Sound — 8
Woe of Tyrants hasn't slacked when it comes to carefully thinking through their latest release Threnody. An album that is as multifaceted lyrically as it is musically, the 10-track CD leaves no doubt as to the serious musicianship within Woe of Tyrants. The meat and bones of the band revolves around the maniacal rhythms of drummer Johnny Roberts, who is a master at double bass pedal work and rarely takes a breather. While Roberts' powerful style could easily dominate the band's sound and it does plenty of times the amazing guitar team of Nick Dozer and Matt Kincaid provides the sufficient amount of melodic riffage to give Threnody a bit more depth. Dozer and Kincaid are certainly the focal point of the first track Tetelestai, a brief instrumental intro that delivers an epic and majestic sound. It's a short and sweet song in the grand scheme of the album, but the primary riff interwoven in Tetelestai is actually one of the most memorable. Woe of Tyrants doesn't waste any time in letting Roberts do what he does best: create a lightning-speed fast attack at his drum set. There is plenty happening with the rhythm guitars, bass (Shaun Gunter), and death growls of Chris Catanzaro in Creatures of the Mire, but in many ways it's the Johnny Roberts Show. If you like unrelenting metal, you'll be in heaven with Creatures of the Mire. Tempting of the Wretch is a standout track thanks to the dramatic ups and downs throughout the course of the song. The lead work sounds as if it's in the forefront of the audio mix a bit more, and it's in these moments when Woe of Tyrants is at their most effective. There are some very interesting nuances that Dozer and Kincaid have written within their lead work, and it's allowed to shine over the often dominating bass pedal. With the addition of a few more tempo changes, Tempting of the Wretch results in being more dynamic. While death metal purists will be perfectly content with the first half of Threnody, it's not until the last half that the band's creativity is revealed in full. The title track, which at six minutes long could be considered the most epic offering on the album, includes some interesting musical choices such as an acoustic opening that contains almost a Renaissance vibe. Outshining Threnody, however, is The Venus Orbit, an instrumental which integrates a Middle-Eastern style approach the lead work.
Lyrics — 8
Apparently the band combined a few unique sources of inspiration when writing the lyrics for Threnody. The term threnody refers to a song of mourning and the band's bio explained the gist of the album was inspired by a non-specific individual traveling between planets searching for answers, while paralleling Satan's fall from grace to damnation at the same time. These are pretty specific, heavy topics that are apt choices to accompany the music. There is most certainly a poetic, literary approach whether it's in Creatures of the Mire (But this place is familiar; The sites, the sounds, the face of the beast; Breathing mirrors reflecting me, I share in their needs) or Tempting the Wretch (Awaken screaming in the darkest of the night. The fire heats the sky, lifting me into a conscious nightmare). Dramatic though the lyrical content may be, it's still cohesive and focused.
Overall Impression — 8
While the passionate rhythms do tend to overshadow most everything else on Threnody, Woe of Tyrants does have their more subdued, melody-driven moments. The track Singing Surrender, although primarily dominated by the melodic death metal sound, concludes with an elegant piano outro. In general Catanzaro's vocals are of the straightforward, incomprehensible death growl variety and may not be for everyone, but even that kind of presence can't overshadow the impressive instrumentation.