Throes – ‘In the Hands of an Angry God’

By Liam Knowles

Holy Roar Records have always had their finger on the pulse when it comes to the best underground bands in the UK, but recently they’ve flexed their reach across the pond and shown that they’re not restricted by geographical borders. Last year we had the sublime Portrayal Of Guilt album, and in 2019 Holy Roar are introducing us to Throes, who may have just released the heaviest debut full-length of the year: ‘In the Hands of an Angry God’.

The Idaho natives waste precisely zero time before bludgeoning us with the oppressive riffs and terrifying vocals that make up ‘Bad Meat’. Ferocious vocalist Tyler Squire is an absolute powerhouse, with clear lyrical delivery that makes him all the more intimidating. He also bears more than a passing resemblance in sound to Cult Leader’s Anthony Lucero, and this chaotic first track, whilst excellent, could trick you into thinking that Throes occupy pretty much the same space as Cult Leader. As the album progresses, however, it becomes clear that there’s much more to this band than reckless carnage.

Throes are at their most effective when they let their more considered side shine through. ‘They Never Spoke’, for example, trudges menacingly at one tempo through its six-minute runtime, with different vocal styles and layers of delayed guitar adding dynamics over the hypnotic rhythm. ‘Derelict’ and ‘From Their Nails’ also make superb use of these more post-metal influences, channelling bands like Amenra and Neurosis to form vast, overwhelming cacophonies of sludge and just pure, unadulterated bleakness.

The one moment of respite on ‘In the Hands of an Angry God’ is actually one of the highlights. ‘Disillusion’ comes towards the end of the album, and the sinister clean singing at the start comes as a real surprise following the onslaught of harsh vocals the listener has endured since the album started. As these vocals build throughout the track, they become almost Deftones-like in their delivery, creating a layer of grandeur on top of an already massive sound.

It’s astounding how fully-formed Throes feel, considering this is their debut album. They clearly went into the studio knowing exactly what they were going for, and the result is truly masterful. These nine tracks are all absolutely devastating and will surely be even more so when translated into a live setting. Hopefully it won’t be long before the UK is graced with their presence, and we can all just stand there and take it whilst Throes take our heads off with their glorious racket.

LIAM KNOWLES

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