With their roots in hardcore, the Dutch five-piece group, Throwing Bricks, have been gaining more and more of a metallic edge through each subsequent release. Their most recent work, What Will Be Lost, shows the group nearly eschewing their punk influence in favor of black metal and sludge, but still retaining moments of vibrant punk-inspired energy that excellently punctuate the crushing, doomy nature of much of the album.
What Will Be Lost introduces itself with a mournful and melodic guitar, increasingly saturated in fuzz before giving way to slow pummeling drums accompanied by heavily distorted, sludgy bass tones. As the band progresses at a hypnotic pace, the tormented vocals begin to rise to the surface, building in intensity before fully approaching the pained and effective rasp commonly found in black metal. The group masterfully executes the melding of dichotomous styles like this throughout the record, as later displayed in the title track where the group goes from a punk-inspired riff, sounding like an agonized and more chaotic Rites of Spring, right into feverish tremolo picking and spastic blast beats.
For fans of sludge, doom, and black metal, the group largely operates within fairly familiar territory, but even while they trod through down tuned and downtempo riffing, there are always subtleties present in the instrumentation to keep the attention of the listener from waning. One prime example of this is the latter half of the track “Patterns Rise,” where during a more “chug” oriented guitar riff, the drums fill in the gaps with skillful and creative syncopation. Moments like this are where Throwing Bricks excels, working within convention to create something palatable and consistently interesting.
Also of note here is the sound of the album itself. While there is a clarity to each individual texture of the whole, there also seems to be a great deal of care put into making this sound like an organic recording. These songs greatly encapsulate the atmosphere of seeing a band perform live. The drone-y and cavernous amplifier worship track, “Ceremony,” calls to mind the smell of fog machines and the ringing of ears anyone who’s been to a Sunn O))) show is familiar with.
There’s a palpable bleakness present throughout the duration of What Will Be Lost and an impressive amount of ground covered here. Throughout the eight tracks on this album, Throwing Bricks showcases a vast array of inspiration being thrown in the pot to make something new. The apparent varying influences mesh exceptionally well in a listening experience that’s unique and highly compelling, with no shortage of emotional depth, heaviness, and honesty.
– Wes Radvansky