heard on the band’s previous EP, with a few exceptions.

The biggest and most immediately noticeable change on this album is the direction of the production. While “EP 1” had segments that were almost too loud, now the music has very clearly veered into the “necro” style of black metal recording, using a far more muted tone. The faded sound basically screams out for the listener to crank up the volume to the max. Those “kvlt” aspects are prevalent throughout the entire disc, creating a feel of ‘90s style European bands. In homage to the genre, the band even includes a cover of Carpathian Forest’s “Bloodlust and Perversion.”

Changes in production aren’t the only major shift, as the vocal delivery has also turned more noticeably towards black metal. The melodic clean male vocals, which were at the forefront previously, have morphed into a less active role that echo from the background for atmospheric purposes. The infrequent female vocals are a boon to the music in a way that may surprise veterans of the genre. Delivered in a lower register than the standard “beauty and beast” style of Gothic or operatic vocals, they breathe in some extra life and originality that isn’t heard elsewhere.

Throne of Malediction is most definitely not a symphonic black metal band, but keyboards and backing sounds do play a recurring role. A constant theme of liquid flowing through a stream or out of a fountain keeps the album’s title in the audience’s mind at all times, as well as giving a rather disturbing visual. The howling wolves, Transylvanian keys, and flowing water at the beginning of “Red Death” are typical of the album, providing little touches of atmosphere to round out the sound.

There is a lot going on in any given song, but sometimes the different elements get lost in the wall of sound. Adding on the old school production does create some song bleed through as well, but it’s often staved off by changes in the formula between tracks. “Never Enough” stands out with its bass-heavy sound, while songs like “Fake” briefly step out of pure black metal to include tinges of death and thrash.

“Ceremonial Blood” is the next step in nailing down Throne of Malediction’s sound, and shows the band willing to try out new things, which in this instance was keeping a more consistent tone. Whether previous listeners loved the huge range of sounds on the first EP, or prefer a straight up black metal sound, the new album is worth checking out for fans of the underground.

Highs: Atmospheric necro style, interesting themes of blood flowing, unique female vocals.

Lows: The old school production creates some bleed through and some of the elements get lost in the wall of sound.

Bottom line: Throne of Malediction heads more towards an old school European black metal style, but still keeps some of the unique aspects heard in the debut EP.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 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)