Album review: Thronehammer – Incantation Rites

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Two things about doom: in its purest form it has a habit of being surprisingly uplifting, and more than any other corner of metal, its best proponents are always, always fanatics. Such is the case with Thronehammer who, despite the lengthy commute between singer Kat Gilham’s home in the North-East of England, and the rest of the band in Nuremberg, Germany, have constructed a magnificent second album here that’s as much a stroke of heavy genius with a charisma of its own as it is a tribute to doom metal itself. It is, throughout, an act of worship.

Aside from having doom in their DNA, Thronehammer’s greatest strength is with the epic. Five of these seven songs break through the 10-minute barrier with ease, and none are under five, but there is no point on the massive A Fading King where the powerful, slow-mo riffs become a repetitive trudge. So too is the case on the Candlemass-through-a-Lord-Of-The-Rings-filter title-track and Of Mountaintops And Glacial Tombs, both of which take quarter of an hour to make their majestic point, but are no less glorious for it. In similar fashion to Iron Maidens Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, it’s actually because of it.

Thronehammer’s doom is not the yawning void of Electric Wizard or Thou, but a metal mania in line with Solitude Aeturnus, Penance, Procession and Reverend Bizarre, and owing more to the mystical power of Headless Cross-era Sabbath than the bonged-out early Ozzy years. Above the towering riffs – sometimes crawling, sometimes marching, usually haunting and always dipped in a special kind of doomy heaviness – Kat’s vocals guide you through these mountainous songs brilliantly, whether bold and clear or raw and growling. The sense of dread and the sense of victory balance perfectly.

As is so often the case with the best doom, Incantation Rites is an album that will find easy home in the hearts of puritans, a beacon to show that the art of this stuff remains safe in the hands of those who dedicate themselves so wholly to it. But doom or not, as a metal fan, if you’re looking for music that is heavy, striking, bold, creative and carried out by master-level operatives, this will be entirely pleasing.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Candlemass, Procession, Cathedral

Incantation Rites is released on March 19 via Supreme Chaos / Usurper

Posted on March 16th 2021, 12:00p.m.

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