Young Polish black/death metal band Towards Hellfire has debuted with LP Death upon the Holy Throne releasing it through a local underground label Putrid Cult in the middle of spring. Cursed by dark aggression and blessed by mellifluous radiance, this band has proved that even noisy and straightforward black metal can be melodic.
The Polish trio from Poznań was assembled two years ago, but only now they were sufficiently ready to offer their artistic visions through their debut album. Towards Hellfire isn’t a band of young and inexperienced enthusiasts, all of the musicians has a serious reputation on the extreme metal scene – e.g. Bloodthirst or Mordhell, just to name a few. So, within Towards Hellfire they continue to unveil their affection for primitive black metal and unambiguous death metal with tumultuous energy and miniscule urge for euphonious harmonies. Their music sounds quite brutal and relentless; however, there are some canorous notes in it, muting the primal aggression and making it more real, more flexible, more open-minded.
We can more and more relate this music to traditional roots, Death upon the Holy Throne isn’t reinventing the wheel, preferring to focus on simple structures and classical principles of heavy metal. And we can’t ignore the fact that the rhythms are often based on more unequivocal speed/thrash metal. There’s nothing experimental during this album, but also without polished gloss, when every riff is perfectly furbished and every singing line reeks of artificial veneer. No, quite the opposite, it seems like this record is almost alive, like you watch this band performing in the studio. The sound is raw and dirty, merely reinforcing this vital effect of direct presence. In a nutshell – the music is minimalistic and with an ultimate feeling of something unintentional, making it candidly appealing even if you miss technical wonders or unexpected passages. Towards Hellfire are quite confidently living by the oxymoronic rule “less is more” without the need to overload or complicate their music in pursuit of originality.
Positive vibes play an important role here, it’s like all the violence and ferocity are subdued, but fortuitously, and due to this Death upon the Holy Throne emanates fairly optimistic aura. But okay, it doesn’t mean that Towards Hellfire play the kind of wimpy and sissy metal, there are plenty of bloodthirstiness, madness and hellish nightmares without teddybears or cupcakes, it’s just this feeling of unreasonable hope even if you are burning in hell at this moment. This is a passive aggression that can feign much sweeter image through melodic lines, and this is exactly the case, when you really can belong to two opposite parties – brutal and melodic.
Fundamentally we can grant them the title of war metal band, the level of chaotic frenzy, beastlike attitude and thrashing cadence directly indicates it, not just hints. Sometimes we are triggered by typical Polish black/death metal wave, but the major vibes, filthy sound and superfluous melodiousness diverts us towards Scandinavian direction. From time to time we are overwhelmed by disharmonic moments that creep on us like a hurricane (“Nocturnal Rites”). The military rhythms invite us towards heavy/folk metal realm, dissolving a constant urge to create a chaos (“Follow the Path of Chaos” or “Death upon the Holy Throne”). But in the meantime, “The Gospel of the Violence” perfectly blends into black metal’s melancholic domain, whereas the last track “The Oath of the Ancient’s Gods” bluntly transfers us back to the 1990s. Without regrets and further need for technical distortions, Death upon the Holy Throne flows amid the debris of primal instincts, monolithic patterns and traditional clichés.
We can literally see the personification of Death itself on the holy throne, stabbed by the daggers, symbolically and grotesquely exaggerating the impact that our world has from the disastrous actions of the humankind. Even death can be “killed” by it, so our planet really deserves this hell we are creating with our own hands. We aren’t just moving towards hellfire, we are scorched by it, and yeah, Death upon the Holy Throne is a perfect soundtrack to visualize our own apocalyptic actions.
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