Winterthrone is a symphonic black metal band from Germany that has a lot of hit or miss tracks in their new album, entitled "The Godslayer." The go about "black metal quality" the wrong way. Instead of the instruments being recorded horribly on purpose they have a really shitty mixing quality. The panning and levels on the album make things very difficult to hear anything. Not all of the tracks are this however. And when you are able to hear what's going on, Winterthrone doesn't sound so bad after all.
The album opens with atmospheric wind sound effects and devilish spoken word in "The Grave Of Thousand Souls." After about a minute of the intro comes a violent wave of guitar riffs and quick double bass drumming. Unfortunately the recording is horribly mixed. It's tough to hear the actually chords over the overly loud cymbals and snares. It gets even worse when the vocals come in. They consist of these wretched black metal screams that are meshed together so closely that it's hard to make out any of the lyrics. Meanwhile the cymbals are still shattering much higher than the rest of the mix. It's tough to get through this eight minute track. You do manage to come across a wild piano and guitar solo that sound pretty decent. It's still kind of hard to tell what's going on exactly though. If the song was mixed and mastered better i think the track would be awesome.
"Cult Of Hate" opens with some eerie keyboards along with haunting sound effects in the background. The mix begins to get a little better starting with the drums. All of the drums sound a lot more evenly panned and leveled. The vocals still have that muffled sound almost as if they placed a filter on the screams. The guitars pound you into the ground with melodic lead riffs and back up chugging patterns. Meanwhile the keyboards take over the background with symphonic strings. It's becoming clear that the vocals are the only down side to this album. The longest track on the album is "The Throne" which runs for just under ten minutes long. It contains on the symphonic black metal sounds that you would expect in an album like this however the vocals just don't get any better. The screechy vocals are very unclear and muddy throughout the whole track. Also the structure of the song begins to get boring after the first four minutes as it seems that they just keep playing the same riffs. The symphonic strings keep the track going and they seem to be the only thing really changing. After about six minutes in you'll find yourself listening for the keyboards only as they are the only thing that stay entertaining.
The only song that actually really enjoyed is the final track entitled "Triumph And Emptiness." The structure is very complex and is constantly changing melodies and styles throughout the nine minutes and 45 seconds. By this point your just used to the vocals. Listen closely to the guitar riffs as they throw punishing riff after punishing riff at you from all directions. Meanwhile the drum fills are absolutely phenomenal. Double bass pedal drumming and constant snares and cymbals knock you out of your chair with thunderous rolls. Epic orchestral instruments pull you in with dark gloomy melodies and string. You'll find yourself hitting the repeat button on this track for sure.
Overall, "The Godslayer" has a lot more downs than it has ups. The quality of the mix in each track go from horrible to decent and back to horrible again. Some of the guitar riffs and song structures have potential but the vocals just bring them down. The only thing that really kept this album alive at all are the epic strings and orchestrated instruments that consumed most of the background. Also he double bass pedal patterns connected well. They just need to be mixed better. I would say to check out the last track if anything and see what you think. Definitely keep an eye on the band though. Winterthrone carries much potential.
Official Site - http://www.myspace.com/winterthrone