Are you prepared to get doomed to death???  Well if you are let’s welcome England/Germany’s Thronehammer, with their third album Kingslayer.  A 7 ton lumbering beast of long ass doom metal, 9 songs in a brisk 75 minutes.

If you’re a fan of their prior albums, Usurper of the Oaken Throne in 2019 and Incantation Rites, from 2021, which I reviewed here, you know the band writes LONG….songs and they are ridiculously heavy.  When I listen to doom metal, that is a prerequisite for me.  If it’s not heavy then what the hell is the point, right?  We’ve got Uwe Void on bass, Tim HammerSmith/ Stuart West on guitars, Markus Ströhlein on drums and Kat Shevil Gillham on vox.

The album cover this time around, is more of a cartoon type of drawing, unlike their other albums, where I thought those covers went more with the music.  The drawing is cool, and since there are lopped off heads and skulls, well in my book of metal covers, you cannot really get more metal than that.

“Reign of Steel” begins with some excellent guitar melodies, with some simple cymbal hit and then after a minute the rest of the music erupts with Kat’s powerful vocals coming through super clear and powerful.  This guitar riff, is headbangers worthy.  This would be a great opening song, live.  I can see the crown headbanging in unison while they throw up their metal horns as well.  Very catchy.  The song is heavy doom, but not a lumbering crawling type, on this album opener. Around the 4 minute mark, there are some cool drum rolls and then the song picks up the pace, ever so slightly.  A doom gallop, if you will.  I really love the vocal chorus and this is one of the best songs the band has written.  Kat, throws, some lower register growls, in there.  Kind of a nod to doom/death metal.

The title track is up next and because the second part of this album name, just happens to be the name of the best thrash metal band there ever was, Kat says the title track, at the beginning and when Slayer comes in, as the word, c’mon, Kat, that is your ‘ode to Tom Araya, as she belts out Slayer, in a vintage Tom Araya type of scream, circa 1983-1986.  This homage warms my dark and blackened heart, immensely.  The opener was 7 minutes and this is 5 ½ minutes and this is the perfect length of time.  The song is bludgeoning and the melodies at the 3.50 mark are crafted quite nicely.

“Echoes of Forgotten Battles”, at over 10 minutes, is epic, in many ways.  Nice little pinch harmonics in the beginning and some deathly bellows erupting from Kat.  This beginning resembles doom/death metal and at the 90-second mark once that guitar riff hits, I am like Fuck Yeah!!!!!  Another pure metal foot-stomping pounding beat.  Kat uses a variety of her vocal ranges on this song and more excellent guitar melodies throughout this song and a very cool guitar solo around the 3 minute mark.  Halfway through the song the drum rolls are like battle marches before the music comes back into full swing.  Great song.

“Ascension” closes the album and at over 11 minutes, you’ll know why.  The opening is melodic and sounds like it could have been written in 1991, for some reason.  A lot of 80’s homage going on here, from the guitars and atmospheric moments.  The softer and quitter moments on this song work well, alongside the heavier passages, but by and large, a very melodic doom metal number.  I can feel the Iron Maiden and Paradise Lost melodies, towards the end of the song as well.

Thronehammer is back and stronger than ever, with Kingslayer.  Heavy, emotive, moving, powerful, atmospheric and by and large the band knows metal.  And they know how to play it really heavy.  With doom metal, you know you’re going to be listening to a long album and 75 minutes is a lot to ask from the casual listener.  You will, however, find, many interesting riffs and a lot of catchy vocal and rhythmic patters throughout this album.  This moves and crushes!


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
December 20th, 2023


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