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Enthroned – Sovereigns


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For devoted fans of Enthroned, it seems that a new album couldn’t have come soon enough at this time in 2014. Two years on from the band’s fairly decent last album “Obsidium”, as well as an awkward set of line-up changes, nobody could have blamed Enthroned for wanting to take their time with a new album. However, listening to the band’s latest album, “Sovereigns”, will quash anyone’s half-hearted belief that Enthroned are no longer relevant in a sub-genre which in today’s world seems to have been exhausted of all its magic.

For the first couple of songs the album doesn’t particularly seem to stand out from your everyday black metal band, but looking deeper into the album’s general progress will enable the listener to discover that what they are hearing is sometimes quite diverse and definitively outstanding, for both Enthroned’s standards and extreme metal in general. Although the somewhat unremarkable likes of ‘Of Feathers and Flames’ and ‘Divine Coagulation’ may suggest otherwise, it is with the more forward-thinking, brilliantly written songs such as the album’s true highlight ‘Lamp of invisible Lights’ where the band’s talented musicianship becomes very effective. At first, it does seem to take a while to move from the slow-burning intro into a more blastbeat-ridden chorus section, but there are added dynamics and atmospheres which portray a greater standard of songwriting than one would think. Whispered vocals, eerie narrative voices and lashings of psychedelic atmosphere (brought to the forefront of the sound, leaving the rhythm section to lie low in the background) all contribute to a song that is arguably one of Enthroned’s career highlights to date. Although to a slightly lesser extent, you can hear the same sort of sound in both the vicious ‘Of Shrines and Sovereigns’ and the album’s introduction, ‘Anteloquium’. The transition from quieter, mellower sounds to a much more brutal, blastbeat-ridden atmosphere is near perfect, making the aforementioned songs even more organic.

Unfortunately, this experimental sound feels brief, especially when the remaining six songs are little more than straightforward black metal. This isn’t to say that the band comes across as uninspired on “Sovereigns”, but the blander likes of ‘Divine Coagulation’ fail to reach the same expectations as one would have from listening to a song as impressive as ‘Lamp of invisible Lights’. The guitar work is sometimes brilliantly complex, as on ‘Sina qua Non’ and ‘Baal al-Maut’, making for an invigorating listen to those who prefer the more technical aspect of black metal, but again, this feels a little brief and for the most part blastbeats and eccentric rhythms are what propel the album’s general progress. The problem with songs like ‘Divine Coagulation’ is that you get the impression that the band sound tired, and this may or may not be down to how weary the instrumentation becomes towards the end. Of course, this is a problem which plagues many of the more average black metal releases, but thankfully it doesn’t make “Sovereigns” any worse than what you think it is.

That said, what we have here is an impressive (or unimpressive, depending on whether you love this metal sub-genre or not) album from a band who have sometimes struggled to stand out in the world of extreme metal. With songs such as ‘Lamp of invisible Lights’ and ‘Of Shrines and Sovereigns’, the band’s musicianship and penchant for songwriting is excellent, and the only real problem here is that people would expect more songs to invoke this particularly diverse style. Nonetheless, the band’s latest album should raise a few eyebrows, and rightly so.

3.6/5

1. Anteloquium

2. Sine qua Non

3. Of Feathers and Flames

4. Lamp of invisible Lights

5. Of Shrines and Sovereigns

6. The Edge of Agony

7. Divine Coagulation

8. Baal Al-Maut

9. Nerxiarx in Mahathallah

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frater.Silurian

Bandpage: http://www.enthroned.be/

 

Released: April 15th, 2014.

 

 

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