Review Summary: The time was 3:18 AM...I'm sorry, but we just couldn't save their careers. The cause of death.....was DEATHLESS.
Throwdown has never been the most inventive, groundbreaking band, but they have always managed to deliver competent, yet fun releases while at the same time developing their sound. “Haymaker” was a straight-up hardcore album with tons of angst and anger to spare. Then “Vendetta” hit the selves showing the band’s newfound acceptance of metal, with a heavy metallic hardcore sound that could also easily pass for metalcore, but then “Venom & Tears “arrived and showed them throwing away every bit of their once hardcore sound for complete Pantera-worship, while nothing groundbreaking and did copy Pantera they managed to do a good job at it, and kept the ball rolling. As you can see Throwdown has never been a band to release the same record twice, so many wondered what direction the band would take, and I don’t think you could be anymore disappointed.
I hate to use the term “sell-out” because in some cases the band just decides for a more melodic approach to things, or trying something different that happens to be more accessible…this isn’t the case however. The band has added unnecessary cleans to their sound, they’re not bad by any means as they sound very similar to Godsmack’s Sully Erna, and his screams and yell still have that Phil Anselmo likeness to them. However the band seems to have taken cue from Bury Your Dead’s “It’s Nothing Personal” and adopted the whole “harsh verse, and then a clean chorus, throw in a breakdown or two” songwriting style, and it gets very tiresome to listen to towards the end of the album, well….at least the song titles are kinda cool.
The first track “The Scythe” sounds pretty much like the Throwdown we’re all used to listening to, but not too far into it and things seem to change. The heavy groove riff, that intrigued me disappeared, and the clean almost Mudvayne-esque chorus ensues. “The Blinding Light” sounds basically like Mudvayne trying to cover Down and while it shows that they are trying new things with this new direction, it just simply brings boredom. “Widowed” is actually one of the finer songs on the album, it’s a bit of a grower, but still a well executed balled from a band that would normally never even touch the word. “Headed South” sounds however dangerously close to Godsmack in a lot ways while still retaining their Pantera swagger, but the chorus is deliciously catchy. “Black Vatican“ is one of the more prominent songs on the album because the singer has shown improvement in his vocals as his screams hit harder then they have on more then most of the other songs on the album. “Burial at Sea” introduces some typical metalcore guitars into their newfound sound with several parts sounds similar to a Killswitch riff.
In my entire life I’ve rarely encountered albums I can summarize so easily. The new Throwdown we have here is basically this.
Pantera = Venom & Tears
Mudvayne + Godsmack + Pantera = Deathless
If that appeals to you, then this album is for you, but for everyone else wanting a meatier, more original sound with more personality then you know where to find them.
Burial at Sea
Songs to Skip-
The Blinding Light