Album Review: Idol Throne - The Sibylline Age
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
Recorded during 2021, the debut album by Idol Throne brings with it a challenge. How do you define it, for it is an album that draws from such an expanse of influences that it’s almost impossible to throw it into any genre pot? Formed in 2018 in Highland, Indiana, the obvious and potentially lazy way to describe the band is a combination of traditional metal blended with power and speed metal, with the odd bit of progressive metaling thrown in for good measure.
What is for certain is that this a well-crafted, organised and performed release. Yet I can quite easily see why it won’t be for everyone. The muscular riffs and the soaring vocals of Jake Quintanilla sit comfortably in the traditional metal sphere. The songs weave through a journey that emphasizes their ability to switch from blistering thrash to epic neoclassical metal in the blink of an eye. ‘The Labyrinth’ is but one example, the song switching tempo multiple times as it rattles along.
There’s plenty here for most self-respecting metal heads. Whether it be the heads down thrash approach on ‘Crown of Fools’ or the dramatic, progressive title track that concludes the album in style, all 11 and a half minutes of it. The musicianship is impressive, the interplay and construction of the songs working in tandem and achieving solid results. But there’s a but coming.
My biggest challenge, ironically in a time when most people’s attention span is that of a three-minute song, is the length of the album. At over an hour in length, it’s a commitment to sit down and work through it. Good, I hear you say, do your due diligence. And I have. I’ve listened to this album seven times before writing this review. And apart from ‘Crown of Fools’ and the title track, it’s been a challenge to recall any of the other tracks. Now, that may be more about this senile old fool’s memory than the quality of the songs, which I’m not knocking in any way. But I really wanted this album to grab me and throw me around the room. It doesn’t, apart from the title track which is a real workout and something which the band should be truly proud.
You may think this review has presented two separate views. And you’d be right. As I said, I cannot fault the playing or the songs. It’s the lack of anything above the average on the majority of songs that caused me the issues. And I regret that, for Idol Throne possess talent enough. It’s evident within this record, despite my misgivings. And yet, the spark is sadly absent for much of the record. Solid yet unspectacular is the best I can say. I’m sorry. I wanted more.