I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on Throne of Bones, as it’s the culmination of an interest I’ve had since my older sister introduced me to Dead Label a few years ago. My sister isn’t a rocker/metaller at all – she knows her music though. So why would I get the recommendation? Well, my brother-in-law used to work with one of the band members so my sis started plugging them (she likes them now though – to the point of going to see them in Dublin supporting Gojira last year)
Coming from Ireland, from where I also hail, Dead Label formed in 2008 and comprise 3 members. Dan O’Grady (vocals/bass), Danny Hall (backing vocals/guitar) and Claire Percival (drums). 3 members, that’s all. At the end of this album you’ll be stunned at how much these 3 have achieved.
I first listened to this album 2 weeks ago – I even started writing a review back then. But then work things kicked off and this slipped in to the background. I could have continued with the review I started but then it would be based on the listen from 2 weeks ago, and that’s a tad unfair, isn’t it?
So…I’ve got a few days off work, I’m at home on my own and I’m going to tackle a bit of the outstanding housework. All while the album is playing – think of it as a ‘live review’.
First – the washing up aka the opening song, title track “Throne of Bones”. Dipping its cap in the direction of Entombed, I love a song that can capture the death’n’roll style perfectly, and this is one – arguably opening up with a groovy drum intro to rival Machine Head’s “Davidian”…and a death growl to do the same. Guaranteed to have you head-banging along in no time at all, this is a cracking setup for the rest of the album.
So after the full-on blast of the opening to the album, the intro to “Salvation in Sacrifice” takes things down to a calmer level….not for long though. When it was first released on youtube last year, the calm intro wasn’t there. It’s addition, however, fits in perfectly after the onslaught of the opener.
Next up, my ‘favourite song’ from my first listen 2 weeks ago – “Ominous”. You’ve got to love a song that lives up to its title, and the intro on this is pure quality. 3 songs in and the groove of this album is fantastic – it’s pulling so much influence from older bands, but Dead Label have really made it their own.
Another excellent calmer guitar intro precedes “The Birth of Suffering” – and then we’re into what is now my new ‘favourite song’. While it’s not strictly a ballad, it’s as close as you’re going to get to one on this album and it will leave you needing a little rest afterwards. Which is where ‘The Cleansing’ comes in…a mid-album slow instrumental with some excellent guitar work.
I’ve finished the washing up, by the way, and I’m going be moving on to the hoovering soon. And before you ask, no I am not doing this dressed like Freddie Mercury in the “I want to break free” video. But not before “Exhume the Venom”, and then “Void” – there’s a reason they stuck that instrumental in there, and it’s these 2 songs. Hold on tight as these two songs are in-your-face, both vocally and sonically.
And then we arrive at the album closing track “Gates of Hell” – yes, there are only 8 songs on here. But it’s a perfect “All killer, no filler” album – what you get is all you need. And the closing track is a near 9 minute epic so you’re not getting short-changed at all here. Beginning with a piano intro, don’t let it lull you in to a false sense of where this going – that piano does continue on through the song, but dear jaysus the rest of the music is a joy to behold. Sorry to “Ominous” and “The Birth of Suffering” but you’ve been relegated further. And then the song fades out – why??? Let it go on…..oh, there’s why. Opening and closing with piano, the last song on a stunning album of Death Metal.
If not already done, check these guys out. They’ve worked so hard over the last few years, and it’s been great fun keeping an eye on where they have been and who they have supported. But to then have this delivered, totally blowing me away? Never expected it to be this good.
Now…where’s me feather duster? God knows.