Enthroned
Tetra Karcist

Ancient Rites has been a favorite of mine for a very long time and I have Gunther and friends to thank for introducing me to country mates Enthroned. I, of course, picked up the Ancient Rites/ Enthroned split back in 1994, having never heard of Enthroned. They have been a mainstay in my cd changer ever since, and, like Ancient Rites, are one of the few long standing bands that can claim to always be better today than they were yesterday.

Bands that have been around as long as Enthroned have usually become a parody of themselves, moved so far afield musically as to be unrecognizable or gone through long dry spells before resurgence. Enthroned has done none of that, with a steady stream of quality releases and a constant live presence they have always blazed forward. They have not softened their approach, in lyrics or music, or migrated toward a more appealing sound. They display more consistency than Marduk, more tenaciousness than Emperor, more longevity than Immortal, more creativity than Mayhem, yet they are suspiciously absent from most discussions of seminal black metal bands. If you do not crucify people on stage, commit murder or arson, or bite the head off a bat you have to get your notoriety the old way, through dedication to your craft. What constitutes a better band, one Reign in Blood, or a steady stream of South of Heavens? Whether you think of Enthroned as a second tier band that never quite gets it right or as that other great Belgian band, it is time to recognize their place in history.

If none of this has told you what Tetra Karcist sounds like I guess I have not been clear. It sounds like Enthroned, a bit like a XES Pagan Manifesto, gather all the bits and you have Enthroned. Only one important question remains; have they weathered the potentially crippling loss of thirteen-year veteran vocalist Sabathan? Having longtime guitarist Nornagest take over does work well and it is not like Candlemass without Messiah, it will take some getting used to but should work out fine in the end. Candlemass, on the other hand, will be in a wheelchair from here on out. I have always thought of Enthroned as what Kreator would have become if they went black metal, and Sabathan’s voice was a large part of that feeling.

Favorites on this disc include “Vermin” with a virtuoso instrumental ending and vintage Enthroned for the preceding six minutes, and “Through the Cortex,” from it’s cold wind intro, a nod to Prophecies, fast pacing and quality riffs to the excellent backing vocals, far superior to the backing vocals on “Seven Plagues.” Melodic moments and atmospheric flourishes abound, as usual, making this, their seventh their best yet. And, as a bonus, former drummer Alsvid returned for the studio recordings.

One minor thing that bothered me is the block lettering over the top of the logo. We all recognize the logo, we don’t need it obscured. I have never been a fan of bands abandoning their logos in favor of legible script.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
December 17th, 2007

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