May 7, 2010 | , | 3

Woe of Tyrants, Threnody

Woe of Tyrants: Threnody

I’m not usually big on the whole pro-Christian message that bands like Woe of Tyrants tend to perpetrate, but I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion. Luckily for me, whatever lyrical significance that may lay amongst the melodo-tinged death metal these guys dole out isn’t nearly as direct as other bands out there. No matter how you look at it, vocalist Chris Catanzaro does his best to dispel any religious stigma the band may have with a combination of low/high growls and screams.

That all aside, there are a few stand out moments on the band’s third album, Threnody. Most significant is the stellar drum work of Johnny Roberts — the dude is all over the place yet wholly controlled and restrained at just the right moments throughout the disc. The dueling guitars that deliver technical riffs and leads are pretty damned impressive as well, but ultimately it’s one of the band’s instrumentals where the duo really shine.

Overall, the album was a pleasant surprise. The song writing it tight, well structured and complete with all the trappings one would expect from melodic technical death metal, even a really crisp production. Regardless of whatever theme the album or band may carry, Threnody is still a damned head-banging good time.

I could give or take this opening instrumental.

Creatures of the Mire
The first real song on the album is also probably the hardest hitting track. “Creature of the Mire” is carried by some pretty technical guitar work and manic blasts from the drums. The galloping rhythm that the band settles in is permeated at times by frantic double-kick attacks and searing lead/riff combos. Vocally, the growls and higher end screams are spot on for the style these dudes are shredding. Be sure to also check out the lead around the two minute mark.

Venom Eye
“Venom Eye” has an opening feel that is more anthem like and epic than the aggressive nature of the previous song. The guitars are quite melodic at times, contrasting with the manic paces that the rhythm section are laying down. It’s a catchy song that’s got plenty of technical flares and groove. It’s probably one of the more well rounded tracks on the album, not to mention one of the sweetest dueling lead trade-offs.

Tempting the Wretch
As must of a problem I have with over the top Christian themed albums, I also can’t stand generic goth. I bring this up because this next song has some goth-like female vocals thrown into the mix — an addition to this bruising song (along with light keyboards) that actually fits in nicely. Again, Roberts’ drum work is outstanding as the duel guitars riff and shred like there’s no tomorrow. As a whole, this is another well executed melo-death track that doesn’t lack in the bludgeoning area of things.

The opening acoustic guitars to the title track is a nice touch to help break up the heavier vibe the album is kicking out. They are catchy, memorable and shift smoothly into churning, thrash fueled riffs as the drums and keyboards come in. I’m a big fan of bands that save their best moments for the title track. Woe of Tyrants is no exception, as “Threnody” is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, songs on the album. At nearly six and a half minutes in length, it’s also the album’s longest song, yet never stalls, constantly moving forward.

More technical, melodic-tinged death metal greets you with “Bloodsmear.” The vocals initially are a bit deeper and more “evil” in their delivery. There are some sweet riff/lead moments on this track that are layered perfectly on top of one another. This isn’t the best song on the album, but it’s the best showcase of the clean production.

The Venus Orbit
Here’s another instrumental that blows that intro out of the water. Building on a base of Middle Eastern inspired tones, the guitars and tribal drums throughout the song are distant in nature, but build a nice atmosphere from which the band transitions smoothly into the next song. This is certainly an interesting track that almost stands out a bit too much, slightly taking away from the more aggressive material.

Lightning Over Atlantis
“Lightning Over Atlantis” carries in smoothly from the previous track with a Slayer like vibe to it before the band settles into a churning, galloping rhythm. After rereading that sentence, I had to giggle at the irony it contains — a Christian leaning band utilizing the tone of one of the more notoriously anti-Christian bands ever. At any rate, this is a pretty decent song with the requisite elements of the style they’ve been slinging the entire album.

Singing Surrender
The opening riffs are catchy and have a bit of a rock groove to them as the band throws in dramatic keyboard elements that I could have personally done without, but whatever. I think we’ve passed the more creative and better written material of the album. “Singing Surrender” is a beefy song with lots of manic and frenzied explosions, but it’s got a bit of a cookie cutter feel to the majority of it. Still, it’s enjoyable to listen to.

Descendit Ad Inferos (The Harrowing of Hell)
The final song on Threnody has a more atmospheric, slowly building opening minute or so than any other song on the disc. It’s like the band took elements of their instrumental work and combined it with their melodic death riffs. It seems to work as the song is pretty darn good, even with a slightly brighter tone and the inclusion of more keyboard elements.

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