The Church of Ra collective is a rather intriguing group of musicians whose similarities are often as striking as their differences. It’s a loose assembly of musicians no doubt, it’s hard to even find a definitive consensus on which artists are included in it, but when you click play on a record from one of the members, you know to a certain extent what to expect. Whilst the music itself might not be distinctly similar in a genre sense, there is an overarching darkness and an emotive atmosphere which connects all these musicians together. Centred around the enigmatic Amenra, it also includes, among others, Oathbreaker, Wiegedood, The Black Heart Rebellion and the musician known as Dehn Sora, whose solo project Throane we are discussing today.
Throane has so far released two full length albums, and this new single track EP Une Balle Dans Le Pied (a phrase which, I am reliably told by my French band-mate, means ‘A Bullet To The Foot’), is a definite progression from those two albums. It still sits within, what I’ll call, the Altar Of Plagues school of post-black metal, but takes the densely layered and crushingly heavy riffs of 2017s Plus Une Main À Mordre and steps them up another level. That may be in part thanks to the production, which is absolutely massive but with a clarity that means the intricate strata which the track is built upon are really exposed in a way I’ve not heard on previous Throane releases.
At over thirteen minutes in length, this is the longest song Throane has released so far, and does in a way feel like several separate movements. The first few minutes are a stranglehold of devastatingly heavy riffs; bleak and desolate, it feels like being slowly drowned in tar, and it’s quite an imposing way to begin.
The second movement leads us into some more post-metal areas; an atmospheric drone builds up before being steadily and repetitively cut down by whirling hurricanes of black metal fury, even as the drone tries to fight back. Eventually the whole thing collapses into a mass of relentless and terrifying riffs.
a quite astonishing composition that only gets better with every listen…
The third movement sees the drone recover, but it’s clearly scarred by the twisting concoction of blackened violence. A melody appears, but it’s mangled and disturbed, and the wash of instrumentation that follows is barely any less ugly, lurching between atonal stretches of sludgey guitars and broken shards of blackened melodies. It all culminates together into a truly epic partnership for the final minutes of pure devastation.
The most intriguing thing about it all though is that, whilst it sounds quite imposing on paper, the track is still full of hooks and there are moments of real catchiness; there are melodic lines and rhythmic passages throughout that stick in your mind almost instantly. What this means is, that despite being full of twists and turns, on repeat listens there are memories of that path which return to you, making the track a far more palatable listen than might be expected for such an unfathomably dark and heavy piece. When you marry that with the beautifully crafted juxtapositions, this result is a quite astonishing composition that only gets better with every listen.
This is undoubtedly Throane‘s best work so far, and sees the project take a further step into heavy terrain that has yet to be fully mapped by anyone within the post-metal realm, let alone the Church Of Ra collective itself.
Scribed by: Will J