The Album Of The Week is "Dead Throne Monarch" by Rhino.
"What would you get if you mixed sludge metal, doom metal, thrash, death metal and grunge (yes, grunge) in a heavy iron cauldron? You would get an album called Dead Throne Monarch with a side of Rhino. Yes, I know that is an over-used opening style, but when you hear this music you will understand. It threatens to defy the very idea of being stuck in any one genre. This is infectious, groove-filled, heavy music that is not unlike getting hit repeatedly with a brick and liking it!
Every so often you will come across a band that quite unexpectedly delivers everything you did not know you were looking for at that very moment. The last time this happened for me was back in the Fall of 2007 when I first encountered the French act Gojira. It was a live show and as soon as they began my jaw dropped. Heavy, intense, and just, well, heavy! When I first hit play on the opening title track, Rhino induced a similar reaction.
The first sound you hear sounds like vocalist Javier Galvez is removing his vocal cords through sheer will. It is enough to give you momentary pause, but before it sinks in the guitars hit with this heavy sludgy riff that reinforces the vocal cord vomitous that the track began with. "Dead Throne Monarch" proceeds to run roughshod through the musical gamut from sludge to thrash to grunge, thus keeping you off guard as to what to expect.
The title sludger is followed by "Reins of the Warlord," a track that retains the Rhino sound demonstrated in the prior track, while being a bit more of an uptempo thrasher. That is followed by the epic "Earth Reclaims the Usurper." This one is decidedly more along the doom/sludge line, and again retains that distinctive Rhino-ness that permeated the first couple of tracks.
The fourth track sees the band letting their grunge flag fly. After hinting at it a couple of times throughout the opening songs, "Bahamut" lets loose wit a heavy sludge attack that seems to have been directly inspired by Alice in Chains, with perhaps a touch of Danzig. Listen as Galvez frees his vocal cords from the sludgy, blood-soaked shackles and delivers a haunting pained wail the late Layne Staley would have been proud of. Alice in Chains was always the "most metal" band to emerge the grunge scene, and this tune seems to play out what it might have been like had they gone all the way into metal territory.
If nothing else, Rhino keeps you guessing what is coming next while continuing to deliver on the promises made early on. Dead Throne Monarch is an absolutely punishing dose of relentless brutal metal. Listening to this is likely to cause bruises. With a total of ten tracks clocking in just north of seventy-minutes, there is ample opportunity to be drawn into the sludgy surge. Guaranteed to leave battered, beaten, and thoroughly satisfied.
Hailing from Spain, this trio has only been around since 2004, with this being their sophomore release, they are fast proving to be a band to keep an eye on. I am unsure how far into mainstream recognition they will go, but if there is justice they will be discovered.
Bottomline. This is one of those albums that jumps ahead early and is bound to be among my favorites come the end of the year. If you are a metal fan this is an absolute must own. There can be no questions. Dead Throne Monarch will be yours, you will recognize the excellence. It is inevitable.
Highly Recommended. (Chris Beaumont, Draven99's Musings)
01. Dead Throne Monarch
02. Reins Of The Warlord
03. Earth Reclaims The Usurper
05. Pale Horses Coming
07. Wolf Among Black Sheep
08. Promise Of A Storm
10. Horned Crown