Enthroned - Pentagrammaton
Regain Records
Black Metal
11 songs (41:57)
Release year: 2010
Enthroned, Regain Records
Reviewed by Charles
When the reality of a new Enthroned release dawned on me, I must admit to being on tenterhooks as to what it could possibly sound like. After all, the dizzying progression that kept listeners guessing wildly from Prophecies of Pagan Fire through Towards the Skullthrone of Satan and on into their world fusion phase exemplified by The Apocalypse Manifesto, means that- oh sod it, only the most inadequate psychic would require a crystal ball to predict what lies in wait on Pentagrammaton. This band, despite an array of lineup changes that it would require a full-time research department to keep track of, have plugged away resolutely for an awfully long time now, producing exactly the kind of records that impress at the time but fall short of etching their sound or identity onto your consciousness in any durable sense. They are the ultimate black metal footsoldiers, diligently defending the ground they have held from day one.

Of course, I rather like this album, just as I rather like all of their other records (although my collection has a couple of gaps). Are the vocals a little bit gruffer than I recall, perhaps? Probably, given that Lord Sabathan has left since I last checked in with them on XES Haereticum. Regardless, this isn’t really a difference in any substantial sense. Their ferocious but often tuneful blasting has still all the virulent satanic attitude and charisma that you could wish for, although it’s extremely unlikely that many songs here will really stand out to any but the most devout. There are potential exceptions- most notably the epic penultimate track, Unconscious Minds, which I get the impression is intended as the album’s triumphant denouement. It is rather impressive, actually, opening with surprisingly warm ambient crackling fuzz, before a militaristic drumroll-led thud strides triumphantly in, producing for the first time the infernal pomp that Enthroned can, when at their best, muster. It’s mid-tempo, for the most part, but manages to generate a snarling, oppressive sensibility, strutting its ungodly stuff proudly.

This band really gets caught between two stools, it must be said. It’s a world away from black metal’s avant-garde, of course, but at the same time it lacks the furiousness and untamed vitriol of primitivists like Behexen, Archgoat, Horna and so forth. They run the distinct risk of being seen as a museum piece, preserving a certain classic sound in a sealed box. Nobody really needs to hear the background music in a museum about the mid-1990s. Still, if there are still a few good tunes left in there, why not, eh?

Killing Songs :
Unconscious Minds
Charles quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Enthroned that we have reviewed:
Enthroned - Cold Black Suns reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Enthroned - Obsidium reviewed by Charles and quoted 77 / 100
Enthroned - Prophecies of Pagan Fire reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Enthroned - Carnage In Worlds Beyond reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
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