It’s not every day that I see something “new” within metal, much less within the confines of death metal. There’s much to be said in terms of how metal has progressed into cliché and gimmick within the last ten or so years. Eighties thrash and traditional metal still dominates a listeners’ way of thinking even in the year 2016 and while that’s not a bad thing we need to understand that we won’t be able to reference the pioneers in the same way fifty years from now.
Hailing from Australia’s south (Tasmania to be more precise) comes a little one-manned self-proclaimed “dissident metal” act which shows promise in variance bridging the gap between raw death metal, hardcore and left of field sludge metal. That’s a weird enough statement to me as I’ve never really typed anything like that before. ‘This Viper Womb’ portrays its own signature sound giving credence to the amalgamation of sound spread across ten tracks by combining solid instrumentation on one of the rarer vocal styles of the genre. Is ThrOes unique? Well… yes and no. ‘This Viper Womb’ is a fresh take at doing something fresh. The layered vocal efforts combine into a balanced wall of sound, the higher screams stand alone as something out of the ordinary for most acts in this sound pool. Trent’s vocal tendencies to blend black metal screams with death metal mid-range screams really work here (think of a Lamb Of God, Burn The Priest days). While most acts are looking for the deeper cacophony of sound, ThrOes lives off this extra vocal range.
It doesn’t take long here to find out what ‘This Viper Womb’ is all about. “Permanent Midnight” opens the record with war sirens and media sampling, presenting the listener with a tense atmosphere. It speaks propaganda before leading into straight up groove-based death metal. It’s only when the vocals kick in that the whole album becomes “something else”. Despite being a largely solo project, ThrOes does feature some guest inclusions to build on its wall of sound. Mr. Talley of Suffocation and Dying Fetus fame builds the very backbone of ThrOes music, while James Ludbrook provides an extra vocal contrast. There’s a lot going on here and unfortunately the listener can get lost in waves and waves of sound. The thick verbose melancholy built in the album’s atmosphere occasionally draws away from where the sound is actually going. It’s a small gripe, but big enough to be noticed when the album drags past the halfway point.
The album’s title track is an instant highlight and is one of the strongest compositions here. Neat riff ideas bounce off equal vocal phrasing and Trent’s shrieks remain on point throughout. The production aids the song’s snappy rhythm work and allows for the strummed guitar lines to fade the track out in the best of ways. It’s a reprieve (albeit a small one) from the dissonant riff work that follows in “Lavish The Anguish”. Overall I’m finding it hard to score this album. One instance ‘This Viper Womb’ gravitates towards some of the year’s best soundscapes, then immediately brings about that “samey” grating feel. I’m torn between the two even as ThrOes leans towards the beauty that lies within metal’s best. There is however a feeling that ‘This Viper Womb’ will grow as the weeks go by, making full use of its replay value. Personally I can’t wait to see where ThrOes goes after a release like this, combining multiple genres into something distinctly their own.
1 – Permanent Midnight
2 – Shock To The Guts
3 – Dead Lights
4 – Conscience Makes Cowards
5 – Nothing Left For The Vultures
6 – Nowhere Else
7 – This Viper Womb
8 – Lavish The Anguish
9 – Feed It
10 – D.N.A. Corruption
Trent Griggs – lead vocal, guitar, bass, ebow
James Ludbrook – additional vocals
Kevin Talley – drums