Splintered Throne – The Greater Good of Man (Self-Released)Monday, 22nd August 2022
The Pacific Northwestern community of the United States has a long lineage when it comes to traditional heavy metal and its numerous offshoots. Could we possibly add another act to that legacy in Portland, Oregon’s Splintered Throne? Evidence to the good is in high order after numerous playbacks for this third full-length The Greater Good of Man – this scribe’s first exposure to the quintet that cut themselves from a cloth of older 70’s/80’s influences of the power/classic variety. These musicians explore a mix of heavy riffs, soaring multi-octave vocals, plenty of twin guitar rhythms/ nuances, energetic rhythm section grooves/ accents plus diverse tempos and arrangements that mirror older influences long remembered yet never forgotten.
The first standout moment occurs in the heads down guitar riffs that open “The Reaper Is Calling” as axe players James ‘JMo’ Moser and Matt Dorado rise to the occasion a la Smith/Murray, Tipton/Downing, along with a touch of Bay Area Hetfield/Hammett charm. Historical tales relating to Norsemen for “Night of the Heathens” sit side by side with a song detailing addiction struggles and the road to recovery with “Underdogs”, the gang vocals plus clean to aggressive shifts matching the thoughtful pacing and measured low to high register melodies courtesy of Lisa Mann. Aspects of early Fifth Angel, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, early NWOBHM (Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head) plus Chastain come to mind on the vocal and musical front – shredding solos, blazing double kick action, thunderous bass licks making “Morning Star Rising” and “Time Stands Still” blazing trails through epic shifts, carefully executed riffs/transitions, always seeking out the proper hook to keep the listener engaged and enthralled. The record closes with a revised version of “Immortal 2020” – a ballad that appeared on 2017’s Redline album, a powerful track more aligned with say “Beyond the Realms of Death” or Dio-era Black Sabbath than something that would be Sunset Strip driven.
The Greater Good of Man should achieve modest sales in traditional countries like Germany, Greece, and Japan – but in a just world, the global metal community would embrace Splintered Throne as a surefire winner when it comes to classic, power/heavy metal done the American way.