Blood Red Throne
Union of Flesh and Machine
(Candlelight/Spinefarm)

It feels like a minor travesty that Norwegian death metal group Blood Red Throne aren’t better known, at least here in the States. Eight albums in, and they still feel like an afterthought. It’s a shame because their back catalog is remarkably consistent, but their latest feels like their best yet. Union of Flesh and Machine (and it’s rather silly album art) doesn’t feature any major sonic shifts, just a minor tune up. Blood Red Throne’s sound is still one part Cannibal Corpse’s brutality, one part Morbid Angel’s pummeling riffs, and another part Pantera’s southern groove. It’s a rather punishing sound (and it’s a bit funny that a Norwegian metal band basically takes all its cues from America’s greatest), but Blood Red Throne know how to inject just enough melody to keep things interesting.

Let’s not pretend this isn’t mostly a gloriously crushing record, though. “Exposed Mutation” trades off a neck-snapping pace with a neat little Eastern melody. “Homicidal Ecstasy” showcases how to skirt the line between brutal and melodeath without sacrificing any aggression. Impressively, there is no weak song on the record, as Union of Flesh and Machine sees the band operating at machine-like efficiency. Riffs are top-notch. The solos are excellent when they appear (they could pop up more often, but it’s a nitpick). The rhythm section is beyond solid.

If there is a nagging problem it’s the two bonus tracks feel unnecessary and make what would have been a perfect death metal record feel a tad overlong. Sure, the cover of “Leather Rebel” is pretty great, but why re-release one of your old songs? The album is quite let down by these two tracks. Otherwise, Blood Red Throne offer up one Hell of a convincing argument to finally break out. Their eighth album is their bet yet and may go down as one of the top death metal albums of the year.

Purchase Union of Flesh and Machine here: Physical | iTunes

4-half-stars

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