Thrones was the project of Joe Preston, a Seattle musician who played bass in
Earth and Melvins.
Conceived in 1994, Thrones surfaced with a cassette (on Punk In My Vitamins)
and with the single Reddleman/Algol (Punk In My Vitamins) .
The album Alraune (Communion, 1996) presented
an infinitely more mature musician, a full-fledged composer, and one who likes
to take chances. The single Senex/Silvery Colorado (Soda Girl Records)
was followed by the EP
White Rabbit, White Rabbit (Kill Rock Stars, 1999).
While these recordings overflow with ideas, and Preston's realization is
always inventive, it is hard to define what Thrones is all about. Preston
sounds more like someone who is looking for a style, rather than one who has
a style. These are still formative works.
The EP Sperm Whale (Kill Rock Stars, 2000) refines Preston's approach
in a more focused manner. While still spread 360 degrees all over the musical
front, the tracks zoom on a tragic poet and his quest for a noir atmosphere.
The whirlwind of distortions, android samplings and science-fiction sounds in
the instrumental Oso Malo resembles the most
nightmarish Six Finger Satellite, but the
cavernous Melvins sludge is only a few minutes away.
Preston's true soul is in these extreme sonic experiments, that balance
grunge heaviness and an almost jazz aesthetics: the
threnody for bass and electronics that opens Ephraim, the
ominous bass theme that carries a loud distortion in Manmtn,
the exoteric requiem from which Obolus takes off.
Preston's tactic is to rip these morbid moods apart with torrid, infernal
riffs and grooves. The effect is particularly gripping in Obolus,
a veritable prayer from the underworld. In between the major experiments,
Preston still enjoys surreal diversions. The best one here is
Nuts And Berries, that comes through as a grindcore version of Syd Barrett.
After a five-year hiatus,
Day Late Dollar Short (Southern Lord, 2005) collects singles an rarities.
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