Claim the Throne’s best effort so far

Claim the Throne have been consistent performers on the Australian metal scene and On Desolate Plains not only continues that form but displays a further evolution of their style.

Maintaining their tradition for the epic, this is another album that sweeps along with infectious melodies and rousing choruses, fusilades of blast beats and furious riffing. Less chaotic in approach than the sometimes overwhelming Forged in Flame, On Desolate Plains is a more directed and controlled assault. The tone is set early, when Brendan Capriotti’s vocals entwine with Jesse Millea’s in the folky melodic opening right before everything in engulfed by hammering death metal. As they have showed confidently in the past, Claim the Throne blend death metal with folk expertly, but here they take it further, pushing the envelope into even more extreme territory on occasion. Capriotti’s voice has taken on a darker, more sinister growl than previously that makes the band even heavier while the keys and the juxtapositioning of Millea’s vocals provide a startling contrast, sometimes backing up the leads and at other times playing counterpoint.

The strength of the material is in the dynamics. Every track is a multi-layered onslaught that’s never quite predictable, veering off into folk-flavoured acoustics or sweet keyboard passages until the metal storms back like a Viking invasion. They are equally effective on downbeat tracks like ‘My Dying Throes’ as they are on the heavy, flat-out cuts like ‘Silence Beckoning’ or the multifarious ‘Mantra’. On ‘Harbinger, Scavenger’, Claim the Throne close the album with a microcosm of itself, all sweeping arrangements and epic metal glory until it subsides into ‘Of Creation’ that echoes the last track on Forged, fading into silence.

Previous releases have been strong, but sometimes just a little too busy. On Desolate Plains gets the balance right, Claim the Throne’s best effort so far.

1. Fury Entwined
2. On Desolate Plains
3. Spirit of Fire
4. Mantra
5. Where Night Passed and Sunlight Shone
6. Silence Beckoning
7. Windfall
8. This Agony Endured
9. My Dying Throes
10. Everblade
11. Harbinger, Scavenger
12. Of Creation