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A Triumphant Second Album,
This review is from: Triumph and Beyond (MP3 Download)
After seeing Claim The Throne in support of Alestorm on their recent UK tour I was impressed enough by these guys to buy their latest album, and it doesn't disappoint. For those who like folk metal it really doesn't get much better than this album, which has really held up to repeated playings for me; I've listened to the entire album every time, such is the consistency of the tracks.
This band describe themselves as being a mixture of Melodic Death Metal and Folk Metal, though I have to say I found this album to be more of the latter. There are heavy passasges, but also quiter ones, and three ballads (if you include the acoustic version of Set Sail On Ale that comes as a bonus track). However, there is plenty of metal for you to get your teeth into!
The one-two punch of 'They Shall Live On' and 'Through The Rage Of The Storm' that kick starts the album is incredibly strong, and is without a shadow of a doubt one of the highlights of the album. Both tracks have some impressive riffing, and also some interesting folk-tinged quiter moments. 'The Thousand Thunders' seems like a continuation of 'Mystical Hermit Of The Woods', the track that proceeds it, and essentially ups the ante from quiet and folky to a heavier song. The title track is another great song, and it is followed by 'The Lake', the best ballad on here in my opinion, and one of my favourites off the whole album. 'Rat Infested Hut' is another storming track, and is followed by the incredibly short, but memorable and catchy 'Two Pints Of Honey And A Barrel Full Of Beer'. 'The Sermon' is a quiet instrumental passage that would be a downer if it actually ended the album, which it would do if not for the bonus tracks, but luckily we have the lengthy 'Words Of The Great Oak' to follow it, a track that has been re-recorded from Claim The Throne's 2008 debut 'Only The Brave Return'.
At nearly ten minutes this track is by far the longest on here, and it's one of the best, progressing from a fairly average keyboard and guitar based introduction through numerous different riffs, this song seems to get better and better as it progresses. We first hear the chorus at around 3:18, and I like the way the vocalist sings this with the drawn out guitar chords behind the vocals. From about 5:30 the song becomes just a bassline, then the keyboard and guitar with some folk vocals join in, before it kicks back into full-on metal at 6:55. From this point it chugs along to its conclusion with a few more transitions and riffs; the part beginning at around 8:35 is one of my favourites in this climactic sequence. After this 'Set Sail On Ale', probably the band's most famous song, finishes the album, and is decent enough, though in my opinion doesn't match that which has come before it.
Overall this is a great album, which was matched by the great energy the band had live, not to mention genuinely funny banter! The vocals on this are pretty rugged, though I find that they work with the material, even on acoustic tracks. All the instruments contribute to making this one of my current favourite albums. I've given it four stars because it's not the greatest or most original or jaw-dropping album I've ever hear, and it hasn't changed the way I think about music, but it is really good fun and has some impressive songs that Folk and Melo-Death fans should definitely check out! I think they're also the first Australian band I've added to my CD collection too! I can't comment on their earlier output, but this album is a worthwhile purchase for fans of the genre.