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I’m continually amazed at the scope of extreme metal worldwide. Metal has taken hold in the most desolate European countries, the unrelenting rainforests of South America, practically inhabitable portions of Siberia, and now, even in South Africa. The newest sounds hailing from South Africa are the intonations of a one man project known as Throne Below.

Orlok, the mastermind behind Throne Below, has recently released his debut album, “Defy, Deceit, Destroy”, independently on April 18, 2013 and is single-handedly making a name for South African black metal, using social media and heavy promotion. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this album when I received it. I must say, it wasn’t bad at all.

Defy, Deceit, Destroy opens with a depressive instrumental, entitled “Unholy Cogitation”. The downtrodden bass line and eerie guitar riffs of “Unholy Cogitation” flow right into the title track, “Defy, Deceit, Destroy”. It is here, that the sound brightens. There is definitely a distinct luster emanating from the sounds found on this debut. This quality mostly strips the coldness away from the album, but adds a sort of sensitivity in contrast. There is true emotion radiating from seemingly standard tuned guitars and the vocals are a fervent cry to war gods.

I was rather disappointed, however, at the sound quality behind the drum machine. The drums wilted, weakly behind incandescent guitar sounds. That was what was missing for me on this release. There was definitely a lack of the atmosphere, so definitive of black metal, on this LP and the culprit was lackluster drumming. The blast beats were barely audible and the brightness of the guitars overpowered the sound of the drums, making the album sound a bit uplifting, which is not what one normally expects from a black metal LP. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this release. I don’t normally hear such good production and interesting riffing coming from a brand new one man project.  Defy, Deceit, Destroy was an emotive joyride, complete with both riffs that enthralled me and lyrics that moved me. Listen for yourself. Happy Listening. Hails!

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