Review Summary: Who knew Britain had so much to scream about?
Have you ever been lost in a forest? It’s frightening- to say the least. I mean sure, it’s easy to unknowingly meander to and fro, with the optimism that you’ll reach your destination safe and sound before nightfall. Though, what about the time when you don’t
arrive back home safely. Take a few minutes to picture a thick forest in the feeble grasp of twilight- as your heart begins to race and your imagination begins to swell. This is where the opener to Throats’ self-titled release, “Wake” would emerge. For those next 17 and a half minutes- expect nothing but frantic and discordant intensity- because Throats IS
the soundtrack to that oh-so-horrible feeling. Like a distressing experience such as being lost in a forest, Throats
is dense, convoluted, and frantic; but don’t let that deter you- Throats’ debut full-length is a rewarding experience.
Forgive me for taking myself and my impression of Throats
too seriously, but this really packs a punch. Short and swe- well, maybe not sweet... Throats definitely takes things to the next level with their debut full-length. In the past, this hardcore band from across the Atlantic has been hailed pretty highly. “Converge on acid,” the Gallows front man called them, and Throats was also pegged as one NME’s “bands to look out for.” That’s pretty hefty for a band that’s only released a few demos and splits. In my opinion, Throats
manages to withstand the expectations that have been built around them like a moat; they don’t necessarily hurdle the moat in a flying leap, per se, but they get to the other side safely and surely. What I’m trying to say is- Throats isn’t without faults, of course. The album is a bit short-lived. Clocking in at less than 20 minutes, Throats never quite get a chance to cement their style and make their presence known. Throats is certainly dynamic, but this inhibits their ability to create a truly memorable experience as the album tends to drift.
Now that the nasty part (ephemeral as it is) is out of the way, let’s move on to the diverting aspect, shall we? For starters, it becomes clear right away that Throats
is a fierce and even harrowing experience. To revisit the allegory that began this review- Throats is a rough and unrelenting band that exerts an incredible
amount of sheer energy. The opening chords of “Wake” aren’t very telling; deliberate and slow, this is as much a break as Throats is willing to give. For a more revealing picture of Throats
, fast forward to “*** Life” and feast your ears on the collision of incomprehensible screams (a la hardcore punk style) and highly technical riffs. The more noteworthy moments, though, come in the variation on Throats
, the times they differ from the tried-and-true formula of loud/abrasive + loud/abrasive + loud/abrasive = loud/abrasive. All but one of the songs fit into intense 2 minute stampedes, and that is the ambitious closer. Listen to “Oaken/Wait” (not too
many times though- I don’t want your ears to fall off) and hear Throat’s ability to construct a 7-minute epic. With layers and riffs galore, the song even includes a sample in the background that eventually erupts to a woman’s shrill screams before tailspinning down into a valley of minimal guitar strums to smooth over the damage done by Throats.
While it pains me to say so, I can’t find anything too special about the vocals on Throats, obviously a large part of the picture. The screams definitely aren’t too shabby, but at times the singer’s style falls victim to a little monotony and gets stuck in a lull. Other than that, I assure you that the screams and growls are very suitable and fitting for the overall sense of frantic and impassioned aesthetic that is such a large part of Throats.
While it is intense and a bit grating- Throats
manages to be listenable, still. Most likely due to the short time span and range of sounds. The album is very much chaotic; yet it’s really the moments of beauty buried deep underneath the walls of sound that display Throats’ true talents. From the impeccable riffs near the middle of “Failgiver” or the fervent drumming that appears at the end of “My Hands Are Cold,” there’s certainly a new gem to uncover with each subsequent listen. With their substantial energy and impassioned all-around style, Throats are bound to be compared to heavyweights like Converge. Though, I urge you not to compare Throats to their overseas predecessors, because their self-titled debut is surely an album that can stand on its own without (however apt) comparisons to buttress it.