The Pitch: The fourth album from fierce Stockholm-based melodic black metal group Valkyrja via WTC Productions. FFO: In Twilight's Embrace, Dissection, Marduk
What I Like: Throne Ablaze is a darkly imposing affair; one characterized just as much by Swedish melodeath as classic Norwegian black metal. The hooks and solos often scream At The Gates and Dissection, though the grim, reverb-heavy howls of S.Wizén are BM through and through. He even throws in a few nice "Ungh!"s for good measure, as on the hammer-on/pull-off heavy labyrinth that is "Halo of Lies." This track in particular has some notable leads and solos that would have been right at home on Slaughter Of The Soul. "Tombs Into Flesh" is another great standout with its fiery blaze of blastbeats and tremolos making a sudden transition to a hypnotically clanging guitar riff around the 2:40 mark. It calls out to the listener like a ringing bell atop a Satanic church, or some possessed metronome. And I can't close out the pros of this album without mentioning the drumming. Both in terms of performance and production, V.Parri's echoing toms sound absolutely massive.
Critiques: There are some pacing issues, in particular tracks over the 7 minute mark that don't do enough to fill the runtime. Bogged down in repetition, they take me out of the immersion. My personal feeling is that this would have been a leaner, meaner beast at 35 minutes or so.
The Verdict: Valkryja are another black metal band that you should add to your collection. Drawing from the finest elements that both Sweden and Norway have to offer, the end result is an album heavy in equal parts atmosphere and almighty riffage. While there are problems in terms of consistency and pacing, they don't end up casting a shadow on the overall experience.
Flight's Fav's: Crowned Serpent, Tombs Into Flesh, Paradise Lost
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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