WILD THRONE “Harvest Of Darkness”
Upon first encountering Wild Throne, it would be easy to make certain assumptions about them based simply on their demeanor. They’re polite and certainly friendly, but a little unassuming, exhibiting that brand of reserve particular to the Pacific Northwest. Given that, and the fact that they hail from Bellingham, an especially cold and wet corner of Washington state, you might be tempted to draw conclusions about what their music sounds like: definitely heavy, probably sludgey, possibly full of the gloom and doom that often characterizes bands that live under heavy cloud cover nine months of the year.
If that’s the case, you’re in for quite a surprise.
Wild Throne is a band that has become accustomed to surprising people—both by accident and by design—simply by crafting music that is as hard to describe as it is exciting to listen to. They’ve managed to take the volume and brutality of heavy metal, compositional elements of prog rock, atypical time signatures of math rock, along with things not normally found in those genres such as strong melodies, a touch of psychedelia and some old-fashioned, straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll, along with impeccable musicianship and extraordinary vision, and meld them into a big, multi-layered, many-faceted sound that is completely their own.
In a world where there so often seems to be nothing new under the sun, Wild Throne is doing their level best to challenge that belief. The manifestation of that effort is Harvest of Darkness, their debut full-length album, produced by Ross Robinson (At the Drive-In, The Cure, Blood Brothers) and set for an August 18 release on Roadrunner Records.
Listening to the album, with all its depth and range, it can be hard to believe this band is comprised of just three people, Joshua Holland (vocals, guitar), Noah Burns (drums), and Jeff Johnson (bass). But Wild Throne is no stranger to blowing through boundaries, not just with their music, but also how they play it, and evidence of that can be found all over Harvest of Darkness.
“We really wanted this album to have a more dynamic presence than anything we had done in the past,” Holland says. “Musically and lyrically, we wanted to make sure it had a kind of pulse—that it be very human and flawed but alive and still a good listen.”
Although Wild Throne’s music is highly technical, requiring pinpoint control and seemingly superhuman precision, it is far from sterile. Harvest of Darkness is rife with passion and emotion, anchored by lyrics that explore the human condition, its strengths and its weaknesses, its failings and its beauty—an emotional exploration that’s both personal and universal. Indeed, the album’s title track, “Harvest of Darkness,” which serves not just as an intro to the album, but also an excellent distillation of what’s to come, is, Holland says, “about hanging on to negativity and resentment and then answering to the consequences of doing so down the line,” a relatable sentiment to be sure. “Fear Yourself,” the album’s most anthemic song with its machine-gun drums and arena rock stylings, mines similar territory, that of “staying out of your own way,” Holland says. “I think a vague fear of failure is pretty normal and the song is about crumbling under that fear into the realm of self-sabotage.”
If Harvest of Darkness brings up one question about Wild Throne, it would have to be this: Why choose this road less traveled when they could so easily succumb to the temptation of making music that’s not as intricate, less personally demanding, not as risky?
Holland’s answer, though simple, strikes right at the heart of what makes Wild Throne such a compelling listen. “Making music that is simpler, less technical and more accessible would actually be the real challenge for us,” he says. “We do it the way we do because it comes naturally to us.”
Joshua Holland – Vocals, Guitar
Noah Burns – Drums
Jeff Johnson – Bass
1. Harvest Of Darkness
2. Shadow Deserts
3. Fear Yourself
4. Lone Lust
5. Death Of A Star
6. Blood Maker
7. I Of The Prism
8. War Is A Romance
9. Born To Die
10. The Wrecking Ball Unchained