March 4, 2014 by Dan Swinhoe
As times change, the best bands evolve. Formerly known as Dog Shredder, Bellingham’s Wild Throne signalled they were ready to move on from being noticed for their name first and music second. In Blood Maker, their new Ross Robinson-produced release and debut under the moniker, the music clearly comes first.
Made up of Josh Holland on Guitar & Vocals, Noah Burns on Drums and Jeff Johnson on Bass, the three-piece’s sound is still as hard to define as in their Dog Shredder days; Chaotic, bombastic prog metal that swings from unhinged to hypnotic without warning.
But with the more refined name comes a more refined sound. It’s still completely unpredictable, but there’s more in the way of melody, as demonstrated on the opening track, ‘The Wrecking Ball Unchained.’ Organs and drum rolls underlay Holland’s soft vocals, before Mastodonian-sized riffs explode and drives the song into a different direction entirely. Vocals hang on the edge between impassioned and uncontrolled while the music behind speeds along at breakneck speed.
‘Shadow Deserts’ is equally off-kilter, swapping sweet melodies for pummelling drums and huge riffs capable of filling stadiums.There’s little room to breath before the next riff or solo appears, and there’s plenty of both on offer. The title track staggers from a jittering stop/start to a soaring wall of riffs and frenzied soloing crescendo to close the EP. The only flaw is that with only three songs, the whole thing is far too short.
As good as their music as Dog Shredder was, the transformation into Wild Throne has seen the band step up a gear. The unpredictability remains, but the songwriting has improved and new dimensions added to their sound. And in Blood Maker, they have created the first truly essential release of 2014.