Review Summary: A borderline overbearingly heavy mixture of grind, d-beat and hardcore, that dwells on the utmost negative. Yet, it's exhilaratingly organic and sincere, so that those sharing its emotional realm will find it rewarding and deeply intimate.
Negativity is often rejected as a valid driving force for artistic expression. In the realm of music, film, modern art many works have been dismissed as lingering on the disheartening side of the emotional spectrum. Still, many creations, which are unquestionable masterpieces - be it literary works such as Faust, Othello or Paradise Lost, films of W. Herzog, Beksinski’s or Bosh’s paintings – are marked with motifs of human’s inherent malevolence, God complex, pride, suffering and defects of his Earthly form, with all of its limitations and fissures that will impede, if not stop them from reaching divinity.
Most such art forms the fundamental disconnect, wherein the person is put in shoes of an observer, rather than a participant. It gives a commentary on the human condition, which is almost entirely intellectual due to its pedigree, thus disallowing a full engagement. Music, however, is by its origin a tool to help people share an experience. One can criticize music for artifice, being insensate, but rarely for an honest display of what tumbles deep inside artist’s heart and mind.
Such is the case with the eponymous Throats’ album. An album as harmful as it is cathartic. Within a span of less than 18 minutes the band explores multiple genres, weaving them together with skill to the point of indiscernibility. All of them indispensable – they form an acrid, volatile concoction. The album is not a collage of pieces. Each style is an instrument that serves one purpose – to express disappointment and rage.
A short-lived, doom-inspired opener, that catches breath before the cataclysmic mid-section, which leaves the musicians crawling towards the track’s end. The subsequent, equal parts grind and d-beat “My hands Are Cold”; Converge-esque “*** life”; despondent, then determined and exultant “Failgiver” with its acoustic conclusion; sentimental “Something Low”; the concluding “Oaken/Wait”, which momentarily carries mathcore staples, to transmute into a long-winded epic.
The stylistic amalgam’s subtlety found on this album is the polar opposite to the music’s intensity. It should be clearly stated, that its fierceness rises not from the albums production, but rather from its organic feel. The musicians' parts play off of each other, leads are passed around between the band mates. Though short-lived, the sounds are given time to resound, then fade into the next. The soundscape is full of overbearingly quick progressions on all parts one moment, lifts you up with an interlude-like speck the next, just to subsequently submerge you in the aural stream. The songs’ dynamics are masterful. Their structure is dense with interplaying parts; guitar parts sway left to right, drums roll up and down – sometimes gracefully, sometimes violently. The crust-y, screamo vocals flow atop the music - they all rise and fall in unison. Albeit punishingly heavy, all the constituents feel as if they flow and intertwine in a smooth sinusoidal fashion.
Lyrically the album deals with themes of civil disillusionment, desolation, hopelessness, rejection of love. Given the mind-bendingly intense nature of the vocal delivery, one will be hard pressed to make out even a small portion of what is being touched on in the text. This however, leading to one of the album’s negative sides, might be of benefit to some, as the lyrical content, however sincere, is somewhat hit-and-miss with its stylistics. Vulgar, vitriolic parts collide with abstract imagery in a Beat Generation fashion, yet some might criticize them for being stylistically misguided and jarring. Looking past the blemishes, the honesty and part scathing, part confessional nature of the lyrics come together well with the music.
Reveling in negativity, conjuring-up or – more disturbingly – re-living a state of utmost loss, soul-crushing realization, Throats have created an album that reeks of attitude of a wounded dog. Brutalized and rejected, it’s torn between a frail state of neurosis and desperate need for a violent retaliation for the hardship endured to come out a victor, uttering its last breath. It’s unapologetically heavy, astonishingly dynamic, satisfyingly varied. Yet, it’s immovable in its emotional sphere- occupied by suffering, rage and desolation. These negative feelings, however, amount to a cathartic experience, which shows that - just as with a Moebius Strip – once you go far enough, you’ll emerge on the other side.