Fantasy lyrics in heavy metal are often treated with either absolute seriousness or ironic parody, but Throne of Iron’s attitude would be better described as ‘nonchalant.’ The group’s D&D campaign theming has an inherent air of self-aware silliness but is executed with concentrated effort that avoids too much overthinking. To quote the response that is given to the quite literal call to adventure that starts off the song of the same name: “eh, fuck it.”
Eh, fuck it indeed.
Getting into the music itself, Adventure One honestly reminds me more of Anvil or Accept than the prevalently namedropped Manilla Road. The latter’s influence is certainly felt, but the vocals are more in line with Lips’ warbled howl than Mark the Shark’s wizened wisp while the chunky riffing and anthemic pacing is rooted in classic Wolf Hoffmann tradition. The setup is amateurish compared to their heroes, the vocals will especially be a point of contention for some listeners, but it works well when you consider that it’s based on literal role-playing.
Speaking of which, there is considerable commitment to establishing an escapist atmosphere throughout. The scope is inevitably broader than their shorter releases hinted as “A Call to Adventure” and “Lichspire” feature a couple spoken segments while softer intros pop up on “Past the Doors of Death” and “The Allure of Silver.” From there, the synth work on “Wish” makes for a pleasant closing number, and a delightfully reverb-drenched production job keeps everything cohesive.
The songwriting also goes a long way in ensuring upbeat, epic metal fun. The sequencing is well executed as “A Call to Adventure” starts things off in a welcoming fashion, and “Past the Doors of Death” makes for an early climax without overshadowing the rest of the album. I can also appreciate the charge on “The Fourth Battle of the Ash Plains.” I must admit that “The Power of Will” can feel a little redundant when it’s back to back with the equally upbeat “Lichspire,” but both tracks are quite serviceable.
Overall, Throne of Iron’s first album showcases a great deal of raw potential. The band already has more personality than most of their peers in the NWOTHM scene, and they have the songwriting chops to back up their aesthetic. There are certain aspects that would benefit from some extra polish, but one can imagine the group having nerd culture appeal that goes beyond most in the metal sphere. There’s an adventure to be had here, even if it’s just with a couple friends in your mom’s basement.
“A Call to Adventure”
“Past the Doors of Death”
“The Fourth Battle of the Ash Plains”
“The Allure of Silver”