Artist: Empty Throne
Label: Wise Blood Records
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Country: United States
The band hail from multiple regions of the United States, with members coming together to make music. We have C.R. Petit (vocals) and Jason Ellsworth (bass) hailing from South Dakota and Gabe Seeber (drums) and Michael Joseph Pardi (guitar) hailing from California. The band’s members are/were involved in numerous other projects including The Kennedy Veil, Decrepit Birth, Abbath, Possessed, Draconis, Ritual and Angerot. The album was mixed and mastered by Andreas Linnemann at Hop House Studio and the album art is a painting by Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – Fall of the Damned.
The band play a thrashy blend of blackened death metal that is equal parts rawness and pure energy. The album steams ahead from start to finish with unrelenting force and doesn’t hold back any punches. The quality of the musicianship is fantastic but not unsurprising when you look at the other high-profile bands that the members of Emtpty Throne play for. Everyone here knows exactly what they are doing, and they do it flawlessly.
The band state that they draw their influences from 80s thrash, early to mid-90s Gothenburg style death metal and modern post 2000s black metal. You can definitely feel all of those influences, particularly the 90s energy and essence. This makes sense when you learn that the tracks on the album are actually adapted and altered versions of songs written by Michael Pardi in the 90s that were never used in any of his projects. They were modified and modernized and brought to life by the band members’ unique backgrounds and playing styles and resulted in the finished product you see before you.
The vocals on the album come across as that of Legion, multiple voices of varying vocal styles all layered and overlapping as if they are coming out of the same person. They do of course operate freely of each other at many points but it’s those overlapped segments that are the most impactful. The styles used range from raw semi-barked/semi-guttural to screeched higher pitched more Gothenburg style vocals, to ominous almost spoken word vocals that could easily be part of a ritual. They help to convey the themes on the album which focus on the occult, darkness, suffering and other themes that you would expect a blackened death metal band to focus on. Here’s a small expert from the EP’s opening track And All Shall Know His Name to give you an idea of what to expect:
“The assembly of ghouls gather at the chapel Tophet. An unholy congregation that prays at the altar of death. Invocation speaking in tongues yearning to call out his name. The summoning of the Antichrist. Praise the fallen angel in flames. Hail! Recite unholy verses. To conjure strength from deep inside. Hail! Glossolalia In league with the Devil praise the beast divine. Ave tenebris.”
The guitar work on the album is riff-central, that’s where you really have that thrash influence shine through. Having said that there’s a definite blend between the thrash elements and the black/death metal elements. You can hear the 90’s Gothenburg influences throughout the album, just as much in the guitar work as in the vocals. There is a balance achieved between melody, technicality and raw aggression, with each factor taking the lead at any given time depending on what the portion of the track requires. The drum work is unrelenting and matches the guitar and vocals in energy and force. The bass work sits equally as high in the mix and can be heard chugging along right next to the guitar padding out and further expanding an album with an already full sound.
This is one of those albums where it’s actually difficult to say what the leading element is. Normally I’ll listen to an album and be able to confidently say “well the vocals dominated that album” or “the guitar totally made that release” but that simply isn’t the case with Glossolalia. Every element here is so well performed and the mixing and mastering is so solid that every element shines equally as brightly. That’s not something that happens all that often and is one of the major reasons why I suggest you listen to this album. I also can’t pick a favourite track, as each song on the album has its own unique energy and tone to it that makes it worth listening to. There are only three tracks on this EP, but each one is a winner. It will be interesting to see if the band can maintain that level of quality going forward, because I can guarantee that will be no easy feat.
Overall, this is a truly solid debut from a band that I see having a bright future ahead of them (their other projects and bands allowing). There is a lot to praise here between the musicianship, the song writing, the mixing and mastering, the vocals, you take your pick. In summary, if you enjoy blackened death metal overall you will most likely enjoy this album, but if you enjoy thrashy blackened death metal then you will undoubtably love this album.
Listen to and order the album: