Founded by Daniel ‘Død’ Olaisen twenty-six years ago, the Norwegian Death Metal kings of brutality, Blood Red Throne, return with their blisteringly good eleventh studio full-length Nonagon. Over the past two and a half decades, they have put out some great albums regularly. But Nonagon may just be their best so far. It’s undeniably a great end-to-end listen.
Blood Red Throne – Nonagon (Soulseller Records)
Release Date: 26 January 2024
Words: Jools Geen
Nonagon is a nine-track, forty-two-minute offering of subtly technical Brutal Death Metal of crushing proportions, garnished with deep growls and acerbic screams.
Opening with Epitaph Inscribed, its dark, haunting repeat intro and opening vocal squeal are followed by chugging riffs and cavernous growls. You get slick switching from one burst of repeat riffing to the next. That wonderful haunting opener revisits in the second half, and the closing squealing leadwork errs on the edge of insane. All this is slammed together in the most engagingly addictive manner imaginable.
Ode To The Obscene delivers crushingly heavy riffs melded with a haunting melody. The searing screams mark a rise in pace. Again, complex switches are executed with slick efficiency, and the cavernous growls weave amongst the complexity of the riffs and melody.
Seeking To Pierce is superbly dramatic in its contrast, switching between the lower crushing elements and growls and higher melodic elements with acerbic hissed vocals. You also get a great haunting melodic segment in the second half as the pace pares back.
Tempest Sculptor unleashes intense repeat riff bursts, slightly reminiscent of Morbid Angel’s Domination era, melded with squealing lead bursts, driving riffs and sublime haunting, soaring, midpoint leadwork. Again, twisting and changing with pinpoint precision. Add to that the cavernous growls and acidic screams, making it an absolute winner of a track.
Expect sharp and intense riffs and acidic screams cut to the core on Every Silent Plea. Alongside somewhat groovier elements, add to that the cavernous growls and soaring midpoint leadwork, together making an impactful listen.
The title track, Nonagon, takes no prisoners either with its undulating riffs, deep growls, chugging swathes and soaring leadwork. Split Tongue Sermon hits the ground running with an addictive chugging repeat riff, often frantically up-tempo and catchy as hell. From midway, you get a succession of breakdowns that utterly crush as well as brilliantly bonkers, off-kilter leadwork. Spoken elements and a sinister undertone are added for good measure. It’s packed to the brim, four minutes of music.
Squealing leadwork courses over punchy riffs as Blade Eulogy opens, panning out into a sharp, punchy galloper of a track that has a subtly technical edge with the harsh vocal delivery snarling over the top. But you also get a reflectively melodic element in the second half, albeit brief.
The final piece, Fleshrend, has a sinister undercurrent that draws you in. It’s another punchy beast that grabs you by the throat as the snarls and screams of the vocals demand and get your attention.
Nonagon was mixed and mastered by Ronnie Björnström (at Bjornstromsound). The fascinating cover artwork is by Giannis Nakos / Remedy Art Design.
It will be available as a vinyl, CD or digital download via Season Of Mist, Code 7 via PHD and The Orchard.
Nonagon is a superbly gripping listen, with every track well-filled and well-varied. Given that Blood Red Throne are known for their energetic, engaging live performances, as I recently witnessed at Beyond The Grave Festival, where they absolutely stole the show, this album is sure to be an absolute winner live.