Hecate Enthroned
Embrace of the Godless Aeon

England’s Hecate Enthroned is largely known for being the band that Former Cradle of Filth bassist/vocalist Jon Kennedy formed after departing Cradle of Filth before they were huge rock stars (he actually appears on the original version of Dusk and Her Embrace, recently released as The Original sin) , and subsequently and unabashedly ripping off Cradle of Filth‘s sound (right down to Dani Filth’s screech), especially on the band’s first two full length albums, 1997s The Slaughter of Innocence: a Requiem for the Mighty, and 1998s Dark Requiems… and Unsilent Massacre. The thing is, both albums were on heavy rotation for me in the late 90s and in truth, are both pretty damn solid symphonic black metal albums in their own right.

Fast forward 20 years and 3 albums later, none of which I really heard, other than maybe a fleeting glimpse of 2004s Redimus, and half the original band is still at it after a 6 year layoff, and with album number 6, and still is surprisingly good and still sounds like Cradle of Filth, though missing Kennedy for a while now. Heck, even Sara Jezebel Diva makes an appearance!

While the Cradle of Filth rip off moniker is less relevant 20 years later due to the genre being far less fresh than is was back then, the fact is , it’s still a viable reference point all these years later. The fact it is, its still a pretty damned strong mimic, but still is darn solid stuff. Of course ,with Cradle of Filth undergoing a bit of a style shift over the years, one could argue Hecate Enthroned actually sound more like older Cradle of Filth than Cradle of Filth do now. Seriously- listen to third track “Temples that Breath” or sixth track “Enthrallment”, and tell me they could not be Cruelty and the Beast or Dusk and Her Embrace leftovers. All that is missing is Dani’s lyrical, sensual prose and prowess.

New vocalist Joe Stamps, the third vocalist in as many albums, has a Dani-ish screech and deep bellows, the keyboards of Pete White (who has been in the band since Redimus) are an epic, sweeping, majestic focal point, the guitars have bite and the bass throbs with aplomb. It’s all very unashamedly 90s sounding, almost like a black metal time capsule, which is not uprising considering half the lineup are responsible for the band’s first three albums which are actually from from the 90s, and this album hearkens right back to those, mostly the first two.

Other than the two aforementioned tracks, other standouts are the tracks where frequent  Cradle of Filth co conspirator Sara Jezebel Diva makes an appearance (she also helped out Hecate Enthroned on 2013 Virulent Rapture):  “Goddess of Dark Misfits”, “Silent Conversations With Distant Stars” and 9 minute closer “Erebus and Terror”. “Goddess….” being a more slow burning moody number, and Dive lends a nice sensual close to “Silent Conversations…..”. The massive closer, “Erebus and Terror”, is by far the bands longest, most ambitious  undertaking, and it shows, with  Diva’s alluring tones being the focus of the track early one, but the later stages dragging a bit.

Hecate Enthroned may never shake their Cradle of Filth clone tag, but they say mimicry is the highest form of flattery, and there is some serious flattery still going on, but frankly when its done this well, and with a true throwback feel, also imbuing the likes of early Old Man’s Child, Emperor and Dimmu Borgir,  I can’t help but enjoy the sound and style as I did 20 years ago.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
February 25th, 2019

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