Vacant Throne – Fall Of The Feathered King
Fall Of The Feathered King
Reviewed by Kylie McInnes
One of the reasons I enjoy American power metal is that even when it’s bad and dripping with enough cheese to qualify for a USDA dairy farm subsidy, it’s still enjoyable. But, when it’s good, it’s really freakin’ good. Vacant Throne’s 2012 debut, Fall Of The Feathered King, is leaning towards the latter. Typical of 80’s USPM, there’s a plethora of quasi-thrash riffs and galloping beats to hearken back to Jag Panzer.
And hey, you can’t go wrong with a concept album about conquest, either. This isn’t your typical Viking or Frank or Greco-Roman Eurasian trope; this is an epic saga about the Aztecs in their final days. A welcome change of pace from the usual power metal warriors.
Let’s get down to brass tacks here. Yes, this sounds like a self-produced record. No, that doesn’t hurt it. However, the performances are a bit less than tight, particularly the drums sounding behind the beat consistently and the vocals being a bit thin and weak. That said, the guitar work is incredibly solid, both leads and riffs. The epic “The Return Of Quetzalcoatl” (winning title in the Power Metal Scrabble™ tournament) is the best work here, especially the outro reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.”
There’s nothing mindblowingly original here, but this is a very promising beginning. Sure, this album screams “We love Ample Destruction!”, but originality isn’t everything, especially when you have riffs and solos as good as are on here. This is great traditional metal with your typical song structure and fairly predictable progressions, but with great songwriting for those who enjoy mid-tempo power metal with great melodic hooks. Let’s hope these guys can improve on a very solid foundation of a debut and fine-tune their sound. This is highly recommended so you can prepare yourself for a follow-up.