By: Larry Toering
Splintered Throne returns with their third release, their second full-length disc – Redline. This Pacific Northwest rock and metal outfit have been at it for some years, and I was glad to see they went all out for this new release with a vengeance unlike some of their previous material, with a natural progression from their previous work but with a completely refreshed attitude and plenty of new approach to their songwriting with a more polished feel without losing their massive edge. Led by frontman and vocalist extraordinaire, Brian Garrision, with his melodic rock meets hard-edged metal voice. Redline gives the band a fresh coat of paint, with dual guitarists, J~Mo and Fred Osborn playing in unison like a couple of madmen possessed, and the pulverizing rhythm section of Kris Holboke on drums and Brian Bailey on bass.
Splintered Throne has supported; Primal Fear, Metal Church, P.O.D., Lita Ford, Pat Travers, Armored Saint, Tony MacAlpine, Gary Hoey and others along their decade-long road on stage and in the studio. The players are influenced by both rock and metal of the past, as well as combining that with as modern of ideas as metal gets these days. Brian Garrision has an almost gothic touch to his volcanic vocals, but on this album, he’s hitting all the notes with a precision and grace almost more reflective of the 80s than 90s hard rock and metal. It’s a case of really staying focused on every particle of these arrangements with the band turning out such an evenly mixed job it’s a must hear for all metal fans young or old. Make no mistake, these songs are not only incendiary in every way, but they also have an AOR metal appeal fit for radio airplay.
This is a singer with more passion and conviction than most can possibly muster, he’s a premiere talent force to reckon with, as are the rest of the band who’ve made grand efforts to stick to their very own original script. It’s so good there’s no walking away from just one outing of it, the whole thing commands your ears and doesn’t let go. The album kicks off with “Enjoy The Ride” and within a second you’re hooked, but by the time you hear the sheer efforts made to make an all-out effort to slay you with the first track. But it never lets up from there, with some not only vastly rocking but also hugely interesting moments throughout the entire disc. “BPM” follows at a piledriving with some incendiary guitar work from both players trading back and forth on this killer cut about “emotional overload with too much going on.
Garrision’s voice starts to come on strong, and it’s really only the beginning of the disc, making way for “Scream” which he does so well, and with such a modern spin it makes you forget that it’s something only certain singers can do, and to many a thing of the past. But not with this band and how he holds his own any singers this side of Rob Halford, Geoff Tate and the inimitable Ian Gillan, just to name a few, only Harrison sounds fresh and vibrant at it in a time when the old screamers are losing steam. He’s like an anchor for them if you’re into such style of vocals. And it’s a well-written track with some monster effects going on, and more absolutely-incendiary guitar runs, especially toward the end as it gloriously fades away. Talk about a world class band, they don’t just carry the torch, the keep it lit as hot as can be throughout these eleven tracks with two subtitles.
The disc peaks with “The Dream / All In A Memory” with a bombastic yet polished rocker that simply cannot be touched by such bands today, it’s an all-out epic showstopper if there ever were one. Garrision once again proves why he’s a force to reckon with, and you’re familiar with Splintered Throne already, this is all repeat to you, but if not you’re in for a super enjoyable collection of molten rock numbers. These guys play like monsters, just the same as from where their influences come, and they stand right up next to them with pride. “Immortal” shows in every way how they construct a song that you just can’t get out of your head. What a classic from beginning to end, another truly great moment among them all. And the madness never stops till “Take It To The Grave” dawns your ears and takes you to the brink on this brutal attack of the senses.
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