Woe of Tyrants: Threnody

Ohio-based quintet Woe of Tyrants craft a magnificent album with a unique genre-fusing sound, proving that they have staying power beyond many of their peers.

Woe of Tyrants


Label: Metal Blade
US Release Date: 2010-04-13
UK Release Date: 2010-05-17
Label website
Artist website

Genre fusion is often very difficult in metal, even for veteran acts. Finding the proper balance between two styles and creating a unique sound from that balance requires finesse, subtlety, and a great deal of songwriting talent. Luckily for Ohio-based quintet Woe of Tyrants, they have those three qualities in abundance. More importantly, they have the ambition to attempt a triple fusion of death metal, thrash, and metalcore into one bone-crushing sound. Their first album for Metal Blade (second overall), Kingdom of Might, was a massive success that earned the band touring slots with Unearth, God Dethroned, Psyopus, and their current spot on Overkill's 25th anniversary tour. On their newest album, Threnody, the young band replicates their older success while adding new, exciting elements to their unique sound.

Many may write this album off as a bland deathcore record upon hearing the notes of opening instrumental "Tetelestai", but nothing could be further from the truth. Woe of Tyrants actually has more in common with Testament than they do with Suicide Silence. The number of real breakdowns on this album can be counted on one hand, while the number of highly technical guitar solos and leads is much greater. Dustie Waring of Between the Buried and Me makes a guest appearance on the track "Venom Eye", playing one of the more complicated guitar solos on the album and making it look easy. Vocalist Chris Catanzaro delivers a ferocious performance with unparalleled depth and intensity, while also crafting intelligent lyrics about mental growth and spirituality. As with Kingdom of Might, though, Johnny Roberts steals the show on drums, channeling Mike Smith of Suffocation and Dave Lombardo of Slayer into a tight, gripping drum opus that directs the album's flow and holds together songs through numerous tempo changes and time adjustments.

What sets Threnody apart from its predecessor is the addition of symphonic sections throughout the album. While the band does not have an actual keyboardist in their ranks, the use of symphonic parts is a stroke of genius, adding layers of harmony and atmosphere to an already-unique musical experience. Most of the symphonic elements appear on the second half of the album, enhancing tracks like "Bloodsmear" and "Singing Surrender" for the short sections in which they appear. However, the best use of symphonic parts occurs on the title track, which is also the greatest song on the album. This song is longer than any other Woe of Tyrants song, thanks to its soft intro that builds right into a complex guitar lead backed by a towering symphonic section. The whole song constantly builds towards the final guitar solo, and the symphonic parts aid in this rising sensation, breathing life and depth into the song. The entire song is quite memorable, ranking among the best compositions of the band's career.

Threnody is proof that Woe of Tyrants has staying power beyond just two albums. This record has a lot to offer for fans across multiple genres. Combining the speed of thrash, the technicality of death metal, and the potency of metalcore, Threnody is one of the rare complete packages in modern metal. The cross-genre appeal of this album is sure to push Woe of Tyrants into the spotlight and give them further well-earned recognition.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.