I've been an obsessed hard rock & heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Idol Throne – The Sibylline Age
Label: Stormspell Records
Genre: Power/Thrash Metal
Run Time: 61:13, 10 Tracks
The music scenes of New York and Los Angeles still get the lion's share of the attention from the music biz, but in the metal underground, America's heartland has become something of a hot spot in recent years, with the Midwest region producing a bumper crop of fresh, new bands performing in every metal style you can think of, from the grimmest, most kvlt-est of black, to classic thrash, progressive, traditional denim-n-leather, and on and on.
As always, the true metal specialists at Stormspell Records are doing their part to keep this flame burning brightly. Idol Throne, a self described "Thrash/Power/Prog" quintet from Northwest Indiana, has just unleashed their full length debut album, The Sibylline Age, through the label. Idol Throne has been in existence since 2018, and have previously released a demo and two singles. Their membership boasts past and present connections with such Midwestern acts as Wraith, Farwatch, Axxios, Acidic Assault, and Mind's Horizon.
Stormspell's hype e-mail compared Idol Throne to classic melodic heavy hitters like Helstar, Crescent Shield, and Jag Panzer, and after several listens to the ten crunchy-but-classy tracks on The Sibylline Age I can agree with that assessment. If you like tightly played, shredding thrash metal topped with melodic, occasionally high-pitched vocals (no death growls here!), then this band is for you!
A brief note before I dive into the meat of this review: when I received this promo from Stormspell, my first mission was to find out what the heck "Sibylline" meant. A quick Google search revealed that it comes from the Latin word "Sibyl," which means "prophetess." Therefore something that is "Sibylline" is "prophetic and mysterious." So there's your useless trivia for the day. I just wanted to throw that out there in case it ever turns up on Jeopardy!...
Pressing "play" on The Sibylline Age, a tasteful acoustic intro ("A Tale Untold") leads into the album's first proper track proper, the six minute thrash-out "Unholy Warrior" that immediately sets the "we're not here to mess around" tone. Drummer Aaron Grove lays down a nice slamming groove while the guitar team of Jason Schultz and Martin Bowman lays down some serious six-string shrapnel. Jake Quintanilla's vocals soar triumphantly out over this musical mayhem like a general leading the charge. "The Labyrinth" is a dramatic speed metal cut followed by the crushing "Sacred Fire."
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The twin guitar harmonies of "White Wolf" have a major Iron-Maiden-on-speed feel, and the epic, nearly-eight-minute instrumental "Last Full Measure" chugs along in a menacing vein similar to Metallica's "The Call of Ktulu."
"Crown Of Fools" is a mid-paced thumper powered by some killer double-bass drum action, and the ripping "Raven's Blade" is packed with even more squealing guitar candy.
The swirling riff-o-rama of "Power And Control" leads into the album-closing title track, which is an epic length behemoth that swings from slick and melodic to slamming and back again over and over throughout its eleven and a half minute run time, like some kind of mythical steel cage wrestling match between vintage Fates Warning and And Justice For All-era Metallica.
Summing It Up
Idol Throne clearly doesn't need any advice from me, because all the pieces are in place. They obviously know what they're doing! The Sibylline Age is a spotlessly played, impressively produced indie release that should appeal to fans of everything from the aforementioned Jag Panzer and Helstar to vintage Metallica, Megadeth, and Sanctuary. After four years of slugging it out in the trenches, these guys are already seasoned pros, and they can only get better from here.
Collectors, take note: Stormspell's CD pressing of The Sibylline Age is a limited run of 1000 copies, so if you've checked out the YouTubes accompanying this article and you like what you hear, make sure you grab a copy as soon as you can, or pay premium prices for it on the secondary market later.
The Sibylline Age has begun. Check it out and support True American Metal!
© 2022 Keith Abt