Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

meandering between a multitude of moods and intent - 70%

gerrobbo, March 24th, 2011

‘Away From The Haunts Of Men’ is a very good Black Metal album from a band with a crap name. I don’t know an awful lot about this Australian act but the fact that the debut album surfaced on Total Holocaust was recommendation enough for me. I parted with my hard-earned cash and I’m glad I did. I don’t normally like spending money so make of that what you will…

Even though ‘AFTHOM’ isn’t a genre-defining release by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a very enjoyable full-length nonetheless. I must admit it took me a while to get into this one-hour offering. The first four songs – decent and all as they are – don’t do much for me at all. It’s only really when the more varied ‘Torrent Of Death’ breaks the monotony up that I raised my eyebrows. From there on, I was hooked. Prior to that, it’s impressive but standard fare. Solid but nothing to write home about.

However, from the midway point onwards, this album takes off in a big way. I’d go so far as to say that there is a complete switch in focus; the first half of the album and the second half are at total odds with one another. Tracks like the delicate instrumental ‘To Velvet Blackness’, the nine-minute flesh-stripping deviant ‘Ranks Webs’ and the at-times fierce & ferocious eleven-minute epic ‘Robe Of Flesh’ – the highlight of the album by some distance as it ebbs and flows with tremendous majesty, meandering between a multitude of moods and intentions – showcase a more experimental bent to Thrall’s hitherto hammer-and-tongs modus operandi and the result is a more balanced, dynamic and ultimately more enjoyable journey.

I’m not particularly impressed by bands that just chug along at the one speed for an entire album; I prefer gear changes and variation – so Thrall’s ability to shift seamlessly between mid-paced passages and more chaotic blasts works quite well to my ears.

As I said at the top of the show, this is ‘a very good album’. It’s nothing extraordinary but it does have an indefinable charm that most CDs lack. When Thrall get adventurous – as they do frequently in the latter half of ‘AFTHOM’ – they are superb. Just a pity the first four songs are so uninteresting. Still: hard to go wrong with this one.

(Review originally appears on

Corrosion confirmed: you will rot and like it - 85%

autothrall, November 3rd, 2010

There is something structurally satisfying about the debut from Australia's one man Thrall. The packaging is impressive and minimal. A gleaming, silver skull ridden with serpents gracing the face of the digipak. Thick-lined, mesmeric imagery is interspersed with the lyrics in the booklet, and it's just so black. So very, very black, that before even hearing a note of Tom Void's material, you are already held in fascination of what might await you in these corridors of gloom. Away from the Haunts of Men is ambitious for a first effort, with over an hour of music, but what could have very easily transformed into a dull slog through familiar territory somehow manages to remain potent through its wide diorama of tides and tempos, all of which revel in nihilistic glory.

Void is competent in both matters of transfixed, turgid aggression and stark minimalism, and this range is captured within the first two tracks of the album. "Spit in the Eye", at over 9 minutes, offers a mix of both standard, blasting force and a far more intimate second half that begins with a memorable mid-paced segment and then peters out into an extremely sparse but effective closure. "Frozen Tears and Blood" is not quite so epic in scope, but the faster riffing is superior than the opening track, its pulsing, primal core smeared in savage, ascending melodies like the rise of a murder weapon before the fatal blow. Tracks like "Enormous Night" and the weighty "Black Hearts Burn!" explode with an exciting, rock out pace, and Void even caters towards his specters of dark ambiance with the lovely "To Velvet Blackness", or the droning minimal black/doom of "Ranks Webs". Those expecting the hacking edge of tradition will also be serviced, as "Torrent of Death" and "Heliophobia" both parade through the halls of blasted antiquity, drawing comparisons to early works of Bathory, Burzum and Graveland.

Being 60+ minutes in length, there are bound to be a few less inspired moments, and these do happen in the longer pieces. As hinted, "Spit in the Eye" opens with a fairly bland riff, and "Robe of Flesh" could use some trimming down from its near 12 minutes of existence, but I was impressed by how effective most of this record is, and it's surely an engaging way to 'kill' an hour of your life on this festering ball of mud. The potential is limitless. Thrall is artistic without ever becoming pretentious. Poetic without becoming cryptic. Bleak without the nausea. This debut is depressing without necessarily falling under the 'depressive black metal' sub-genre, but more borne of some empty celebration to the inevitable decay of all, the dissolution of creation into the nexus of nothing from which it once burst forth, a timely entropy that becomes thriving and beautiful despite itself.