Album Review – ThrOes / This Viper Womb (2016)

After a few years in the making, the Tasmanian devil Trent Griggs and his henchmen finally bring to life over one hour of unrelenting flesh-eating Dissident Metal not recommended for the faint-hearted.

Rating4

THROES_TVW_COVERWhat I’m about to say might sound a bit cliché, but based on the aggressive and defiant nature of the music found in This Viper Womb, the brand new album by Dissident Metal act ThrOes, I believe we should start calling this awesome band from Hobart, the capital and most populous city of of the Australian island state of Tasmania as the “Tasmanian Devils of Extreme Metal”. Tasmanian devils are not only hostile carnivores, but also extremely asocial and neither demonstrate nor respond to affection, behavioral attitudes that match perfectly with the vicious vocal attacks, savage guitar riffs, crushing drums and even the idiosyncratic sounds of an instrument called EBow found throughout the entire album. In other words, ThrOes are unleashing a wild beast upon humanity, and it seems they’re not worried at all about the noxious effects of their music on the human mind.

Conceived by multi-instrumentalist Trent Griggs in December 2003 and having released a four-song promotional demo titled The Drowning Rituals in 2005, this interesting Avant-garde Black Metal one-man project has been going through a slow and steady process of evolution and materialization, impacted by several factors such as Trent’s perfectionism (a good element in this case, by the way), the distance between Trent and the other musicians who helped him in This Viper Womb, and also his time off in 2015 to focus on the birth of his first son Dorian. Now in 2016 it’s time for Trent, together with Australian vocalist James Ludbrook (Damaged, Terrorust) and the bestial American drummer Kevin Talley (Chimaira, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Six Feet Under, DevilDriver), to envenom the world with the uproar caused by the ten distinct compositions from This Viper Womb.

As soon as you hit play and the opening track Permanent Midnight starts, you’ll face the spoken words by Terence Mckenna taken from the lecture “Culture And Ideology Are Not Your Friends”, presented at the Whole Life Expo in Denver in April 1999, just to show you how unconventional ThrOes are. Thus, it doesn’t take long for the atmosphere to be filled by the sick screams by the unstoppable Trent, sounding like a heavier version of the iconic Mike Patton, with all instrumental pieces being obscure, violent and reverberating, not to mention the song’s lyrics depicting the torments of a disturbed mind (“Holes for filling / With drink and smoke and coke and dope / and crack and smack, xanax, prozac, / panic attacks, terror attacks / It’s a head shrinker’s racket but they’re kidding no-one, we are drowning in this”). This is one of the craziest types of music you’ll find anywhere thanks to our Tasmanian friends, and that madness goes on in Shock to the Guts, another perfect example of what Dissident Metal means. Kevin simply kicks ass with his precision in this innovative fusion of Black, Death, Industrial, Doom and Progressive Metal, piercing your ears while the guitar solos bring some serenity amidst sheer rebelliousness.

The sinister Dead Lights already starts with Trent growling like a demon, with the additional vocals by James Ludbrook increasing even more the pandemonium generated and the bass lines by Trent adding a lot of groove to the music. Now you better get ready for eight minutes of distorted passages and desperate harsh vocal lines in Conscience Makes Cowards (I couldn’t agree more with the name of the song), which sometimes gets to such a high level of progressiveness you might get lost in time and space until Trent calls you back to reality with his hellish screams; followed by Nothing Left for the Vultures, an explosion of sharp growls and metallic riffs by Trent accompanied by the beyond complex drumming by Kevin.

throesCutting guitars and the deranged vocal duo Trent and James are the main ingredients in the extremely heavy Nowhere Else, a unique composition that leans towards Progressive Black Metal, with its second half being a descend into the underworld so disturbing it is until it finally reaches its hopeless conclusion. The eccentric title-track This Viper Womb, which emanates progressiveness and obscurity, is a funereal ode to dementia with sluggish beats and bizarre sounds in the background while insanity keeps growing and filling the song’s atmosphere, and ThrOes bring forward more Extreme Metal to you in Lavish the Anguish, full of distortions and focusing more on instrumental pieces in the first half before Trent and James begin their vocal onrush, boosting the song’s ferocity.

If you survived ThrOes’ merciless strike of extreme music until this point of the album, their coup de grâce comes in the form of Feed It, a furious Black Metal-inspired chant showcasing harmony and despair mixed in the riffs and anguished vociferations by Trent. Moreover, I guess I don’t need to say how amazing the drums by Kevin sound once again in this boundless turmoil of Dissident Metal, right? And what better way to end such a distinguished amalgamation of crazy emotions and sounds than with an eerie instrumental outro that goes on for over five minutes? That’s what Trent offers us all in D.N.A. Corruption before returning to his obscure lair in Tasmania.

The exotic and blackened world of ThrOes can be better appreciated through their Facebook page, YouTube channel (where you can listen to the whole album with lyrics for every song), SoundCloud and official blog, and you can grab your copy of This Viper Womb at the Aesthetic Death Records’ webshop. In This Viper Womb, the Tasmanian devil Trent and his henchmen bring forth over one hour of unrelenting flesh-eating Extreme Metal not recommended for the faint-hearted, finally putting the vastly wild and mysterious Tasmania on the map of heavy music for the total delight of fans all over the world who are always searching for this type of fresh and innovative band.

Best moments of the album: Permanent Midnight, Dead Lights and Feed It.

Worst moments of the album: Conscience Makes Cowards.

Released in 2016 Aesthetic Death Records

Track listing
1. Permanent Midnight 4:54
2. Shock to the Guts 7:16
3. Dead Lights 6:41
4. Conscience Makes Cowards 8:29
5. Nothing Left for the Vultures 8:41
6. Nowhere Else 6:52
7. This Viper Womb 6:02
8. Lavish the Anguish 5:15
9. Feed It 6:31
10. D.N.A. Corruption 6:00

Band members
Trent Griggs – vocals, guitars, bass, ebow
James Ludbrook – additional vocals
Kevin Talley – drums (session)

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