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History Lives Again: Throne of Heresy’s “Pax Mongolica”

Throne of Heresy 2017_1

“We ride across the open steppe,” bellows Throne of Heresy’s Thomas Clifford as he heralds the oncoming stampede that is “Pax Mongolica.” From the very first note, the music viscerally communicates the thunder from legions of pounding hooves, each contributing to the towering dust cloud that rises above the plains. On their upcoming third full-length Decameron, Throne of Heresy are not playing around, and this track hits like a turbocharged steamroller. Take a listen here with an exclusive premiere:

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“Pax Mongolica” is the second song of ten on Decameron, a concept album inspired by the 14th-century novel of the same name by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio. The album tells a series of stories that follow the spread of the Black Death as it sweeps across the Eurasian continent, beginning on “The Shores of Issyk-Kul,” as the first track is titled. The music is as darkly atmospheric in its composition as it is fiercely merciless in its pacing, an approach showcased handily with “Pax Mongolica.”

As Clifford’s mucous-laden growl hangs throatily on the drawn-out vowel in “ride,” drummer Mathais Westman fuels the storm with relentless rolling kicks and fills. The music is refreshingly straightforward and melodic, reaching often for inspiration to the work of fellow Swedish death metallers Amon Amarth, while still challenging the listener with rhythmic and structural surprises in ways that the melodic death metal legends do not.

Throne of Heresy’s death metal is a more blackened one, reflected not only in Westman’s use of blast beats but also in the sinister shredding of guitarists Tomas Göransson and Lars Björkens. Guitar solos are featured liberally, often incorporating tightly scripted harmonies over bassist Björn Ahlqvist’s steady timekeeping, though while always remaining within the album’s appropriately bleak tonal atmosphere to properly reflect its morbid subject matter.

Throne of Heresy will be releasing Decameron via The Sign Records on November 3rd. The album’s third track “Siege of Caffa” is currently available for streaming on Throne of Heresy’s Bandcamp.

— Ivan Belcic

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