BLOOD RED THRONE – Brutalitarian Regime

BLOOD RED THRONE – Brutalitarian Regime

"Souls Of Damnation" was an incredible piece of work, recognized by many as their best album. As is often the case, however, it precipitated significant changes. Before the next album, the band parted ways with Earache Records and one of its two founders. Although Daniel "Død" Olaisen (guitars), Osvald "Vald" Egeland (vocals) and Erlend Caspersen (bass) remained steadfast, the founding guitarist Terje Vik "Tchort" Schei (ex-Emperor) and Anders Faret Haave (drums) left, replaced by guitarist Ivan "Meathook" Gujic and drummer Emil Wiksten, all of which contributed to a change in the overall sound.

When Olaisen and Tchort started Blood Red Throne the latter brought in palpable black metal influence from Emperor. Although the band kept getting closer to thrashened death metal, this influence persisted until Tchort left. This is why "Brutalitarian Regime" is a profoundly old school death metal record through and through, and although the Testament-ian thrash metal rears its rhythmic head on the favorite "Graveworld" which strongly recalls "Harme" (also the second track) from "Souls Of Damnation", there’s a fair amount of Death’s "Human", besides, such as in the opening title track, a possible nod to "Come Death" album, to say nothing of so styled solos. The third track, the excellently melodic Hypocrisy meets Obituary for a classic death metal piece, "Trapped, Terrified, Dead", is the final bridge to a more sinister, dark and foreboding material, ever darker with every subsequent track.

Beginning with "Eternal Decay", we have a Deicide-dly Cannibal-istic Corpse on our hands, with some eerie vocal effects to add to the grim and ominous and horrific atmosphere built on some creepy dissonant riffing. BRT has not sounded this sinister, original and fresh in years. "Games Of Humiliation" somewhat continues this old school vibe, more power than craft, as if not wanting to bury the listener alive…rightaway. And why do that, really, when you can burn them with "The Burning", instead, for a testimony of a homicidal maniac who gets sexual thrill out of setting people alight to such a degree eventually he does it even to himself. BRT gets so death metal here even death metal itself blushes, musically recalling somewhat Slayer’s "Mandatory Suicide" on one hand, Bloodbath’s "Eaten", on the other.

For the remaining 3 tracks, BRT does a reversal of sorts, death metal becoming, again, more thrashy and melodic in the vein of All Shall Perish, until the more bassier cover of Pestilence’s "Twisted Truth", where the classic melodic leads sound unharmonized with the extreme riffs comparing to the original, the cover ending the proceedings on an even keel. However, the listener gets a feeling as if BRT could not decide how far to take the experimentation or how to marry it to their past. This, in turn, invites the impression of an disordered, disheveled material with but a general direction in place of a real purpose found on its predecessor.

"Brutalitarian Regime" is Blood Red Throne proving that losing one of the founding members did nothing to tarnish their edge. If anything, they got more sinister and original. It is, though, as if they did not dare to go all the way with those new ideas choosing rather to gradually dip the listener in the new found/old school darkness. For these reasons, the album is musically a step down from the excellence of the predecessor, on one hand, on the other, an omen of better, badder things to come on future endeavors.