In spite of their unabashedly derivative nature, Brooklyn’s Throaat do something rather neat on their second EP, Black Speed—they offer a blueprint for standing out among the countless throwback acts. By reducing the run time (about 18 minutes of original material) and changing speeds like an ace pitcher, they give their proto black/thrash release a bit of an arc. Also, their tunes don’t suck. That’s a major plus.
“The Tortures” starts things out in delightfully raw, galloping proto-black terrain, but an interesting touch of depth is added via a quirky solo that is almost dragged screaming into a slower passage. It’s as if the song becomes temporarily drunk, and it quickly returns to the upbeat material. The passage initially feels out-of-place, but as the slower, melodic material of “Coven” sinks in, it becomes clear that Throaat have something else in mind on Black Speed.
The final two originals kick things into higher gear, both in terms of quality and pure adrenaline. “Explode” ranges from a classic “Into the Eternal Fire” drive to full speed metal, while “Rampage” refuses to let off the gas even the slightest. The latter is the EP’s best track, mashing together Aura Noir’s blistering black/thrash with the occasional Maidenesque hook and some delightfully twitchy, sassy riffs for good measure. The whole EP is quality, but that one in particular is a total beast.
As if to hammer down their homage intents, the EP also includes a cover of Venom’s “In League With Satan,” which is fine when taken on its own, but feels rather superfluous after the originals. It’s also a reminder of how silly Venom sounds when you aren’t in the mood to actually listen to Venom, and after four tracks of Throaat in constant acceleration, a plodding, goofy cover track feels tacked-on, love-letter-to-heroes though it may be.
Absolute nitpick aside, Black Speed is far better than your average platter of retro, mostly because Throaat can actually pen interesting songs, but also because they choose to only pen interesting songs, and leave it at that. Hopefully they never try to push it too far beyond 20 minutes, because they’ve achieved a kind of derivative Goldilocks Zone here. A straight ripper, this one.