Blood Red Throne - Nonagon

Norway’s Blood Red Throne has had quite the career since their inception in 1998. With only 1 original member since the beginning (guitarist Død who was known for playing with Satyricon for a bit), the band has seen numerous line up changes, especially in the vocal department. However, these changes seem to have kept the Death Metal band fresh over the span of now 11 albums, so those who know them well should know what to expect. Stylistically, Blood Red Throne has not changed much over the last few years, and this is a good thing because since 2016 their music seems to have hit a constant high, and they haven’t really disappointed in critic reviews. Their last album was full of churning, yet melodic riffs, merging a cross between Decapitated and Deicide with heaps of melody loaded into the solos and a very accessible pace that wasn’t too fast or slow. 3 years later on “Nonagon” the band delivers again with a similar focus, but a new vocalist in tow to shake things up. Along with their new signing to Soulseller Records, one is in for a treat. Everything else is still the same as far as members with Freddy Bolsø on drums, Ivan Gujić also on guitars, Stian Gundersen on bass, and newly acquired vocalist Sindre Wathne Johnsen.

Johnsens’s approach to the music helps makes “Nonagon” a thrilling album. Alongside the instrumental work which is just churning, mid paced, easily enjoyable Death Metal with plenty of head banging moments, his vocals have that throaty, yet clear roar to them, but unlike the last vocalist who only stuck to the roar, there are also some shrieks added in more depth such as on the title track. Blood Red Throne has had a tendency to get vocalists who only seem to have 1 range, and it finally feels they got someone who can still deliver a great grunt but also mix it up a bit. As far as the music goes, expect a lot of the same heard from the last album, which is a good thing. Tracks like “Split Tongue Sermon” and “Ode to the Obscene” have those infectious Decapitated intros where the riffs just sink right in but also have tons of melody in the solos. Yes, the songs do feel like the crawl a bit and almost seem relaxed in their delivery as opposed to a more frantic Death Metal band like Nile, but Blood Red Throne still deliver the heaviness. There are also the faster tracks like “Tempest Sculptor” which delivers a firestorm of faster riffs and drumming, and though the lower range vocals tend to go better with the mid to slow paced tempos, the shrieks added in help add that sense of speed and chaos to incite some mosh pits.

Some of the slow to mid paced tracks like ‘Fleshrend’ have a bit of that Bloodbath “Nightmares Made Flesh” vibe to them in their modern, but almost Old School tone that just creeps along and while not as technical or melodic as some of the other tracks, the repetitive riffs are still quite infectious and go well with the throaty vocals, which try to be the highlight of the song, and even the album. Yes there is some Beyond Creation jazzy bass moments here and there on the more technical side, but the riffs and vocals are what are going to get the listeners interested on this album. While Blood Red Throne may not get the award for ingenuity here, one can say they certainly found their stride on “Nonagon” with each track delivering the kind of Death Metal for anyone who has enjoyed early 2000s Death Metal/ Technical Death Metal. Each track isn’t too long or short; just the right length between 4 and 6 minutes. The album is modern and somewhat basic, but like Cannibal Corpse, if the formula works there isn’t really a need to change it. Hopefully their new vocalist is here to stay as he does a great job with the rest of the musicians and keeps up that highlight of what makes Blood Red Throne still great after all these years.

5 / 5 STARS

1. Epitaph Inscribed
2. Ode To The Obscene
3. Seeking To Pierce
4. Tempest Sculptor
5. Every Silent Plea
6. Nonagon
7. Split Tongue Sermon
8. Blade Eulogy
9. Fleshrend