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Music Review

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Smile Less


Artist: Throat
Label: Svart Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 May 2021

Svart Records releases Smile Less, the third album by Finnish Noise Rock band, Throat. Their current line-up consists of J Matilla on vocals and guitar, A Juhakoski on guitar and backing vocals, L Leppanen on bass, and A Kinnunen on drums. The group has aimed for a significantly darker tone than on their previous albums. Since their 2018 release Bareback, Throat has put-out an Industrial/Noise Remix of Bareback, celebrated their 10th anniversary with a double CD compilation, toured the US and Finland, and recruited a new drummer. Smile Less was recorded at Tonehaven Studio with Tome Brooke, mixed by Andrew Schneider (Cult of Luna, Unsane, Cave In) and mastered by Carl Saff (Big Business, Young Widows, KEN Mode). The artwork was designed by Canadian Paul Van Trigt. It is available on Vinyl, CD, and for Download...

The tracklist for this one is: 'Conveyer Line', 'Grounding', 'Shots', 'Deadpan', 'Home is Where the Hurt Is', 'Vanilla Cuts', and 'Hospice'.

Artificial atmospherics lead in a bass riff and solid drum beat in the opening track. The vocals are deep and flat, in-line with Goth or Doom. The song has a train-like chugging direction with moderate pace. Brief shout/screams punctuate the chorus. The track reels right in halfway through before bursting into the chorus again with a significantly faster and more complicated drum pattern. In 'Grounding', a kind of Industrial combination of sounds lead in a basic chord sequence. A coarse guitar plays around the outside of the music, while the vocals hold the format of the song with their regularity. There is actually a guitar solo of sorts in this one. 'Shots' has a much faster intro, aided by excellent drums and a rumbling guitar noise. The vocals are almost Punkish here. The stark contrast works really well. I love the often returned to melody. At less than three minutes this is the shortest offering on the album, and by far the best.

Bass melodies and peripheral guitar turns 'Deadpan' into quite a surreal sound. The vocals are, again, less depressive. The verses are tentative, the choruses heavier and somewhat frantic. 'Home Is Where the Hurt Is' has a drum pedal create a knocking beat which is joined by a myriad of strange Industrial Noise. The vocals come across like a voice on a walkie talkie. It takes half the length of this one before we get any actual music (the duration is 8:19) and it’s a repeated sequence with growing keyboards and a return to the solo drumming. This proves to be overly long. The drums undoubtedly hold all these tunes together. I’m impressed with the versatility of the odd sequences. 'Vanilla Cuts' is another simple piece but this one has drive and energy, and refuses to outstay its welcome.

We conclude the proceedings with 'Hospice'. Bass and guitar make their presence known in a weird sequence, before the drums swing in and add some substance. The chorus is quite Goth Metal in style. The outré Electronica noises hold sway from the middle to the end, becoming louder and more prominent before merely cutting-off as if someone has pulled the plug.

This is an unusual collection. Some tracks work really well, while others are a little overbearing and stretched-out far beyond their lifeline. On the whole though, I did enjoy the experience.


Ty Power

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