Throes
Koro

I’ve heard some damn good doom-y, riff-y stuff from Austria; nightmare vomit sludgers Cyruss, killer psyched-out heavy rockers Savanah, etc.  I know I’m forgetting more than a couple in this quick brainstorm session but the point is that there’s a damn good scene over in Austria that gets overlooked when viewing the international arena at large.  Latest on my radar thanks to my man, the ever knowledgeable Hassan from godly grinders Multinational Corporations is the three-piece sludge squad ThroesKoro is the band’s second album and goddamn is it a fuckin’ slimy nightcrawler of squirming, mud rolling riffage with some killer instrumental tones, unexpected tempo shakedowns/song structures and a knack for sleazy, medicine cabinet raiding melodies.

“Zepsuta” has a ringing, atonal melodic riff sensibility happening early on that sounds like a heavier, more knuckle-dragging take on the classic Crowbar glue huffin’ groove.  Helmut Lechner’s riffs creep and slink like Jack the Ripper enjoying a night out on the town while drummer Mani not only pounds out a steady funeral march but fucks with some lively work on the toms that adds more extra BPM than some sludge drummers are willing to go for.  Lëeb’s bass lines are like the recorded sound of a submarine sinking thanks to a well-placed torpedo in the hull.  Once these guys establish a killer, etherized groove the song thusly trips a landmine of caustic snare-filling that changes the tune’s personality into a violent push of doom-y, slowed down thrash somewhere between Celtic Frost, Moho, Crowbar and early High on Fire with the screaming, knife-edged vocal nastiness of Moho and Grief present in the anguished, throat shredding screams.  Painful harmonic pinches, all instruments dropping out allowing the bass to anchor the groove solely and demonic dirge riffs are all weapons in the band’s arsenal and they fuckin’ know how to use ‘em…lethally!  The riffage grinds its way to a 10,000 ton NOLA sludge groove that’s equally heavy on the Eyehategod and Grief, reaching a plateau where Helmut’s voice purveys a strained, semi-melodic howl akin to Mr. Kirk Windstein himself.  It’s good fuckin’ stuff all around and despite the band’s influences coming through loud and clear they have something going in their arrangements, writing and delivery that make them individualistic in a big pack of doom wolves.  And that’s just the beginning folks…this album changes A LOT as it goes along!

Chugging thrash riffs, hyperactive polyrhythmic drumming and blown-out hardcore vibes kick off “Crepusculo Decrepitude” in a lockstep, staccato syncopation that haunts the same battlegrounds as 16 and early High on Fire.  The bass licks are like a thick human soup made by cannibals and the guitar work soon culls a few noise-damaged, atonal scrapes from the Am-Rep hall of fame.  Those thrash-y swirls n’ churns soon get sucked into a black hole of descending, dominating sludge riffing highlighted by rippling, echoing open chords with Helmut again refusing to stick to one vocal tactic as he haggardly sings and then performs spoken word in a low, moonshine-addled grumble.  Later the band comes on like Slayer or another legendary 80s thrash band that traded their coke stash for a Santa’s sack full of downers…even the soloing is more thrash than sludge in terms of style but the pacing is pure sludgy slop.  The forceful, at gunpoint atrocity of “Horde Ov Hyenas” lead-in riff is immediate in its impact but the guitars again space things out with lots of twitchy melodic chord patterns and white-noise hymnal drones that get beaten into the ground by an aggressive, acrobatic drum pattern and immense bass girth.  Harmony-minded, melodically shouted vocals also cast the material in a different light as the grooves embellish ultra-heavy riff-doom played at a swifter tempo.  Incisive, palm-muted licks further the oddball quirks of the song as the low-end’s crystalline tone and speedy shucking provides jet fueled propulsion.  Mutated rhythm riffs are hellbent on damnation doom though Helmut’s double-tracked guitar lines make room for fret flying solos that again showcase Throes as anything but a “by numbers” sludge band.  A lengthy outro riff is so twistedly doom-y, downtrodden and catchy that it seriously gives the best drudges in Crowbar’s catalog a real deal run for their money.

Sabbath via EHG lunges and a little bit of sludgy hardcore/thrash crossover ala Dead Horse render “Planet Lobotomy” a head-banging neck breaker with claw drawn swoops of mid-tempo speed getting drug down into a hell swampg of thick, syrupy sludge and feedback-blasted anti-music.  Midway through the trio launches into a stormy, tempestuous punk/thrash freakout clearly illustrating the crossover ideals that I mentioned earlier (very D.R.I./Dead Horse reminiscent).  Mani’s kick-drum laden, terra firma crumble is loaded with double-barrel d-beat and topped off by screaming guitar solos that whip into frenzied downpicking.  D & b centered groove slowdowns are packed with the kind of NYC noise-rock stuffing that Unsane explode their Thanksgiving turkeys with and the guitar work squeals appropriately over top the rhythmic chunking Chris Spencer style as Helmut somehow manages to make sheer noise musically appealing.  Curtain call jam “Everything is Hostile” takes shape in a formless, spirit sucking, soiled sludge riff but shortly thereafter becomes something else entirely.  Lechner’s bone chewing, Sabertoothed riff grinds shapeshift into gorgeous melodious textures and Lëeb’s classically inspired low-end softness has more in common with Roger Waters than Geezer Butler.  Vocally, things start off with flame-singed cleans and then wander into larynx stretching howls as the riffs bludgeon in hypnotic cycles of jagged, purposeful repetition.  Lëeb does the unthinkable by blowing an aching trombone melody over the bug bombing, crop dusting choke out of sluggardly yet intricate drum complexity, deeply plucked bass grooves and bottomed-out riff melancholy.  It’s hard to believe that the brass fits into this composition, yet it’s the secret ingredient in making “Everything is Hostile” a viciously original sludge sprawl suffocated by an incomparable blanket of sadness.

Throes simply blew me away with every musical inch of Koro.  This is an album that you want to listen to from the first note to the last without interruption.  These guys are fiercely original in the way they can develop their songs into soul sinking anchors of desolation and desperation…they can riff it up as heavy and as nasty as the best of ‘em, pile on the car wreck noise-rock with sincerity, thrash when you least expect it and drag out a doom jam into a sorrowful dirge rendition of “Taps” without copping much (if anything) at all from the Neurosis/Isis written, epic doom playbook.  Killer band, killer album…now I gotta go back and check out the debut!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
March 15th, 2016

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