Rifftastic! The line between Black and Death Metal continues to blur, and ANNUNAKI’s “Throne Of The Annunaki” seems quite healthy in representing the better side of this wedlock. As the follow-up to a rather intriguing EP this release features amazing riffs and superb drum lines, as well as a blazing and flourished vocal attack that demonstrates mastery in every aspect of fine Metal to date.
Although ANNUNAKI do not resemble ABYSSOS in any way I cannot help but compare the impact that the riffs have to “Fhinsthanian Nightbreed.” They contain a great deal of speed and exhibit fine musicianship while still maintaining that ever-so-necessary catchiness that draws influence from everywhere and appeals to just about anyone who appreciates distorted guitar. Everything is here: a fair blend of discordant and power chords, speedy single note masterpieces, time signature variations, and unusual note choices. The lead work (which only appears where necessary) adds a nice variety to select pieces and never overshadows the rudimentary riff itself. From a guitarist’s perspective, “Throne Of The Annunaki” offers a tight package of fresh compositions that may not take Metal to the next level but rather presents a fine blend of where it is today.
The lyrics on “Throne Of The Annunaki” describe the dissolution of religion and decay of kingdoms in most tracks, but other songs focus on gore and torture. The Blackened Death themes present a flaw in that the dividing line between the two metal camps only appears in the spoken word. The release is musically unified, but lyrically the listener must jump from “Consumption of your icon / A sacrament of impurity” to “Devour your entrails before your eyes / Piercing through the arteries drinking the blood.” Those who yearn for assimilated lyrical themes related to religion or decomposition may have trouble digesting this release, but those who simply enjoy songs about eating will get their fill.
All in all, “Throne Of The Annunaki” has plenty of merits. Its fantastic riffs and faultless production place ANNUNAKI in the company of a rich New Jersey tradition for producing high-quality Metal, and time will tell if these musicians have what it takes to present a repeat performance.
(Online July 23, 2007)