Cryptic Throne – Demo

And here I thought that Floridian black metal was disintegrating around us! Cryptic Throne, a three-piece black metal band out of Cocoa, seems to be injecting a bit of life into the rather stagnating black metal scene around these parts. Their debut untitled demo is a three track CDr that shows surprising promise and talent that will hopefully develop further in the years to come.

The style of Cryptic Throne’s black metal is a semi-melodic variety that is remniscient to the German style of cold, depressive black metal. The best descriptor would be of a relatively even fusion of Mayhem and Nyktalgia, possessing the raw, brutal parts of the former and the rainy, suicidal atmosphere of the latter. Granted, the style isn’t completely realized just yet, but all the building blocks are here to create a very solid, crushing black metal band, and relatively soon. Indeed, Cryptic Throne seems to be bringing a blast of frost back to a region that seems to have forgotten it.

The demo kicks off with ‘Burning Shadows Of Doom And Silence’, a fast, raw track that seizes the listener quickly. The song is certainly above average; all the parts are compelling in their unique ways. However, something of a problem does arise in the transitions between segments: particularly in the transfer between the blasting section and the galloping bridge slightly over half-way through. It feels as if the band wasn’t sure on how to accomplish the switch between such distinct styles, and so they relied on a drift of feedback instead of a logical fill. While not particularly mature in a songwriting sense, it’s certainly understandable, given the relative newness of the artists at work. However, there are enough other sections to make the song memorable: of particular note is drummer Eric’s fantastic performance roughly a third through, giving a wonderful dynamic to the piece.

The next song, however, is what instantly cements Cryptic Throne as a band to watch for in my mind. ‘Cold And Wicked Blasphemy’, a slow, doom-influenced song that seems a tribute to artists such as Nyktalgia or Beyond The Ninth Wave manages to herald such artists without slavishly imitating them like so many bands do. The traditional suicidal BM vocals (layered, moaning howls) and wonderful overlaying keyboard melody works incredibly effectively, bringing to mind rain-drenched moonlit cemeteries from many years ago. The song is lush and gorgeous, and displays a level of maturity far beyond what most suicidal BM artists are cranking out these days (though I wouldn’t attribute that label to Cryptic Throne in particular).

The final track, ‘Through Wind And Time’ is a traditional black metal piece that seems almost to be a reprisal of the first track, but is refreshingly devoid of the stumbles of that song, even with its severe, daring tempo change at the halfway mark. A satisfying conclusion to a well-constructed demo. Perhaps a slight mark against it comes in the production (almost excruciatingly thin, with rather poorly defined yet oddly satisfying drums), but such an issue is not enough to affect my concluding opinion of it. This demo is a very good introduction to a promising artist; and at a price of zero, there’s no reason not to get it. Cryptic Throne is most certainly a band to look out for in the Florida underground.

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~ by noktorn on February 2, 2007.

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