Fusing progressive rock elements coming from a death metal background is always going to conjure up something pretty exciting, and that’s exactly what we get from Brighton band Milk White Throat. The band offer up thrilling riffs, cheeky guitar solos and pounding rhythms in a heavy, intense and encapsulating sound.
The trio of Tom (guitars and vocals), Brian (vocals and bass) and Guillaume (drums) has an interesting history, having previously had six members and started out as a thrash/death metal band called Lithurgy. They whittled things down to the current lineup in 2016 and have since released two EPs, House of Fire and Hierarchy, which came out in September.
They’ve moved away from that death metal origin but elements of the heaviness remain. On their sound, Tom explains: “Personally, I think we play an eclectic mix of prog rock and various genres of metal. Each track is different, so I feel like we’ll always be one of those kinds of bands where you need to listen to the whole record before you form a full opinion or decide exactly what genre it is.”
Our first taste of the band was Sleepless, from the three-track Hierarchy EP. It opens up with a fun stabbing riff and lively drums in a big rocky intro. That drops into light floaty guitars under meandering vocals, which suddenly burst into huge screams of “It hurts, Challenge who you are, Try hard, Set yourself apart” over a darting guitar riff. That feeds into a big atmospheric chorus of wandering guitars under the engaging vocals “In all the things you are, love them dear, And everything you are comes around, If everything you’ve learned comes from me, How reckless you will be.”
Heavier guitar chords flow into light licks as the engaging, laid-back vocals continue, then a cool effects-ridden riff builds with intensifying vocals, and a cry of “I’ll be here as long as I can, as long as I can” flows into more powerful vocals. That gives way to a cool laid-back guitar solo, then the laid-back chorus. A distant, building guitar riff develops into a big smash of heavy guitars with a high-pitched guitar over the top to bring the track to a close.
On the track, Tom told us: “For anyone who hasn’t heard it, well I guess if you’ve heard us before then it may or may not surprise you. I think it’s a natural progression from our previous works, and somehow contains some of the prettiest but also most intense music we’ve created so far. Expect something of an emotional rollercoaster.”
Check it out in the video here:
The other two tracks on the EP are more than seven-minute-long epics, including opener Closed Eyes, for which they released a video on Monday. It begins slow and quietly but gradually develops into a huge guitars under big vocals “You brought me back just like before, How far I’ll fall god only knows.” Really cool descending guitars fall away over rolling drums, then a piercing, laid-back lick drops into light guitars and a spacey synth sound. Light, but building vocals “One, one step, out of reach One upset, down again One trouble, can’t begin One, one step, out of reach” take over, then a big guitar solo jumps in alongside heavier chords.
Powerful, high-pitched vocals come in and give way to a huge smash of guitars and rolling drums, then really fun little guitar flurries under more powerful vocals to bring the track to a strong ending. Give this great song a listen in the video below:
The EP’s title track Hierarchy absolutely lives up to the word “epic.” Building guitars launch into huge vocals with pounding drums and meandering guitars. An intense opening eventually drops into light guitars, but swiftly flows into big powerful vocals over heavy guitar chords and driving drums. An awesome guitar solo kicks in over a flickering lick in a brilliant instrumental ending to the track and the EP. Give it a listen here:
The Milk White Throat trio grew up on classic metal bands like Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Megadeth and Iron Maiden, while their musical tastes have been shaped by the likes of Tool, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd and more niche bands such as Elder, Oranssi Pazuzu, Beyond Creation and Kayo Dot.
And on their musical inspiration, Tom explains: “Mainly we’re just influenced to write by a love of music and always wanting to better ourselves. Ever since I started playing guitar in a band and trying to come up with original riffs and ideas, it’s been a huge part of my life and mental energy. I still get really excited when I come up with a new thing that I like or write a new song and think ‘yeah this is really good’, there’s not really a feeling like that in anything in life, for me anyway. I don’t get the same satisfaction from anything else so I keep writing, inspiration permitting!
“For each of us, it’s our main creative outlet and I think it’s important to have something like that whether you do it as a hobby or professionally. There aren’t really any key themes we always write about. Brian is the lyric writer of the band and he tends to write about whatever is on his mind at the time when the songs come together.”
And to add to that, on the new EP Brian said: “The songs represent an individual’s fragility and their attempts to reconcile themselves with the world around them as well as the world within them, with each song representing a different perspective.”
There should be plenty to come from Milk White Throat, especially if/when things begin to open up again. They plan to get back into the studio in the new year with the aim to work towards a full-length album. And, fingers crossed, they’ll be looking to get gigs and tours booked in soon.
Tom adds: “Just that we really appreciate anyone who takes the time to check us out, and we really hope we can get out to play live to people again soon. It’ll be great to play the new songs and we’re working on more to be able to play when gigs are permitted again.”
We love the engaging rock meets metal meets death metal crossover of the Milk White Throat sound. And the good news is there’s plenty of music to get stuck into in their back catalog, of which the earlier stuff definitely errs on the heavier side for all you metalheads out there.