Game Of Thrones has, by all means, become a phenomenon that no one could have predicted. The name alone brings with it such a force that we’ve not seen from television in years. The idea of putting real world interpersonal problems in a fantasy scape is nothing new, but never has it been executed with such power and such success like it has with Game Of Thrones. The way it merges love and war, fire and ice together is beautiful, and leaves you stunned long after the credits roll. So how, then, can one match this immensity with music?
Well, for better or worse, For The Throne attempts to do exactly that, and it’s not hard to notice elements of the show peppered throughout the ambitious album’s entirety. It begins before you even press play. Just a look at the artists that contributed to For The Throne’s creation mirrors the universal taste the show has. SZA, Matt Bellamy, ROSALÍA and Mumford & Sons would never be found on the same record in any other scenario, yet on this album they all feel right at home.
The show is centred round three main themes: the tug-o-war between love and power, the perils of faith and the bizarre Venn diagram between purpose and sacrifice. For The Throne is much the same. The album’s lead single, ‘Power Is Power’ performed by The Weeknd, SZA and Travis Scott, possesses that sort of aloof iciness that all three artists have mastered throughout their careers. It’s a dark and haunting endeavour, with a looming cold threat hanging over it like an ominous cloud – which mirrors the show perfectly.
In fact, very few of the songs on For The Throne are particularly cheerful or even hopeful, and as we enter the show’s final episodes, hope and cheer would be bloody wonderful right now. But part of the show’s enduring appeal is the fact that it has no fear to take grim further than we thought grim could go. While the macabre and the hopeless in fantasy worlds aren’t for everyone, those who love it take a sort of twisted relish in the darkness. That’s such a large part of why people keep watching – who is going to die next because no one is truly safe? That all encompassing darkness is even reflected by bands who are usually anything but, like The Lumineers and their melancholic track ‘Nightshade’.
While the album could certainly use some more fire to cut through the ice, that doesn’t mean those shining moments aren’t there. James Arthur lends his powerful and instantly recognisable voice to ‘From The Grave’, which serves as a delicate sunlight between the long night. On top of that, the fierceness and might that runs through Chloe x Halle’s track ‘Wolf At Your Door’ is beautifully hopeful.
Game Of Thrones showcases the perilous waltz of fire and ice, and For The Throne mirrors it brilliantly. Each track is haunting and captivating, with an ominous gloom hanging over the entire album as a whole. But there are still those few tracks that burn of hope and optimism, coupled with a bit of courage, and help shine through the clouds. It’s that sliver of light that helps us keep going in our day to day lives, and will have you keep coming back to For The Throne.
‘For The Throne’ (Music Inspired By The HBO Series ‘Game Of Thrones’) is out now. Listen here on all digital platforms. The album is also available via 11 different vinyl configurations: nine cover variants representing each house crest, one colour variant with fire and ice coloured vinyl, and one standard. Check them out here.