Blame is often directed towards master producer Ross Robinson for his part in the Nu-metal years, Korn and limp Bitzkit had an energy about them early on that Ross had a very large role in cultivating. However, that same ability to harness an artist’s inner grit, passion and anger also assisted the likes of Slipknot, Amen, Glassjaw and At the Drive-In in the years to come, releasing ground breaking records as a result. Ross has not had the same impact over the last decade, even though more selective with the bands he works with. Ross produced Wild Throne’s debut EP in 2004 (Blood Maker) and obviously knew he had something special to work with, handling production duties on Harvest of Darkness.
For a 3-piece, Wild Throne create one hell of a sound; jam packed with progressive structures, Jazz accents and churning melodies, the energy is relentless and typical of a Ross Robinson produced album. Wild Throne balance progression, psychedelia and melody to perfection. Vocally, Joshua Holland bears a strong resemblance to Cedric Bixler-Zavala (At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta), and while fans of those bands may find this uncomfortably close at times, Wild Throne also use this to their advantage almost as if At the Drive-In forged an alliance with Mastodon rather than bowing out in 2001, but taking the sound to places both never stood.
The 4 tracks from the 2014 Blood Maker EP appear on ‘Harvest of Darkness’ and have not been re-worked a great deal, which is a little surprising as bands tend to put a line in the sand and start fresh especially on a debut full length, that being said, each track has its place and those tracks do not sound aged. Elsewhere, ‘Lone Lust’ provides the much needed drop in tempo just before the half way mark, while ‘I of the Prism’ provides the aggressive and chaotic marker. ‘Death of A Star’ is a monstrous progressive ride with all members delivering at full throttle and ‘The Wrecking Ball Unchained’ keeps the momentum busy right to the end. There are no weaknesses to be found.
The guitar playing is unique and courageous, outlandish solo’s, off kilter structures and piercing feedback sections is a risky approach, but Wild Throne put it all on the line. The drumming is tight, sounding fresh and energetic throughout taking the rythym section to wild places at times. The Bass work is humming while raw and precise, with a standout sludgy performance on ‘Shadow Deserts’. Production wise you would expect nothing but perfection, and it stands right up there with ‘Worship and Tribute’ and ‘…Burn, Piano Island, Burn’ in terms of raw beauty, determination and energy.
Harvest of Darkness plays out at 55 minutes; perhaps a track too many but that’s a small gripe, its quantity as well as the quality on display. Wild Throne are comfortable in their own skin, they deliver their craft with confidence and have an X factor that just doesn’t exist in the current batch of progressive rock and metal bands. There will be a tendencey to delve deeper into progressive territory on the next release, but they are clever musicians and if they can surround themselves with the right people and strike the balance between progression and pretension then they can become a very big deal. A very good release and highly recommended.