For the first time during the course of their 25-year career Norwegian death metal icons Blood Red Throne have got the deal with Nuclear Blast, and in the beginning of October 2021, the tenth anniversary full-length album Imperial Congregation was released. And with a huge respect to death metal roots and classical traditions, Blood Red Throne still cherish their own trademark and continue to dissolve the brutality with the imperceptible sophistication of sound.
Blood Red Throne is very stable band, every two or three years they drop off a new album without stylistic changes or drastic experimentation. This band was created for the sake of death metal, their masterminds Død and Tchort (who left the band twelve years ago) wanted to reanimate this traditional and old school death metal spirit without messing around with black, progressive or whatthehellnot. It was always a kind of sanctuary where you can be open-minded and sincere with your feelings in respect for the mighty death metal. And the feelings have been mutual from the beginning – death metal scene adores these Norwegians, and the quality of songwriting and performance is also excellent. So it was win-win from day one.
History of Blood Red Throne is rich, so many great musicians have contributed to this music in their time, but no one could kill the primitive rawness of death metal. In fact, the Norwegian metal scene isn’t as big as it seems, and there’s always interest, so Blood Red Throne have never failed for an attention; and the musicians from such bands as Carpathian Forest, Gehenna, In the Woods…, Enslaved etc. fired up Blood Red Throne with confident vigor. These frequent line-up changes don’t affect the general mood of this band, who sold its soul to demons of death metal, but little bit of diversity only can strengthen up the bloody goals of this band.
Despite classical metal structures and traditional death metal clichés, there’s something strange going on during the solo lines. The mood changes from primitive and straightforward to pensive, progressive and almost delicate, paying homage to gods of death metal Death, the band that made possible to coexist classical traits of metal with painfully atmospheric technicality. Imperial Congregation has only short passages of these sophisticated abstruse elements, but that’s enough to be noticed. Those are especially discernible on the compositions “Itika” and “Consumed Illusion”. Something gindcorish also happens from time to time when there is an acceleration of pace and even some screams opposing typical low and raw classical growls (“Conquered Malevolence” or “Hero-Antics”). But Blood Red Throne are also familiar with more hardcore/groove sound, and that’s clear from the songs like “Itika” and “Inferior Elegance”. But most of the time we can enjoy pure death metal with a stone-crushing temper, straight from the past, but in a modern package.
The artwork made by known Brazilian musician and designer Mantus didn’t reinvent the wheel as well, displaying all the traditional topics favored by metalheads, like religion, occult rites and death. Maybe Imperial Congregation isn’t an album to change the world or at least to expand the musical borders, but still it sounds freshly pertinent and unimaginably genuine. So, this is what the real passion vs. classical dogmas sounds like, Blood Red Throne have found the perfect formula for being old school in a most contemporary way. Well done.
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