Splintered Throne – The Greater Good Of Man

The Greater Good Of Man Album Cover Art

Splintered Throne – The Greater Good Of Man
Release Date: 19.08.22
Running Time: 39:38
Review by Dark Juan

It is the evening at Dark Juan Terrace, and I am slightly squiffy. I am replete with a chili I have made that was absolutely crammed with chipotle chillies in adobo sauce and I have been cheerfully mixing my drinks so I am feeling somewhat warmed by chillies and alcohol (oh, alcohol, how I love you and how you free my imagination and allow it to roam over uncharted and frequently perverse territories in my mind that really should remain unexplored. However, I don’t like the way that after a major sesh, you drip feed my transgressions back to me over the course of several deathly hours. I could be peaceably having a hangover and minding my own sore-headed business when suddenly I will sit bolt upright because I have remembered that I might have stuffed a person of restricted growth in the boot of my car, “to save for later”. And that that person of restricted growth is called Pete and he will probably want feeding at some point, and that Pete’s rather attractive girlfriend had sold him to me for a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale and a dance the night before) and have seated myself upon my chaise–longue to run a discerning ear over the latest release from Portland, Oregon’s trad metal warriors Splintered Throne and their latest release “The Greater Good Of Man”, fronted by longtime friend of Ever-Metal.com, legendary blues bassist, supreme alto and all round super lovely good egg Lisa Mann, of whom Dark Juan is a rabid and enthusiastic fan. Lisa made the mistake of being nice to Dark Juan once and now Dark Juan is like a particularly recalcitrant and sticky dog turd on her shoe that can’t be easily removed. Tough luck, Lisa. Still, at least you have a very enthused cheerleader and friend in the UK… I just nauseated myself with the thought of Dark Juan in a cheerleading uniform. Let us instead discuss the music rather than dwelling upon that appalling, yet curiously powerful image!

Splintered Throne are not ever going to be recognized as a ground-breaking band, but this is not the point of them. Splintered Throne are a band who proudly wear their influences and hearts on their sleeves. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Helloween and Queensryche are the order of the day with a little bit of White Crone (being Lisa’s solo metal project) slung in there for good measure. Opening track “The Reaper Is Calling” immediately brings back great memories of twin guitar lead lines, melody and a welcome focus on songwriting and polish. The sound is punchy as fuck and the musicians tighter than a gnat’s chuff throughout and Lisa more than adequately cements her reputation (in Dark Juan’s head anyway) as a new Queen of metal, her powerful, barrel-lunged alto soaring magnificently over super-crunchy trad metal done right. There’s no messing about done on the first song – it just hammers straight into the psyche with little to no pretense of subtlety – Splintered Throne are keen to make you aware that this is a fucking heavy metal album and you need to be headbanging like fuck, thank you please.

This record proves that traditional metal still has teeth as well – “Night Of The Heathens” is a speedy, dangerous metal song that references Judas Priest quite strongly, with a strong power metal bent, although I’m not thrilled about the lyrics having the Vikings dealing us sturdy and stubborn Brits an arse kicking! That will be a spanking for the lot of you, my ungrateful colonial cousins…

There’s nothing to fault on this album and that’s really annoying. There are riffs for days, massive, huge, colossal, MEGALITHIC riffs of glorious majesty all over the fucking place. Splintered Throne are chucking megariffs into middle eights because they are riffmeisters and have riffs to spare. I fucking love the rich, warm production of the album as well – it’s well honed, polished and very easy to listen to, with a snare sound that pleases the discerning ear of Dark Juan mightily, mainly because it doesn’t sound like a bin lid being twatted with a dead pigeon. All the instruments are very easy to hear, even through faster passages, and the percussion is clearly discernible at all times. And over it all rises the voice of Lisa Mann, a woman absolutely wasted on the blues, as her pipes are admirably suited for the rigours of metal. She effortlessly soars over the music, set quite far forward in the mix, but that is just because her unique voice is just such a fucking ASSET to whatever the fuck she’s singing on, yet her full on delivery never overpowers the rest of the band. All in all, the production is a masterful achievement, being clean yet still full of vibrancy and power and showcasing the talents of the entire band, who, and let’s be honest here, are a fucking cracking bunch of musos. Every single song is clearly finely crafted and the performances of every member of the band shine with enthusiasm and a clear sense of fun, which provides the album with that je ne sais quoi that quite a lot of modern releases miss – traditional in style and execution this record may be, but it is vibrant and fresh and quite capable of kicking the arses of a number of recent releases with one metaphorical arm tied behind its back.

All in all, this is a damned fine listen and a bit of a triumph, especially if you’re like Dark Juan and you’re a… teenager with nearly four decades worth of experience. Not since Warlock’s “Triumph And Agony” have we had a proper heavy metal band with a female singer of such power, range and ability.

Splintered Throne and Lisa Mann did not pay anything to Dark Juan for this frothingly positive review, and frankly Dark Juan finds it actionable and libellous that you might think that. See you in court!

Splintered Throne –  I’ll be seeing you down the front when you hit UK shores!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Splintered Throne a studded-wristband clad 9/10 for a virtually perfect traditional heavy metal album. Bear in mind that Dark Juan tends to not listen to too much trad metal nowadays, being rather more musically intrepid, but does still adore metal in all its forms. One mark was lost because the last song, “Immortal 2020”, came perilously close to being a power ballad. You all know what power ballads and ballads in general make Dark Juan think and do. Yes, that thing that involves cannons and just how far out to sea we can make the perpetrators of ballads fly, without the aid of a helmet. Yes, even Lisa, who remains one of Dark Juan’s favourite people in metal because she’s just so goddamned nice. But it was JUST the right side of balladry, so Splintered Throne don’t have to deal with trousers filled with 5 kilos of cordite and an unpleasantly soggy walk back to their hotel.

01. The Reaper is Calling 
02. The Crossing
03. Morning Star Rising 
04. The Greater Good of Man 
05. Let it Rain 
06. Underdogs 
07. Night of the Heathens 
08. Time Stands Still
09. Immortal 2020 (Remastered)

Brian Bailey – bass
Matt Dorado – guitar
Kris Holboke – drums
Lisa Mann – vocals
Jason “JMo” Moser – guitar


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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