Gaining insight into a band’s work process is a rare delight for us here at the blog. It’s rare because we’re often presented with a complete product and gazing behind the scenes is impossible. But every once in awhile we get the pleasure of following a band from humble beginnings, from EP to album or from obscurity to fame. This gives us the rare opportunity to see how they assemble their forces, construct their style and polish the seams that connect their different elements together. Such has been the case with Wild Throne. Having reviewed their too-short EP, Blood Maker, in 2014, we’re now getting the chance to see their ideas come to fruition with their first full length release, Harvest of Darkness. We can safely say that the wait was worth it, as the complete edifice looms much higher than their first, enthusiastic steps.
This is a building that has aged well and now stands in full glory. It quite literally contains within it the aforementioned, promising EP: the tracks from that short release are all featured on this album. However, the band have used them as an outline, inside of which they have added shade, depth and texture to their facade. Where Blood Maker featured only fury and ferociousness, Harvest of Darkness presents us with the calmer, more calculated flip-side of the coin. Not to say that this album can’t be pissed as all hell; tracks like the eponymous opener or the amazing “I Of the Prism” add an adrenaline shot even to the energetic debut. The heady mix of rock n’ roll, stoner metal and Led Zeppelin vocals reigns supreme and still presents the band at their tightest, most confident.
However, the mortar that binds these firm foundations together are the “calmer” tracks present mostly in the middle of the album. Perhaps “ponderous” would be a better adjective here, since there’s nothing really calm about them. “Lone Lust” for example brings the bass to the fore, creating a more roiling feeling of sludge instead of the incendiary combustion of the other tracks. “Death of a Star”, the following track, likewise takes its time before igniting into its full passion while “War Is a Romance” perhaps blends these two elements, creating a slower rocket but one which knows when to explode, reminding us perhaps of Lo!.
The most interesting iteration upon the established Wild Throne sound is the closing track, “Trans”. It draws on several locations of influence for its unique taste, namely surf rock and Mastodon. It features, on one hand, a “la la la” vocal track which lends it that wild, irreverent and unrestrained feel of surf rock, with its emphasis on fun and groove. But, instead of leaving it there, Wild Throne also create fascinating leads throughout the track, reminding us of the stoner technicality of the early day of Mastodon.
The end result is an emotional closer to an emotional album, a full length “debut” that perhaps cashes in on the promise already made in the EP. This album takes what might have been a gamble, a hunch, a projection that was formed with Blood Maker and entrenches it completely as an investment returned, a bet that paid off. Harvest of Darkness is Wild Throne’s certificate and we hope that they carry it far and wide to say “We’re more than a fluke. We have our own sound and this is it. Come and get it”.
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Wild Throne’s Harvest of Darkness gets…