Iron Thrones
The Wretched Sun


3.5
great

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
July 26th, 2010 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Iron Thrones walk a thin line, if only to diversify their sound.

A well-kept secret in 2008, Visions of Light was one of these self-produced, pay-what-you-feel-like-it deals: under advertised, underappreciated, and for Minnesota’s Iron Thrones, a little unrewarding. But hey, that’s only looking at the album from a financial point of view. How the hell did that progressive death metal beast sound? Big surprise, but yeah, you guessed it, like Opeth – well, minus the abundant acoustic interludes (okay, so there were a couple in there) and those clean, sweetly sung melodic vocals. You could basically just think of it like Akerfeldt’s winning formula with all the harsh knobs twisted to their limits, the overall tempo sped up a little, and all without the ridiculous amounts of hype surrounding its release. Sounds ideal for many metalheads, right?

Pretty much, pretty much – except Iron Thrones had a little bit of trouble forming an identity for themselves, much less have an album that remained memorable for listeners after having listened. For all its intricacies, well-played instrumentals, and reverent homage to the band’s influences, Visions of Light played straight through its length like one song, over and over. It was more a problem of a lack of diversification in the band’s aesthetic when you got down to it; progressive death metal like Iron Thrones' brand needs a little more umph and, uh, to put it lightly, stuff going on in its playing field. Bands like this are often put into a tough situation, as short of kissing up to the big O, even more so in Iron Thrones’ case, it’s really hard to make something interesting, or more accurately, relevant in this subgenre of metal.

Somehow Iron Thrones and have done just that with their new EP, The Wretched Sun, though: diversified their sound without humping Akerfeldt more than they already were to begin with. Take for instance first song “Like A Month To Flame”: Singer Adam Clemans and crew now have a larger ear for melody this time out – but wait, hold on before you shout your two-word phrases of rage; the melody is incorporated into the music as a hall monitor to make sure the band stay on track, pick a memorable theme or phrase, and then build their metal upon it. This opening song is the best example of this, but throughout the EP, Iron Thrones generally keep Clemans augmented around chorus-like lines to give their songs clearer direction, even during the varied course of prog-epic “I Once Had the Crown”. The melodies are not enough to distract, though, so don’t think this another In Flames, or even In Mourning, for that matter, but they're seemingly just a safety precaution to make sure the band don't lose you (again).

A quick spin through The Wretched Sun’s six tracks and you’ll find a few more slowed-down sections of the music when compared to Iron Thrones’ debut, Visions of Light. This draws more glances to Opeth, obviously, but the band have some dignity about how they how include these sections into the songs, particularly on “Against The Grain” and the aforementioned twelve-minute “I Once Had the Crown”. Instead of resorting to acoustics, Steven Henningsgard keeps his guitar on a bluesy, clean level, and rather than have these picked notes run in sync with the band’s heavier moments, they typically only act as a lead-in; in many cases, it’s as if a chord change takes place between the soft to harder sections of the music. A big deal? No, but it’s important to at least note the differences between Iron Thrones and Opeth, especially when this band are obviously trying to diversify their sound. There are even some clean vocals here and there on The Wretched Sun (“Against The Grain”), but these moments are brief, and Clemans sounds nothing like Akerfeldt in this realm of tongue.

Even so, all things considered, you can probably guess that Iron Thrones are clearly walking a thin line between making something that’s legitimate in progressive death metal and that of just jumping on the leader of the pack’s train. It’s a line that Norway’s She Said Destroy walk on as well, and recently Ikuinen Kaamos, too. But you can’t really fault these bands all that much, though, as Opeth cover a pretty large, daunting territory as far as this music goes; however, on the other hand, when listening to these bands' music you can't help but feel like you're getting something that's less than the best, so to speak. As they continue on in their career, Iron Thrones will have a difficult time with keeping up with at least the bare minimum with each release; inevitably, each write-up for their material will contain Opeth comparisons, and like the other bands listed, Iron Thrones are very likely to be kept under the bigger band's shadow for much of their career. The Wretched Sun is the closest that the band can get to a sound that doesn't blatantly rip-off the genre leader, and as such, it's probably best that Iron Thrones continue to make music in the future that's very much in line with this EP.



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user ratings (49)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
July 26th 2010


5819 Comments


stream

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/6

also free download of debut

http://download.ironthrones.com/

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Apollo
July 26th 2010


10373 Comments


this sounds interesting. Good review too.

bloc
July 26th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Album is boring, their chord progressions on this album suck compared to Visions.

BreakdownsXplease
July 26th 2010


56 Comments


Hmm will check this out now while I am free, it might be good.

jingledeath
July 26th 2010


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

didn't know they had new material available, will check out.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2010


19063 Comments


Definately going to check this out, i've been looking for music like this lately.

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2

lostforwords
July 26th 2010


446 Comments


Damn, what a name for a metal band!!!

maidenpmcc
July 26th 2010


1425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

EP is quite awesome, a total dig.

ianjulian
July 26th 2010


637 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's probably best Iron Thrones album

Nagrarok
July 26th 2010


8315 Comments


I remember wanting to listen to their debut when it came out. Never got around to it because I couldn't find it so easily.

Also, pos and such.

Hoopy
July 26th 2010


15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Been waiting for this for a while and it didn't disappoint.

Willie
Moderator
July 26th 2010


16148 Comments


Good review (although it feels a bit rushed compared to some of your others).

I heard these guys while doing the "Free Music" feature, and they were very similar to Opeth. I remember liking the album, but I eventually deleted it.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Obfuscation24
July 26th 2010


3939 Comments


Pos'd. Album is sick.

TheFantasticDangler
July 26th 2010


1174 Comments


I find them a little boring, but I'll try m best to get into it. Also, sometimes its way to Opeth-esque

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

TRMshadow
July 26th 2010


4982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, Pos'd. Like Visions of Light a little better though. This will probably receive a 3.5 or a 4 in my book.

Willie
Moderator
July 26th 2010


16148 Comments


I believe its "Ikuinen Kaamos" not "Ikuinen Kaimos."
Either way, that's a good band right there.

Ponton
Emeritus
July 26th 2010


5819 Comments


Thanks for the feedback everyone, and I'll see what I can do to with my writing Willie

Willie
Moderator
July 26th 2010


16148 Comments


There's nothing wrong with your writing as a whole, this just seemed a little less smooth than some of your previous reviews.

Ponton
Emeritus
July 26th 2010


5819 Comments


hmm, alright, I think I misplaced some of my flow have way in reading over it

I think you might like bits of this. Production is stronger in a good way, and the songwriting is overall better imo. try the first track if you're ever curious.

TheFantasticDangler
July 26th 2010


1174 Comments


Good review, but you put "I Once Had A Crown" instead of "I Once Had the Crown". Sorry, haha, such a tiny mistake.



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