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Drenched in sludge and blackened to a goddamn crisp, Swedish quintet This Gift is a Curse amount to a rich delight to sore, mournful ears. Nothing beats a pummeling of abstract blasts, hardcore beats, and gutturally eviscerating vocals (especially bright 'n' early in the morning) when your mind's gears need a hard reset. What makes their upcoming third full-length A Throne of Ash so compelling is its resolute balance in this sinister regard. It's straightforwardly hardcore at heart, but completely transcendent in ethos; it's grounded in serious fucking riffiage, but suddenly darts into the cosmos after a shooting star. This is a "maximum" album, one in which every moment seeks to be the climax, one whose unrelenting shockwave of sonic effrontery demands the highest bearable volume. Crank the album's fifth track "Monuments for Dead Gods" below.

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"Monuments for Dead Gods" is actually more methodical and even-tempoed than the other songs on A Throne of Ash, but to no detriment whatsoever -- in fact, this track's sharp edge glistens even brighter through the murky mire of sludge it dredges you through. At points, even, it feels like razor-sharp pins attacking your ears, like being surrounded by an immense swarm of son-of-a-bitch bees. That all said, A Throne of Ash is oddly digestible for such an extreme album -- owe it partly to its hardcore undergirding, groovy attitude, and unbroken wavelengths -- meaning it doesn't torment your ears so much as overstimulate them a bit. If A Throne of Ash was a drug, it'd be caffeine, and it'd be a hell of a lot of it too.

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A Throne of Ash releases June 14th via Season of Mist.

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