Album review: Thronehammer – Kingslayer

Anglo-German epic doomsters Thronehammer deliver pure metal majesty on titanic third album Kingslayer.

Album review: Thronehammer – Kingslayer
Sam Law

We are the defenders of the reign of steel,’ thunders Kat Shevil Gillham over waves of pounding guitar. ‘We are the protectors of this iron kingdom / Sharpened blades of deadly wrath / Beg for your life, face the bloodbath!’

By the halfway mark on the first track on Thronehammer’s terrific third album the UK/German doomsters have already laid out their creaking stall. Kingslayer is a steely exercise in old-fashioned metal warfare. No prisoners taken, no quarter given.

While the bludgeoning influence of heavyweight heroes Paradise Lost, Bolt Thrower and Bathory bleeds trough, particularly on heavier-end bangers Echoes Of Forgotten Battles and Triumphant Emperor, the overwhelming flavour is a little more tongue-in-cheek. From the melodic sweep of Shieldbreaker and the dark sorcery of Sacrosanct Grounds (featuring ex-Mindrot vocalist Daniel Kaufman) to the gleeful falsetto shriek that kickstarts the title-track, it’s a horns-aloft sound that owes at least as much to Grand Magus, Candlemass or even Manowar.

Appetites for that particularly ripe brand of heaviosity will vary, of course. But Kingslayer only heightens the reputation for no-frills metallic might that Thronehammer have been building since 2019 debut Usurper Of The Oaken Throne, and on through 2021’s incredible Incantation Rites. From the horror-comic sword’n’sorcery stylings of the album art to their vertebrae-loosening live shows, this is a band who perfectly understand the mission at hand. And, by the time the stabbing strings and chest-beating nostalgia of Halcyon Days Of Yore tumble into monumental, 11-minute closer Ascension it feels like it’ll only be a matter of time ’til the battle-jacketed masses really rally to their cause. Metal warriors unite!

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Grand Magus, Candlemass, Manowar

Kingslayer is released on November 24 via Supreme Chaos

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