[Cover art taken from “Fall of the Damned” painting by Peter Paul Reubens (1577)]
When musicians get together with a varied pedigree in regards to their current and past bands, it can be difficult to guess what style they’ll land on as a new unit. Oftentimes, you end up with one person being the ringleader and turning in an album that just feels like an offshoot of that person’s other work. According to the press materials, the roots of Empty Throne’s debut EP come from a back catalog of songs written by guitarist Michael Pardi, who used to play in Possessed and Draconis. Combine that with the fact that the band formed from a meeting with vocalist C.R. Petit and bassist Jason Ellsworth, both of whom play in Angerot, and it would be fair to expect some pretty straightforward death metal to be forthcoming. Instead, they manage to go outside of the direct comfort zone of any of their other bands to force-feed black, death, and thrash metal through a spiralizer to make three deliciously hefty songs.
“That Day Has Come” announces itself with a gothic piano intro that should tickle the ivory pleasures of Dusk and Her Embrace fans, particularly since one-off piano notes are blended into the mix of other sections in the song to add a little drama. From there, the band kicks the song into such high gear that they would stomp a gas pedal right through the floor of a car. Drummer Gabe Seeber must have been set upon by a thousand hot foot pranks during tracking because his feet are absolutely flying. Even around the 4-minute mark where the guitar and bass are letting notes hit and just ring out, Seeber’s kickdrums are absolutely relentless. Then the song closes on a delightfully gothic black metal note with some odd clean vocals saying “the legions are falling” as the main riff weeps in the background.
Closer “My Flesh The Temptation” summons more of the same hellfire as the two previous tracks with even more demonic power during its eight-minute runtime. That slightly gothic aura permeates throughout with several fantastic surging tremolo riffs on display. They’re the kind of riffs that I found myself whistling long after the EP had stopped. Around 4:15 into the song, Pardi offers a couple of guitar parts that feel like they were meant to be elements of a lead that got reined in to a riff instead. They sound great, but had a fiery lead been added to that spot, it could’ve given the album an even stronger finish.
Despite Glossolalia being a debut from a group of guys that have mostly never worked together before, it offers well-crafted and seamlessly written songs. Much like Angerot, Empty Throne writes more in a verse-chorus structure than the average death metal band that focuses on longer songs. That aspect really helps the listener find more things to grab onto and keep the lengthier run time of the track from being a detriment. As a 20-minute EP, the shortest song being just shy of 7 minutes isn’t an issue. However, for a future full-length, they will hopefully include some shorter tracks or more interesting interludes (like the wisely placed piano intro on track two) to help keeps things from potentially dragging.
Ultimately, Glossolalia is a perfect blend of cornerstone metal genres that will leave you unsure of whether to sip a crimson glass of red wine or slam a PBR; run amok in a circle pit or sacrifice a goat; and plaster on corpsepaint or dig up a corpse to be your next sex slave. Oh yea, the thrash! I guess you’ll have to do all of your above choices while riding a skateboard on the way to get a pizza as well.