Enthroned - Prophecies of Pagan Fire
Osmose Productions
Black Metal
10 songs (54:04)
Release year: 1995
Enthroned, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
An ever-changing lineup (the band is currently comprised of no original members) but barely-changing sound, Belgium’s Enthroned have been a worthy presence on the European black metal scene without ever setting it alight. They are highly competent purveyors of an orthodox whirlwind black metal, with consistently well-conceived riffs and malevolent energy.

This is the debut, Prophecies of Pagan Fire, from 1995. It stands up well, based on a savagely fast blasting sound, although one which is not as raw and abrasive as today’s back-to-basics bands. This is the era of early Emperor, and Enthroned fit right alongside that band as rejectors of pure primitivism. Instead, the extravagant embrace of the occult and Satanism on this album is complemented by frequent forays into imposing melody which is not as orchestrally sophisticated as that on Anthems to the Welkin, for example, but frequently as effective. Take the luxurious synths towards the end of Scared by Darkwinds, rumbling beneath a glowering guitar solo, or the regal lead fanfare that interrupts the menacing tremolo blast of Deny the Book of Lies. The balance between intensity and melody is really nailed here.

Some fine riffs and well-constructed arrangements also elevate the album. They handle longer tracks well, as with At the Dawn of a Funeral Winter, which sees murkily powerful rhythms drawn into twists and climaxes by instrumentation changes (such as the addition of a piano and the classic church organ parping). The closing epic, As the Wolves Howl Again, is another highlight, both violent and atmospheric. The drumming is relentlessly energetic, and deserves mention given that Cerunnos committed suicide before the recording of this album’s follow-up, Towards the Skullthrone of Satan.

Enthroned is hardly the best-known of black metal bands but their material is well worth revisiting. Prophecies of Pagan Fire is a fine album, packing very few surprises but showing a mastery of a medium we all know well.

Killing Songs :
Deny the Holy Book of Lies, As the Wolves Howl Again
Charles quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Enthroned that we have reviewed:
Enthroned - Obsidium reviewed by Charles and quoted 77 / 100
Enthroned - Pentagrammaton reviewed by Charles and quoted 70 / 100
Enthroned - Carnage In Worlds Beyond reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
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