Various Artists - Throne [Cold Spring - 2013]If you're reading reviews on this website, I'm sure you're very familiar with the venerable Cold Spring label. For over twenty years, Cold Spring has been releasing quality product of varying genres, from the likes of Sutcliffe Jugend, C.C.C.C., and Merzbow, to Psychic TV, Laibach, and Anni Hogan. While not as diverse as an average music fiend's collection, it is still very admirable for a label to put out what they believe in instead of being pigeonholed into one or two genres. Because of this, the Throne two disc sampler has a little something for everybody.
Throne gives new meaning to the word "sampler." Yes, it is a sample, but it's not just one cube of cheese or one lick of pudding; There are thirty-three tracks by thirty-one artists! Pop this on and don't worry about your problems for the next 2+ hours. While I had heard of about half of the bands on this compilation (and own a few of the releases), Throne has exposed me to a lot of new acts (for better or for worse). Having never heard Hirsute Pursuit, I was interested in their collaboration with Boyd Rice, "Boys Keep Swinging." This song had to grow on me, but eventually I found myself smiling and nodding my head while it played. Boyd does some spoken bits over one of the most boring beats I've ever heard. However, his sexist musings on the benefits of being a boy definitely help to mask the dullness of the music behind it. All Hail the Transcending Ghost's "Intornator" really captures the essence of the Halloween season (though presumably only because I'm listening to it during it) with a creepy, chilling dark ambient track. The harsh layers and possessed vocals on NDE's untitled entry definitely get under your skin and play well with some of the softer, more haunting tracks on the first disc. The second disc plays along much the same way, with harshness and softness grooving along together like they were from the same womb. I guess they are, though, since they're all given to us by Cold Spring. There are far too many artists and styles here to go into each individually, so I will just mention some of my personal faves. C.C.C.C. delivers the cosmic noise goodness as always. Sutcliffe Jugend, Iron Fist of the Sun, and Sistrenatus bring us three different and excellent approaches to power electronics And Sleep Research Facility, TenHornedBeast, Emme Ya, and Heldentod slowly creep their way into your brain and work to creep you out. Did I miss some? Yeah, probably, but whatever, it's all good.
That's the good, so naturally, there has to be some bad, right? Yeah, but it's clearly subjective. There are a lot of tracks on here that aren't my style. The neo-pagan folk music just does not speak to me. Maybe I'm not European enough, but it just comes off as wicked goofy. Plus, some of the acts sound so out of tune that it can't be on purpose. Other than these, there are a few clunkers on the noise front, but the good out weighs the bad.
As mentioned above, the Throne two disc sampler has something for everyone. There's harsh, there's soft, there's creepy, there's fun, there's goofy, there's goats, and probably lots of beards. With lots of different bands represented, there's a good chance you'll find someone new to check out. Worst case, you end up with two discs worth of music to confuse your neighbors with.Paul Casey