Athorn - Phobia
AFM Records
Heavy/Thrash Metal
10 songs (49:55)
Release year: 2010
AFM Records
Reviewed by Jaime
Now, I know that there's a difference between American Power Metal and European Power Metal, but when your first impression of a band is that they're trying to be Sepultura do they really fall under the Power Metal banner? Behold Athorn, who're being plugged as Prog/Power by their label, but don't sound anything like it. There's odd part that sounds like Iced Earth, but they're few and far between. The rest is very much modern Thrash in nature, very repetitive aside from some fantastic lead lines and soloing.

Breaking it down a little, some of the problems could've been solved by rearranging the track list. By far the stronger songs are on the latter half, The Ferryman being an example of very listenable, though very conservative metal with some execellent lead parts, and the closing track Schizophrenia coming across a bit like Testament tapping into horror films though is slightly let down but that wretched crooning that seems to be infecting the masses of "popular" metal bands. It's said crooning that is one of the weak points of this album, it's pretty limp and just makes some of the songs lose a lot of power. First track Angel of The Fall suffers a bit from it, as well as just being boring. It's not exactly the most energetic track to open an album with, it plods along doing nothing of real interest. Emperor of Ruins is basically a Sepultura b-side with some Pantera riffs thrown in. That combo's probably a Thrash fan's wet dream, but it's not that interesting, and the chorus neuters it completely. Hell, the best part of the song is the little pre-chorus that shows up that just sounds vicious. Third track in is lead single Humanize The Demon which at least kicks off a little more interesting with a psuedo Power/Folk metally lead line kinda in the back, and the chorus has a similar feel to it as well and verses aside it's a pretty strong song all round. But is it a tad worrying when an instrumental supposed to be a prologue is one of the strongest tracks on the album? Phobia and it's intro track Phobia - Prologue raises this dilemma. The title track itself is somewhat overshadowed but its little brother and the fact that it sounds like a glorified power ballad that turns into a Metalcore song may contribute to that fact. After The End has some damned cool lead lines in it, like the little tapping bit in the beginning, though the rest of the song doesn't really live up to the hype that supplies until the end, where that part shows up again and is expanded upon. There's more of that Testament + balladeering type vocals in A Matter of Time, but at least the balance is right this time (ie. as little of the clean vocals as possible) and is pretty good.

Athorn don't exactly bring anything new to the table, there's nothing too wrong with the album, but there are a few things that aren't exactly right either. The songs lack energy, and I'm not sure if that's down to the songwriting, the production or a combination of both. The clean vocals are fucking awful. They make me want to compare the band to Five Finger Death Punch and that's something no band should ever aspire to. The lead and solo guitar parts save this album, and the drums are at least a bit varied between tracks. If you're a Thrash fan you may like this, even if it is a mainly mid paced affair, but it's worth sticking your toe in before taking the plunge.
Killing Songs :
Humanize the Demon, Phobia - Prologue, A Matter of Time, Schizophrenia
Jaime quoted 66 / 100
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