Stormbringer - Conjuration of the Nighthorde

With former members of now defunct act Serberus, expectations were high for this Colorado band’s second album of self titled battle metal. Instead though, despite some fine individual performances the end results is nothing more than the usual Scandinavian influenced black metal, and while it might satisfy the most heavily corpse painted and spike ridden fans, its Marduk/DarkFuneral-lite sound isn’t particularly invigorating.

While some US black metal such as Forest of Impaled, Fall of the Bastards and Veneficum simply rely on mimicking a particular sound and just giving it their own sense of vitriol, Throcult seem torn between paying homage to a classic sound and trying to sound unique. Throcult try to inject some character into their blatantly European sound by way of making their take on blackened war metal full of death metal-ish complexities and convoluted staccato riffing, but instead, it comes across as frayed and fragmented rather than rousing and scathing. It’s actually a shame because the skill level of the band members, particularly drummer David Csicsely, are worth noting, but their collective output doesn’t do the skill justice as the entire album squeals by at hyper sonic speed, and despite the injection of a few death metal rumbles, does not hold your attention.

The band also seem torn between displaying a unique, technical take on black metal extremity and implementing tried and true black metal cliches; song titles (“On Demon Wings,” “Unholy Perversions”), typical samples (“Blood of Thy Enemy”), atmospheric interludes, muted harmonies and expected vocal paradigms. There are a few moments of pulse pounding acidity such as the openings of “Order of the Lunar Temple” and “Through the Fog of War,” but just as quickly as they deliver a ravaging salvo of notes, Throcult play themselves right back out it and into needless riff indulgence that saps the songs of their initial energy.

Former Serberus singer/guitarist Ivan Alcala does nothing to distinguish the vocals, and bassist Dave Borush is virtually non-existent amid the swirling, over produced guitars. As a result, the drawn out 43 minutes ends up as an incessant buzz fest with a few piecemeal death metal rumbles thrown in for good measure and not one of the tracks stands out on its own. The album isn’t truly “bad” per se, it’s just a heavily reliant on structures that are influenced by classic ballistic black metal then flocked with needless complexities that make the songs sound unnecessarily disjointed, and while Council of The Fallen and Unholy Ghost seem the have the mix down perfectly, Throcult just don’t have the levels right as the twiddly blast beats become grating.

I get the feeling if Throcult just reared back and spewed forth a simpler, stripped down black metal sound rather than try to over complicate things they might be into a far more devastating territory that’s a purer, more satisfying black visage. As it stands though, this album is really rather redundant and far from being a need to own, as it’s simply an uninspiring delivery of high end fret abuse that lacks any defining moments.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 5th, 2004


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