Take The Throne
review published: 11/13/2014
Take The Throne are a Canadian five-piece who play what they refer to as Progressive Metalcore. Guardian appears to be their second EP.
The record opens with a throwaway intro track that I suppose does lend some buildup to the first song, but overall is completely unnecessary. "Ghosts," the first song, then goes on to set the tone for the rest of the record: straight forward, no frills melodic metalcore. It is definitely of the August Burns Red ilk. They hammer through melodic guitar leads backed by syncopated chugging riffs with a pretty unrelenting fury. Mid-paced rhythmic breaks are few and far between. Once Take The Throne start, they don't let up. And you don't want them to. Each member of this band is clearly above average skill level at their respective instrument – something that keeps this record appealing as none of the songs really offer any particular standout moments.
The second song, "Captive" follows suit. The thing is, these songs are pleasing to the ear, but there is nothing truly memorable about either of them. They both even utilize a different guest vocalist (members of Beheading Of A King and Ice Nine Kills, respectively), however I am actually not able to discern exactly what part the guest is taking. It seems their presence here may be more for endorsement value than for any actual complimentary vocal role. It doesn't really hurt the album as the lead vocalist has enough range to keep things interesting himself, bouncing between multiple delivery styles.
Take The Throne walk a fine line bordering the cliché, yet really never quite cross it. Sure, they draw upon most of the generic tendencies of the genre, but they never lean too heavily on them. The breakdown is never the focus of the song; it seems to exist merely to support its surrounding parts. The production is super crisp and clean as is expected for the style and, with a few exceptions, never really comes off sounding too robotic. All of this lends to the band coming off as totally earnest and not playing the genre by numbers. Their performance is incredibly endearing even if the songs themselves are rather forgettable.
The middle of the EP is its strongest point. "The Void" and "Beneath It All" seem to spread themselves out a little more. The former ends with a nearly Post Rock inspired guitar lead that is perhaps my favorite part of the record. The lead guitar parts show a little more creativity and these songs sound much tighter overall.
"The Apology" starts off promising, and may have been the most interesting track on the record before it inexplicably cuts out followed by another programmed beat. I can't say I understand the inclusion of this track.
There is not much to separate closer "Artificial Heart" from the rest of the album besides taking a brief detour into a clean guitar oriented section. This song sounds more like it would be buried deep in the record rather than drawing it to a conclusion. There are a few clever moments on this track though, particularly one early on where everything drops out for an ascending guitar line. Expecting this to lead into the usual two-stepping chorus part, I was pleasantly surprised when it was actually followed up by one of the heaviest parts of the entire record.
Following "Artificial Heart" is a bonus track called "Deserter." I'm not sure how this fits (or rather doesn't fit) into the rest of the record, but it is without a doubt the most formulaic song on the album. I was really disappointed to see it make use of the one played out metalcore trend I was excited to not see appear on this record: an insipid, overly processed clean sung chorus. Luckily we pass through that rather quickly and get ourselves to a pretty fun middle section with the guitars harmonizing with each other before unfortunately returning to the chorus.
At 28 minutes (bonus track included) this EP moves pretty quickly. What impressed me most was that Take The Throne aren't trying to jam a million different ideas into each song, they know what they do best and stick to it. If they could develop some of these riffs into something a little more memorable they would really have something.
Bottom Line: There are tons of people out there who will love this record. Yes, it's a bit generic but Take The Throne are very able musicians who show a lot of promise. Guardian isn't breaking down any walls, but it's a pretty enjoyable listen through and through.
Track Listing: 01. Intro 02. Ghosts 03. Captive 04. The Void 05. Beneath It All 06. The Apology 07. Artificial Heart 08. Deserter (bonus track)