On the eve of their sophomore release, Throwdown are in a precarious position. They’ve been dismissed by some of the hardcore underground for having sold out (ie: succeeded) and gone ‘too metal’, but haven’t established enough of a secure fan base within mainstream metal for this not to worry them. Due to this, Vendetta will provide the soundtrack for one of only two occurrences: their arrival as future heavyweights in metal, or the cessation of the Orange Country quartet’s very existence.
Style and ‘scene’ concerns aside, Throwdown have recorded a kick-ass album of, sometimes ridiculously simple, but spine shatteringly brutal riffage that will force your fellow passengers to turn their own iPods up to full volume in order to drown out the abuse blasting from yours when this LP is looping through your shiny white headset.
Laying their full house hand on the table from the outset, opener We Will Rise crashes in with some awesome vocal talent on display from Dave Peters, who manages to emulate Jamey Jasta’s guttural bark, whilst still paying attention to his annunciation (which makes for a considerably more interesting listen!) as he makes his battle cry known: “Can we rise?, We will rise! Yeah we will rise above the lies and move on!”
Move on they certainly do, with the production skills of the godlike (groan) Zeuss shining through on title track Vendetta the perfectly layered instruments dart along in a frenzy, all awaiting the chance to jump off the disc and begin their assault on your eardrums. Even if the band do stray a little too close for comfort into the Hatebreed camp on this sure single, follow up number Burn will be certain to set it off in pits from Melbourne to Manchester, as In Flames meet Terror in a head on collision, and the beauty of metal and hardcore amalgamated is realised in 3 minutes of blistering rage.
Although the musical divergence from their pure hardcore roots is in my opinion nothing but a positive factor, one element of their foundation that’s clearly ever present throughout the album is the focused, personal, and purposeful lyrical content of each song. To Live is To Sacrifice and Give My Life are both lessons in loyalty, honour and raised fist dedication that serve to inspire all. The latter of the two takes an unabashed look at allegiance to one’s cause: “For my enemies I have nothing to give but hate, for those who doubted me you’re my enemies just the same. For those who give respect, my respect to you is paid; but for those who stand there by my side, I give more than blood for you… I give my life!”
Bold words from a bold band who no doubt had to weigh up the risks of standing by their decision to branch out, risking ridicule by from their fans and the somewhat narrow-minded hardcore faithful. Nevertheless, their unashamed belief in their goals has earned them the somewhat ominous label of being the next Pantera and in contrast to final number This is Where it Ends, for Throwdown I hope this is the beginning of something beautiful.