Sound — 8
At the Throne of Judgment (ATTOJ) is an American heavy metal band from Lebanon, Ohio. The band formed in 2005, signing a deal with Rise Records the following year and released a full-length album titled "The Arcanum Order" in 2007 before disbanding the same year. "The Arcanum Order" is their only release to date, it has twelve tracks. At the time of the albums recording, the band members were all relatively young, however the album does not at all sound like highschool kids wrote it. From the short opening track, to the final song, this album is all business. Not one single weak song is on this album, it is artfully recorded and produced. Though this album was released nearly 7 years ago, it is still relevant. The style of music is heavy metal with a tasteful mix of hardcore. I would compare the sound to that of early Job For a Cowboy and As I Lay Dying. The guitars are drop-tuned, drums are fast and full of doublebass footwork, and the vocals are guttural and at times the high screams revel any other high in heavy metal then and now. Did I mention there is a number of rather impressive guitar solos on this record? All of them are remarkable in some way. Also many of the songs have portions of the verses where the guitar fills are written as daul harmonies, which speaks to the musical talent of guitarist Matt Creekmore. "Horus Rises" has the best solo on the album, and yes it is complete with a dual harmony part to surely melt your face. 1. "Cacophonous" - Ominous, ambient, opening track the sounds like your alone on a naval ship after battle 2. "Sentinel" - Begins with a larger than life drum intro and kicks into high gear with high screaming vocals and powerful sludging guitar riffs. This song displays the vocal talent of Eric Kemp, also has impressive guitar solo. 3. "The Mariner's Cutlass" - Heavy, aggressive, and chest pounding could all describe this song. Written about an epic battle at sea against Neptune and other sea creatures. 4. "Horus Rises" - Best guitar and drum work on the album. Written about man's internal struggle. 5. "Discarnate by Design" - Death, murder, woman's scorn. "Oh, how the night reminds me of my shadowed thought... My malicious plot unveiling to me what redemption I had previously lost." 6. "Four Winds" - Instrumental, clean guitars. 7. "Cosmic Meteor Shower" 8. "Martyrdom; Ruin of Gaia" - Destruction of an Empire - Heaviest song on the album. 9. "Tomb of the Thracians" - Excellent guitar work, interesting guitar solo. 10. "Delphic Star" - Mythology us a heavy theme in the track. 11. "The Captive" - Probably the most interesting song on the album, very diverse sound and effects. 12. "Outro" - Piano/instrumental.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are a mix of historical conflict and epic, larger than life short stories. This excerpt from track 3 title "Mariner's Cutlass": "Standing, here, before Neptune's bounteous abode, nautical beings rise from the sea screaming mutiny 'Why do I clench this ivory hilt? This was the vision I once dreamed to build' Ravishing the commander with thy blade it was I who was saved." The song ends with the sound of waves and tightening sails, it really does a great job of painting a picture in your mind. The vocals and lyrics go great with the style of music. The epic overtones are a match made in Olympus, they seem larger than life. Eric Kemp's vocals are strong, his low end vocals make him seem like a titan among men.
Overall Impression — 10
As I stated above, "The Arcanum Order" would compare to Job For a Cowboy's "Genesis" album, or As I Lay Dying "Frail Words Collapse." "Mariner's Cutlass" and "Martyrdom; Ruin of Gaia" are the two strongest songs on the album, however every song is brilliantly performed and recorded. If it were lost or stolen I would purchase again in a heartbeat, this has been one of my absolute favorites and will continue to be for years to come. I've spend a lot of time looking for heavy music that has more than just an attitude with detuned guitars. This album incorporates all my favorite things, ships, sailors, swords, and swashbuckling lyrics. The band broke up in 2007 so that the members could persue college educations. In the 6 years since, the members have hinted at a reunion. I would definitely welcome a new ATTOJ album to my collection.