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Black Thyria : Tyrant Resurrected As King (EP)

Well-executed, heavy on the Death Metal influences, debut from German band Black Thyria.

There are a few interesting things one could note about Dresden's Black Thyria, before turning to their actual music. The first is the unconventional line-up, comprising two basses (4- and 5-string), two 'riff guitars' and a drummer, with one of the bassists doubling up as a growl vocalist. The twin bass sound is a deliberate "musical element to dose the songs with their desired weight". Secondly, the band logo, of a skull-faced moth, is not inspired by the perhaps-expected Death's-Head Hawkmoth (famous for squeaking loudly when annoyed, and for starring on the cover of 'Silence Of The Lambs'), but the rather more interesting Cinnabar Moth. These are well-known for their use as bio-agents to control ragwort, on which the caterpillars feed - in the process, assimilating the ragwort's alkaloid toxins, which are retained through the moth's adult life, making it bitterly inedible; despite which, the larvae are also being known for turning randomly cannibalistic. All of which is a pretty good metaphor for the angry sociopolitical commentary of the band's material: unpalatable human insects competing and killing for the sake of poisonous commercialism.

The debut EP itself is a simple, entirely self-produced item, in a single card-sleeved, numbered package and limited to 100 copies. From that, we learn that there is, in fact, some lead guitar also involved, with credits for guest appearance given to Michael Sonnemann, supplementing the forename-only band members. Unless you're particularly familiar with the unsigned/independent German underground scene, you probably won't have heard of the Black/Thrash/Heavy metal bands that the four male members (Percy, Max, Markus and Schrimbo) have been previously involved with - I hadn't, and I'm very little the wiser after looking them up - or of drummer Ina's past Stoner/Doom unnamed 'jamming band' credentials. Nonetheless, this is a core unit of experienced musicians, bringing a variety of different influences with them, and that's something which does show through in the music.

You could certainly make a case for the primary, and dominant, influence to be technical Death Metal, from the frequent outbursts of speed and brutality with which Black Thyria attack their complex and rarely-static musical progressions. But the underlying heaviness of the percussion section, the reluctance to indulge in all-out blastbeat frenzy, the deep and clear harsh vocals all drag it somewhere towards a fast Death/Doom vibe, with elements borrowed from various extreme genres. Perhaps, if one were to blend the chaotic shifts in rhythm and pace of Phlebotomized, with the faster parts of ex-Thrash old stagers Excruciation, and the extremities of defunct but moving steadily Black Metal-wards Ceremonium, the result would be something like 'Tyrant Resurrected As King'.

It's no coincidence that those are all comparatively old bands, for this seems very much an old-sounding EP to me, dating back as far as the - if you like - 'proto-Death/Doom' experimentalism that followed in the wake of Celtic Frost, before the Peaceville sound reached full nascency and brought a definition with it. That makes it perversely both anachronistic and yet quite fresh-sounding in contemporary terms, though it also fuels the argument that there is simply too much overall pace for a true Doom label to apply.

Nonetheless, on its own merits, this is a well-executed piece of work: the only technical criticism would be that the lead guitar parts appear to have been recorded separately and then overdubbed at a quite obtrusively high level, which doesn't fit the equality of mix for the 'main band' parts. Other than that, though, it should certainly appeal to those who cross over into the Death metal arena for their listening pleasure, while more traditionally Doom-based folk might well find something to like in, particularly, the bludgeoning opener 'Principle Of Entropy' and the closing track, 'Heteronomous Suicide', with its disturbingly suggestive 'body swinging from a rope' finale.

It will be interesting to see which of the main influences win out in establishing a primary direction for the band, or whether they choose to remain in this somewhat undefinable intersection between them. Either way, I quite rate 'Tyrant Resurrected...' for sticking a bold, if somewhat timeworn, stake in the ground.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Principle Of Entropy
2. Human Wallet
3. Tyrant Resurrected As King
4. Heteronomous Suicide

Duration : Approx. 25 minutes

Visit the Black Thyria bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-07-22 by Mike Liassides
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