Dungeon Crawl and Throne Of Iron – The Side Quest

The Side Quest Album Cover Art

Dungeon Crawl and Throne Of Iron – The Side Quest
Wise Blood Records
Release Date: 16/12/22
Running Time: 25:25
Review by Dark Juan

It is time for full disclosure, dear readers. This review is a punishment visited upon Dark Juan because the Editors were sick of my “creative” fucking about with the template that we are supposed to write out reviews to, as it makes their life easier when they are trying to actually upload the word salad I produce to the website. I thumbed my nose and cried “Fie!” once too often at Simon “You’re Going To Die By Tiny Slivers When I Get My Hands On You” Black, and he called me a cad and a bounder! Frankly, I was appalled at his language and his ungentlemanly demeanour and told him he was indeed an uncouth brute and he compounded his frankly detestable behaviour by continuing to expostulate. He then called me a fiend and a rogue, and then a blackguard. My shock was absolute, because, as you know, dear readers, I always conduct my writing and conversations with the utmost propriety, and with the correct Received Pronunciation accent, and to be called a blackguard is frankly too much, so I placed my glove in front of him and demanded satisfaction. Thankfully there were no ladies present otherwise they would have had a fit of the vapours, having heard a gentleman set upon in these barbaric terms.

“Swords or pistols, you excrescence?” I demanded.

“Record review, you black dog”, he replied with some brisk asperity. 

This took me aback, and in my shock I agreed, or at least my second did for me. Mr. Black then placed this split album by Throne Of Iron and Dungeon Crawl in my hand and bade me farewell. Looking at the blurb, it said that the music was Dungeons and Dragons inspired and I thought that I here, in my hands, had an utterly splendid chance to chuck it back in Simon’s face by being terribly rude about the album and the bands thereupon.

Dungeon Crawl put paid to that plan by actually being pretty fucking good and their early 90’s Thrash attack sounds not unlike the lovechild of Kreator and Sodom with a bit of a coat of West Coast USA polish. Their sound is meaty, aggressive and absolutely intoxicating if you remember the glory days of Thrash Metal. They say that their music has a Melodeath edge but I am not hearing it, I’m hearing pure Eurothrash, so what I am hearing is fucking brilliant. 

Opening with a synthesised, cinematic piece, the record really stamps on the go pedal with ‘Where The Coin Falls’ which literally flies teeth first for the listener’s throat, clamps down and doesn’t fucking let go for the four superfast Thrash songs that follow, all of which are pretty fucking decent too. The production job is rich and full and professional and easy to understand and all the instruments are clear and distinct, apart from a slightly twangy bass, and special mention must go to the tortured pipes and throat of Codie Jones, who growls and howls and screams and shouts like he is possessed by an entire panoply of demons. I am deliberately ignoring the lyrical content as it is bound to be about some oiled, taciturn, barely literate swordsman with thews of corded steel, hewing his way through everything from stout oaken doors banded with steel welded by massy hammers to an entire army of fanged horrors armed with enchanted bullshit weapons that kill everyone apart from Mr. Bulging Biceps on contact, as he has some fucking shitbag magic amulet or some sack of earth from his homeland or some other fucking convenient plot device or deus ex machina or McGuffin which means he shrugs off wounds that would remove limbs from lesser men and rescuing some scantily clad maiden from some sort of peril she should have fucking known better than to have got involved in because maidens in sword and sorcery novels can’t walk ten paces in any direction without pissing off some evil mage or being kidnapped by a bunch of rapey brigands that JUST HAPPENED to be in the fucking vicinity of her castle when she went out of it for the first time in twenty fucking years. 

Without, inevitably, her guards, because guards in sword and sorcery novels are about as much use as a fucking chocolate teapot and have about as much brains as a team of Premier League footballers. Also, why do maidens never wear anything fucking suitable for travel? It’s always in a fucking palanquin or something wearing jewelled dancing slippers and diaphanous bullshit that becomes see through at the barest hint of moisture, therefore inciting the lusts of said brigands, and ultimately, our brooding, musclebound hero who has grunted and roared “Crom and Mitra!” for several chapters while grimacing at barkeeps in inns, while slaughtering his way through regiments of ensorcelled enemies without a single thought of strategy that would have made it easier, like murdering the fucker who cast the spells in the first place instead of making life hard for himself because he is thicker than a massive pile of white dogshit left by a mutant Great Dane. He will, after an epic quest, because life ain’t worth living if you’re not sent to some inhospitable location far from your home where even the flora is out to get you (hello, Australia) to rescue some silly, willowy bint (why, for the love of everything evil, are they always fucking willowy and lissom? They are always fucking winsome and elegant with apparently endless legs and perfect bosoms, clad in the palest, milk white alabaster flesh, flawless from top to toe, either with flowing blonde locks or straight, severe raven tresses. They are never fucking ginger are they, or have soft, billowing chocolate curls… and their eyes are also big and constantly brimming with tears (there’s ointments for that) which will decorously trickle down their cheeks and they won’t get snotty noses and sob like their heart is going to burst out of their chests or make noises like grievously wounded elephants) from what are frankly her just desserts because I have seen more brains in a butcher’s window. He will then clap his half-retarded eyes on her and basically charm her out of what is left of her already minimal raiment via the medium of non-distinct syllabification (he will seduce her by grunting) and making his inflated pectoral muscles bounce up and down. 

After some really uninspiring boning after knowing each other for precisely three minutes, mainly done by Mr. Bulging Biceps basically forcing himself upon an unwilling victim of his sexual harassment (whose bosom is inevitably heaving like a sack of particularly active puppies at even the slightest hint of any form of emotion. She’ll have someone’s eye out if she’s not careful) before they (meaning him) fight their way back out of the place of capture and return the maiden (whose maidenhead has been utterly RUINED by our barbarous hero on the way back to her home) to her grateful parents / people / husband and he will have gifts bestowed upon him and remain there until he gets bored or pisses all his wealth up the wall and then will wander off to go and bang a few more reptilian or wizardly heads together and basically sexually assault all the maidens he comes across until eventually, and quite surprisingly, considering he has displayed all the intelligence of two rocks being rubbed together until this point, become a benign and wise king who has to go into battle one last time, whereupon he will bleed the last of his life’s blood over the corpse of the giant wightwalker he’s just offed and his people will lament because he has saved his realm. Silly arsehole. He had an army to do that for him. Dozy fucker.


Yes, Dungeon Crawl are very good.

Throne Of Iron, not so much. My main problem with them being their singer Tucker Thomasson straining to hit notes he’s not really capable of reaching, the band sounding like they have been recording their music in the public lavatory in Victoria Station in London. The production on their three songs is all over the place and the snare drum sound is nearly as annoying as the one on “St. Anger”. Also ‘Curse Of The Lightningmancer’ has vexed me. Lord Raiden is displeased. Lightningmancer. Even the word irritates me. Basically, they have given a Dungeons and Dragons name to a fucking electrician. And then cursed a useful and productive member of society. This is unforgivable. However, their third offering on this split album, ‘Tricksters’ is a bit of a monster, but their music and especially the vocals needs some work to elevate the band beyond merely tolerable.

But (and this is a big but), their bass player is called Arzab Of The Howling Abyss, when the rest of the band have fairly normal names, and that sort of nonsense is ENTIRELY the shit Dark Juan can fully appreciate.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has now served its penance, and awards this split album 5/10 because Dungeon Crawl were good and Throne Of Iron weren’t.

01. Dungeon Crawl – Minions of a Dark Master
02. Dungeon Crawl – Where the Coin Falls
03. Dungeon Crawl – Critical Failure
04. Dungeon Crawl – Chained to the Grave
05. Throne of Iron – Gods of Liquid Gold
06. Throne of Iron – Curse of the Lightningmancer
07. Throne of Iron – Tricksters


Dungeon Crawl:
Codie Jones – Vocals/Guitar/Bass
Kris Gillette – Guitar
Javi Gomez – Drums

Throne Of Iron:
Tucker Thomasson – Vocals & Guitar
Corwin Deckard – Guitar
Jacob Lett – Drums
Arzab of the Howling Abyss – Bass


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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