Throneum – The Tight Deathrope Act Over Rubicon (2018) REVIEW

For just over two decades Polish blackened death metal fixture Throneum have been unwavering in their devotion to tried-and-true underground death metal ethos. Founder, guitarist and vocalist The Great Executor (Tomasz Hanuszkiewicz) hasn’t hardly taken a break since 1996 and between Throneum and black metal side-project Morbid Execution his output is relentlessly achieved and distinctly raw. The core influences to his songwriting and approach to guitar playing are myriad but come across quite clearly as he captures the haphazard mania of Necrovore and Order From Chaos fired out with the blackened death/thrash intensity of early Merciless and Sabbat. This rumbling rotten sound is made even more putrid on Throneum‘s eight full-length ‘The Tight Deathrope Act Over Rubicon’ as the trio take influence from early Carbonized, Mekong Delta, and Abruptum alike. The result is a daunting, wildly flailing gore-drenched hammer of primitive blackened death metal.

The trouble with being a Polish death metal band formed in the late 90’s is that the public expectations are set for most bands of those beginnings. One expects a heavy amount of Deicide and Morbid Angel influence, loud and flat brutal death production values, and the potential for an awkward level of plagiarism from Behemoth‘s post-millennium discography. Throneum features none of these trends or beginnings and have always been a raw beast born of a greater exploration of extreme and true metal underground acts. A mountain of nigh constant split releases over the years with Martire, Nunslaughter, and Nocturnal Vomit give a clearer idea of the rabidly thrashing murk that The Great Executor prefers and this is made even more clear through the band’s full-lengths. Throneum does not evolve, they only just keep killing.

I’d personally discovered a lot of the band’s back catalog around 2012 through Pagan Records reissues and landed a copy of their first full-length ‘Old Death’s Lair’ (2001) through a recommendations based on my admiration for early Mortuary Drape. Though it was more brazenly death/thrash in style, I came to admire the frantic vocals and riffing that was done more with feeling than any particular precision. Working my way up their discography from there it was clear that the band’s style really hinged on the quality of the drummer, The Great Executor‘s influences/aim at the time, and the budget for the release would be somewhat obvious through production values. ‘Mutiny of Death’ (2003) had a clear influence from classic death/doom while ‘Pestilent Death’ (2005) paired that love of Asphyx with nods to Sarcófago with fast and brutal bursts of blackened death.

‘Deathmass of the Gravedancer’ (2007) and the insane ‘Deathcult Conspiracy’ (2009) were brief and straight-forward albums that were padded by attempts to write longer, more involved compositions. This is not such a knock to their style but I felt some of the EP/Split material in this era of the band were more effective as short bursts of their more furious, bestial sound. The main even for me at that point was ‘Death Throne Entities’ (2011) and perhaps the only release since ‘Old Death’s Lair’ that I would absolutely recommend. This was a great high point for my Throneum fandom with it’s fully realized style, a uniquely morbid death/thrash sound that mixes in black metal and death/doom influences. So, what is the point of all of this blathering about my history with Throneum? The band fell of the map for me at that point and I hadn’t been following them until this year.

The remarkable thing was that I jumped back into Throneum with expectations of their same old rotten shit that were subverted by an intentional focus on getting ugly and weird as fuck. It is almost twice as long as their first seven records at a full hour and seems to almost intentionally run the gamut of influences in showcasing the versatility of their crypt-coughing sound. It feels composed beyond anything previous yet still hits with a rotten thump amidst several intentionally eerie and dissonant guitar rants. Serpentine and sinister without vaulting off of classic McEntee ideas there is something wrongly unearthed at the heart of ‘The Tight Deathrope Act Over Rubicon’ that invokes the half-rotten spirit of progressive thrash metal and douses it with a bucket of Ripped-esque blood. These are the longest, most involved compositions yet. These monstrous, extensive twists and turns were only barely hinted at in the re-recording of their 2015 demo ‘Organic Death Temple’.

If nothing else their mentions of Carbonized, early Abruptum and Mekong Delta were entirely serious and the result is a lot to take in; There is some magic in the idea that this outside-the-box album will no doubt generate interest from a lot of folks unwilling to listen to the rest of Throneum‘s fairly straightforward and raw blackened death metal discography. The longest compositions are really fantastic as each shows a surprising knack for atmospheric tension that outstrips the scope of similar attempts from Obliteration on their last couple of releases. Likewise my taste for Execration‘s ‘Morbid Dimensions’ serves as a sort of primer for the more wildly ripping spectrum of off-kilter and bizarre death trance that Throneum provides on ‘The Tight Deathrope Act Over Rubicon’.

Although I was not at all expecting to find any connection with this album my praise for it is not purely due to the novelty of subverting my expectations. Throneum‘s abyss driven old school take on progressive extreme metal is exactly the type of trip I am inspired by. Although a couple of the tracks drag their ass a bit the title track, each of the four parts of “Enochian Lexicon” and the brilliant, chugging prog-thrash exodus of “Primal Words. Orphic” amount to a very convincing and repeatable death metal expedition. Of course I’d suggest the caveat that it’s interest lies in rhythmically driven pieces and not in catchy or memorable riffing, and they haven’t at all abandoned their ‘Stillbirth Machine’-esque sound. Highly recommended whether you’ve previously been a Throneum detractor or fanatic.


Artist Throneum
Type Album
Released June 29, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Hell’s Headbangers’ Bandcamp! Follow Throneum on Facebook
Black Metal,
Death Metal,
Progressive Metal

The agonized flame. 4.0/5.0

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