Dead to Fall The Phoenix Throne

While the fact still remains that Dead to Fall’s vocalist and sole remaining original member Jonathan Hunt doesn’t contribute nearly enough to merit carrying a band name on his own, The Phoenix Throne is nonetheless a marked improvement in almost every department. Leaning far more towards the metallic end of the spectrum than ever before, the group (which now features members of Nehemiah and With Dead Hands Rising) had taken a number of cues from Opeth, particularly in some of the less beatdown-oriented guitar playing. The inclusion of a hefty influence from a Swedish metal group who aren’t At the Gates or In Flames automatically changes the overall aura of the release — although rest assured, there are plenty of pit-worthy mosh grooves still present, most notably the show-stopping fadeout of "Doomed to Faliure.” Eric Rachel has cleaned up the production a little too much — while the irritation factor lowers with subsequent listens, there is no denying that the entire affair seems a little polished and cold. None the less, The Phoenix Throne is an impressive step towards greatness from a formerly sub-tier collective of constantly rotating musicians. (Victory)