Three Thrones – S/T – CDEP/DD 2012

Three-Thrones-STThree Thrones are a three-piece instrumental stoner-sludge band from Colchester. They formed back in 2011, and since then have gigged relentlessly both locally and further afield, carefully honing their riff-driven craft. They recently came back from a European tour with fellow Essex instrumentalists Telepathy, and are tighter and more active than ever it seems.

They are currently sitting on material for a split release with Thetford sludgecore brutalists William English, and are soon to record their first full length album. This EP is the debut release from the band and is currently the only available recorded material, but this 20+ minute slab serves as the perfect introduction to these excellent Essex weedians.

Recorded in their entirely unglamorous practice space on cheap, minimal gear by Paul “Hobopope” Rhodes, it’s a testament to Rhodes’ keen ear and feel for the band – as well as to Three Thrones being tight as hell – that this EP sounds as monstrous and well balanced as it does. Of course, deftly handled recording and mixing does not a heavy record make – the fact of the matter is Three Thrones bring the riffs and ruckus; riffs and riffs giving way to more riffs. In that sense the agenda of this band is simple, but this four-track riffageddon isn’t a stock stoner rock affair by any measure.

The playfulness of their pun-based song titles (Fresh Prints being my favourite example) is a characteristic also present in the music itself; structural tricks, sudden shifts in pace, and clever nuances all inject a fun and clever counterpoint to the more balls-out-of-the-bath heavy riffing on this EP. Three Thrones also manage to get serious mileage out of each song by pretty much exhausting the dynamic range a mere three-piece instrumental band could – from delicate post-rock verse territory to glacially paced, punishing doom, this lot use everything in their power to maximum sonic effect.

Without ever being self-indulgent or fiddly for the sake of it, Three Thrones incorporate a prog element into their music and maintain a very healthy riff-to-song ratio, which leaves you wondering why other bands peddling the instrumental sludge thing are content to milk a handful of ideas for so long. Three Thrones never compromise on the total nod-factor of their riffs, but are seemingly not content to coast along on this alone; finding their own sound by peppering every song with little sonic quirks, and incorporating an impressive range of influences from across the various genres of heavy. From the frail clean chords of Solar Bear, to the frenzied violent Meshuggah-esque assault of the closing track, Three Thrones throw in a hundred ideas and mould them into a well ordered guide to riffing and textural diversity. Absolutely bang-on.

Label: Self Released

Scribed by: Chris Moore