Excommunion – Thronosis

Excommunion - Thronosis

Excommunion – Thronosis

A controlled malevolence stirs in Thronosis, this successful mini-album from Excommunion. This American three-piece band plays death metal laced with hairs of thrash and black metal. The songs are not just double-bass drumming with a couple of guitar players firing on the low string. The tempo changes patiently, the root varies, and scale notes put an edge on the mood. Thronosis is four consistently satisfying tracks.

Up first is the seven-minute “Twilight of Eschaton.” At 2:45, the drums, as though losing the thread of the song, slow down and then drop out. It is an odd transition; rather than pull the traditional metal hard stop, Excommunion momentarily counter the rising action in the song’s dramatic structure. Songs on Thronosis – all of which are seven to eight minutes long – play like tangled plotlines with atmospherics of layered instrumentation.

The mid-tempo opening of “Nemesis” gives way to a bloodless frenzy before moderating again. Excommunion indulge in tempo changes. On “Nemesis,” we witness the band downshift and prowl. The 4:30 mark opens an extended slow-walking riff that exaggerates every third or fourth step with a squealing pinched harmonic. This song is perhaps the weakest of the four, but only because of its distracted vocal that sometimes plays against the rhythm.

The first two minutes of “World Crucifier” menace and relent, menace and relent. Then emerges the vocal. One death metal vocal is often like the next. Excommunion’s sounds like hot breath leaking out of this planet’s rotted core. At two minutes, “World Crucifier” breaks into a dense groove. Here the bass guitar and bass drum under the light touch on the hi-hat elevate the form. The rhythm section leads despite the excessive guitar.

The album’s standout performance is the drumming. Peak moments on Thronosis capture the drums lending fidelity to the guitars while vocals remain perched upon the bust of Pallas above the chamber door.

Finally, we reach the denouement, “Blessed Is The Epoch Of Darkness And Strife.” This closing track starts aggressively, quickly summoning the sound of swarming, angry wasps. After three minutes, Excommunion unload again a huge sound achieved album-wide in production; then the song thickens and slows into the fifth minute before lashing out again, stabbing excitedly to exhaustion.

The riffcraft on Thronosis shows patience. Excommunion’s previous effort was 2002’s Superion; Thronosis seems to exhibit more focus and consistency than that album. Previously, Excommunion’s sound was like swiping at darkness; now it is part of the darkness.

Dark Descent Records