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Music Review: Throwdown – Deathless

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Throwdown is one of those many bands I heard of a while back and always wanted to check out but just have not the time or opportunity. The situation has now changed since I got my hands on a copy of Deathless, their sixth studio album. Now, it is my understanding this album is essentially the culmination in a style/sound shift that has occurred over the past few albums. Without having heard any of their early releases, I have to say they should try going back. At best Deathless is moderately catchy to play as background music, at worst it is derivative, bland, and unimaginative.

Deathless gets off to a promising start with "The Scythe." It has a heavy riff with some blast bass drum followed by a piercing scream. All right, not bad, then around the :40 mark things take a sharp shift, the riffing is not quite as hard, the overall pace slows down and the vocals take on a very Phil Anselmo-like quality with a few hints of Randy Blythe. All right, it is not completely terrible. Could be worse. Perhaps it is just this opening track that has issues.

Throwdown began life as a hardcore act whose path has been altered by an complete changeover in band members (none of the original members remain). The member shift has apparently resulted in a sonic shift as well. Rather than pushing forward with their hardcore origins and perhaps mixing in a bit more metal (like Hatebreed has done), Throwdown has gone through a homogenization that has left their sound right in the middle of the pack. It doesn't stand out and may be confused with someone else.

We move onto and through "This Continuum," "Tombs," and "The Blinding Light" and all I hear is watered down Pantera with touches of Corrosion of Conformity and Mudvayne. It just makes me sad as the performances are not all that bad and there is certainly a catchy quality to the tunes that makes it listenable. The problem is that I feel I have heard this all before and if I want to listen to it, I will go back to the source and listen to them.

I have no problems with a band wearing their influences on their sleeve, but I would like to hear some attempt at adding a little personality to the mix. I went to YouTube and checked out a few tracks from their last album, Venom and Tears, and found I liked them a better. The overall production may be smoother here and these new songs may feature more complex (a little anyway) arrangements, but those older cuts had more personality and raw energy to them.

Bottomline. I would like to say goodbye, Throwdown. I hardly knew you, but then you failed to make much of an impression with your impeccably produced, terribly bland latest offering. Perhaps one day I will go back and revisit some of your older offerings for a taste of what you once were. For the time being, I will leave you to your fans as I am sure they will not care what I have to say.

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