Throne of Nails
Acts of War

By nature, the somewhat static structure of death metal doesn’t allow for too many innovators, i.e. there’s only so far a band can stretch those boundaries before their music is considered either a rip-off of an already established band or an incorporation of other musical styles shunned by purists.

Flipping through the CD booklet, one might think that England’s Throne Of Nails are a black metal group with names like Pazuzu, Cthon, and the ridiculous Nyralathotep, not to mention Cthon’s Halloween monster makeup bought at his neighborhood five-and-dime. But the group has reportedly played headlining gigs all over Britain to capacity crowds, and hundreds of fans can’t possibly be wrong!

Truth be told, Acts Of War is full-on death metal, clocking in at just under 27 minutes like all good death-metal albums have/should, plus it’s a concept album of sorts: demons retaking the world in the name of evil, broken up into two suites, Act I: Oppression and Act II: Annihilation. The atmospheric intro “Invasion” sets the mood with a military-like march before “Spoils Of War” starts the shredding. But it’s not until the third track, “Minions,” that the band’s main influences dawn on the listener: Morbid Angel and Vader.

Not only does the gruffly throated Matt Henderson (aka Pazuzu Two Headed Death) sound like Morbid’s David Vincent/Steve Tucker, but he also mimics the technical virtuosity of the Eddie Van Halen of death metal, Trey Azagthoth, throughout the record. The blinding speed of Morbid’s Pete Sandoval is replicated jaw-droppingly in drummer Mark Smith (aka Nyralathotep Crawling Chaos), especially evident in “I Command.” The excellent “So The World May Be Dark” contains slower passages and heavier chords that can be compared to similar moments from Morbid Angel’s Covenant. Another dark ambient intro, “Apocalypse,” kicks off Act II, and “Cast The War” eats its way through Morbid’s Domination. “Scar Of Creation” and “Souls To Be Crushed” (the latter’s lyrics featuring the same type of “foreign” language used by Morbid and Nile) bleed together in a Vader/Cannibal Corpse/Immolation puddle, while “Bled By Infinity” reprises the band’s more deliberate Morbid Angel leanings.

Ultimately, Throne Of Nails do justice to Morbid Angel and Vader (live favorites include covers of Morbid’s “Rapture” and Vader’s “Sothis”), and boldly do these guys wear their influences on their sleeves as well as having the chops to back them up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dan Woolley
January 22nd, 2002

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Open grave records has this for $4- worth it i wonder?


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