Album Reviews : Claim the Throne – Triumph and Beyond
There is a solid folk emergence in this country at the moment, with bands like Ironwood, Arbrynth, Bane of Isildur and Troldhaugen delivering quality pagan influenced music. And now firmly entrenched in that list is undoubtedly Perth’s Claim the Throne, who return with a second full length album offering power, melody, comedy and beer funnels, among other things.
Triumph and Beyond is an album that showcases a darker sound than their previous releases, yet containing all the folk nourishment and battle calls you’d expect from one so devout to the Viking themes. Broadly, the album could be described as a melodic folk/death album (read: Finntroll meets Ancient Rites), with the band focussing on developing the concepts and imagery created on their debut Only the Brave Return, with sections of the sing-a-long ‘jigability’ feel from Aletales.
Weaving back and forth between inspiring, mournful and triumphant, the opening handful of songs each have their own moments however it is midway through the album where the formidable five-piece make it to the pinnacle of their skills with the standout track The Thousand Thunders. It is almost as if they have channelled the genius out of a Jari Mäenpää carving, with great melodies, pace and fantastic vocals displayed early before slotting into a delightful groove.
The drumming – whilst never being poor on previous releases – has had a major lift with new member Oscarius creating imagery of rolling thunder with his ‘oaken hammers’, defining both the bands better realised power and developed faster pace. Lead man Baronaxe’s vocals sometimes get lost in the mix during the heavier tracks, or perhaps rather don’t come through as well as the guitars for example, however when used in his comical accented ballad form, are highly entertaining and well delivered in harmony with keyboardist Jesselina’s supporting vocals.
The latter stages of the album showcase a trio of re-recorded tracks from years past, and much improved in some cases. From the 5th gear version of Two Pints of Honey & a Barrel Full of Beer, to the ballad edition of Set Sail on Ale – a track that has made the progression from hell saucy to exceedingly hell saucy! But probably the highlight of the re-records is the appearance of Words of the Great Oak – a track that stood out on their debut but lacked the clinical finish to make it truly memorable. Once again the drumming here, along with some variations on the guitar, provides the key.
While I’ll stop short of saying this album is a must have no matter what your preference in metal, what I will say is that if you are in any way enamoured by the folky side of metal – and lets face it, there aren’t many who don’t fall into this category – then grab a case of your favourite brews, set up your campfire and immerse yourself in the wondrous tales told by these here minstrels!
Band: Claim the Throne
Album: Triumph and Beyond
Genre: Folk/Death Metal
Label: Prime Cuts Music
Release Date: December 4th 2010.
Origin: Perth, Australia
1. Conquer, Trounce, Vanquish
2. They Shall Live On
3. Through The Rage Of The Storm
4. Mystical Hermit Of The Woods
5. The Thousand Thunders (Reviewers Choice)
6. Triumph And Beyond
7. The Lake
8. Rat Infested Hut
9. Two Pints Of Honey And A Barrel Full Of Beer
10. The Sermon
11. Words from the Great Oak (Bonus Track)
12. Set Sail on Ale (Bonus Track)