THROWDOWN’s last effort, 2007’s “Venom & Tears”, came as a surprise to most of us when the normally straight up Hardcore act decided they immensely liked what PANTERA had been doing in the 90s and became more or less a PANTERA clone. Granted, it was actually quite a solid album, despite its pretty straight forward take on Groove Metal, and became one of the biggest (and most pleasurable) surprises of the year. Now its two years down the road and THROWDOWN are releasing the follow up, this time under the title “Deathless”. How does it fare up to what we expect from their Hardcore turned Groove Metal champions? Not so well, unfortunately.
Once again, the band stakes their claim on the Groove Metal genre, placing their love of the late 90s Metal movement right front and center for this album. Where as their last album somewhat surprised fans, “Deathless” comes off more as a retread then shocking and new which creates this feeling that we’ve already heard this before. Essentially, we already have and THROWDOWN isn’t adding enough new edge to make this an overly memorable experience.
Musically, the band is still fairly tight in their performances. The riffs are definitely in apt abundance on this record as is the heavy mixed bass and swing laden drum work. The vocals still are Phil Anselmo inspired barking with the occasionally singing selection (actually there is quite a bit of singing on this record which tends to kill the energy more often than not) and although they are solid, they tend to be a little less than unique. I think that the biggest disappointment here has to be the soloing. They started throwing those in last album, but when they make their appearances here they tend to be rather simple and not all that heartfelt. At times, I’m glad they held back from more soloing, but it would have been nice to strengthen the ones they did keep.
“Deathless” tends to be a bit too lifeless when it breaks down. Fans will have a handful of tracks they will love (particularly the first few tracks which I was definitely digging) but the album wears on far too long in many songs and the album drags on too long for consistent quality. The band should have been pushing further into the genre with this record, but seems content doing pretty much the same thing they did with their last record. The new choices they did make, some of the singing sections and longer more complex songs, tend to fall flat rather than impress. THROWDOWN is still a very talented band, but “Deathless” isn’t showing us everything.
Songs to check out: “The Scythe”, “Headed South”, “This Continuum”
(Online March 4, 2010)