Is nine years too long a time to dredge up the ghosts of records past? Especially one which most people, even in the deathcore community, may have never actually listened to?
Probably, but indulge me for a minute.
At the Throne of Judgement was a great band, I'll go on the record with that. A band who produced arguably one of the best deathcore albums in those early, heady days of the genre. Back when bands didn't know where the emerging fusion of traditional metalcore and it's hard-drinking, seedy older cousin death metal, was going.
Melodic metal was in it's heyday back in 2007, with MTV's 'Headbangers Ball' playing a Beneath the Sky cut between Chiodos and Lamb of God, before getting squeezed off right at 11 p.m by Soulja Boy's newest f-ckery.
And while all us angsty scene kids were getting bored of the sing-scream routine, vying to prove to the world that we weren't pussies, and seeking new and better ways to make our parents squirm when we played a new album, deathcore found us.
Without sounding like I'm too far up my own ass, I know, because my 17-year-old self was right there with it, playing my old Ibanez in ***ty underground venues, watching the older generation of metal bands burn out. Before Suicide Silence dropped “The Cleansing,” before Job For a Cowboy disowned the genre it nearly single-handedly created and before Rise Records was exclusively for Warped Tour acts, deathcore faced an identity crisis.
This crisis produced At the Throne of Judgement. It sits comfortably in the space between metalcore and deathcore: aggressive, relentless and heavy but sincere in it's earnestness. It never gloats over it's own 'brutality' or 'heaviness.'
In a sentence, in my mind, it showcases the best moment of deathcore, bottled up and left on the shelf to age. Everything about this album knows exactly what it want's to be, the songs radiate energy and move organically.
In Slavoj Zizek's brilliant movie, "The Pervert's Guide to Ideology," he discusses the paradigm presented by the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, where local communists revolted against the USSR to institute a more 'humane' form of communism.
The Soviets reacted swiftly, and crushed the revolution, and in under a month, the immediate reality of a better, more perfect communism was dashed.
But Zizek argues that this physical defeat actually served to keep the dream of a 'true' communism alive, as in, 'The Soviets crushed our revolution because they knew if we had won, we would have created a workers utopia.' Zizek argues that if their revolution had succeed, they would likely have become another authoritarian Soviet satellite state, no different than the USSR.
And here we come full circle to At the Throne of Judgement's 2007 deathcore masterpiece 'The Arcanum Order,' perfectly and flawlessly preserving the dream of a better deathcore, before it's legacy was cut short by college ambitions.
We'll never know if ATTOJ would have been a forerunner of a less chuggy, more virtuous deathcore, but that's the beauty of this album. After a rumored reunion, and a few released tracks a couple years ago, the band again dropped off the face of the earth, presumably for good. Again.
But it's likely that if they had stuck around, they would have gone the way of so many other deathcore bands, running out of steam after a few albums and settling to plug along, releasing identical albums and playing smaller and smaller venues until the disappeared with a whisper.
But we'll never know. They came in, and went out, with a bang.