I’m a huge history buff. I love reading, listening to, and watching things about history. Particularity Roman history (Republic Era or Imperium). There is something to be said about music and artists that are able to recapture the spirit of those ancient times. There are some that use the imagery for just that, the image, but there are others that dive in deep, that truly want to rekindle the ancient flames of the times long past. Crimson Throne is one of those bands. Their newest 2017 release, takes the listener not to the great metropolis of Rome but to the grim covered, mud colored camps of the legions. Make no mistake, Rome might have been the center of the world for hundreds of years, but it was the legions that made it that way. This is an opus crafted in memory of those men.
Using varying styles (and I do mean a lot) this UK outfit do more than just sing about the legions. They make the listener feel as though they are in the legion, in those times. They crafted an album, a work of malignant and harsh art that brings the listener closer to the emotional level of what it might have been to be a member of the legions. Their sound is built on the old Norwegian style of thin production and tremolo picking but they go beyond what their northern predecessors did. The production, though it’s paper thin and raw as hell, is much better than it was in the older days. The sound feels less “recorded on a while in some random basement” and more “we are trying to achieve a very specific sound and we’ve thought this through.” They also through a lot of Swedish death metal sounds in the mix as well. The riffs are much catchier than black metal riffs normally are.
They even use some dark ambient in their music that is worthy of Cryo Chamber. I kid you not, the beginning of the album is a beautifully haunting ballad that entices the listener to fall through the rabbit hole, as it were, and land in a time and place entirely different. The dark ambient, achieved with the best drones and fuzz you can come up with, really set this album apart from other black or death metal bands. They use their instruments to achieve their end, to spread their message of the glory of Rome and the power of the legions but they don’t do it with guitar and drums alone. They take the time to create synthy and intimidating interludes to makes sure the listener never loses sight of what the album is meant for. They blend several different types of ambient together as well. My personal favorite is the gothic, cathedralesque sound at the beginning. It’s reminiscent of Paleowolf, and that’s no small compliment. They even have what feels like moments of polar ambient when they freeze the atmosphere, it’s dark and rich, each moment is crafted and built to perfection. Brilliant stuff. Not only do they add ambient elements into the album, they blend it well with the metal. I never felt, through my six times (today) listening that I was listening to two separate albums. Each song was an anthem unto itself and all the elements that went into creating each song, the metal and the ambient, intermingled beautifully. For that reason alone, I would throw this into the debut of the year discussion.
Without a doubt this album achieves something that the metal community needs. They bring together several different styles of music and take parts of each to create something new. It’s truly refreshing to listen to an album like this because it gives me hope that metal can still progress yet hold onto the values that metal, black, death, and heavy, have stood for. This album is set to be released on the seventeenth of March. Grab a copy, digital or otherwise, because this is not an album, or a band, that you will want to miss out on. The future is coming, and it looks Roman.
Listen and support music!
Crimson Throne’s Facebook Page
Red River Family Records | Secret Law Records | Apocalyptic Witchcraft Records
Masters on Bandcamp
Red River Family Records Official Site | Apocalyptic Witchcraft’s Official Page | Secret Law Record’s Official Page