Enthroned - Obsidium
Agonia Records
Black Metal
9 songs (40:17)
Release year: 2012
Enthroned, Agonia Records
Reviewed by Charles
Enthroned continue, with the same lineup as on 2010’s Pentagrammaton- a record I admit I was a little bit snobbish about at the time. True, the band can indeed best be described as “meat-and-potatoes” black metal, but these potatoes have a bitter taste indeed, and the meat has obviously been spitefully cleaved from a particularly wrathful cow. Despite (or, more likely, because of) its unwavering orthodoxy, the album has the same two key strengths that characterise most of their work- the band’s melodic inclinations make it accessible and entertaining to listen to, and the riffing bends skilfully between manic energy and a down-tempo grandiosity. So while it is not surprising that Obsidium treads a similar path, neither is it a cause of unbridled despair and gnashing of teeth. That is, unless you are one of the pathetic few who has not bowed to his infernal majesty, Satan! But that doesn’t apply to any of you guys, I’m sure.

There are moments here that strike me as a bit unusual- like the droning, abstract tonalities that open second track Nonus Sacramentvm- Obsidium, which remind me of Ash Borer.A cursory think-through of the implications, however, reveals how preposterous the idea of Enthroned going all West Coast USBM is. And indeed, the track’s diversion into classic choral “ooh-ing” and Satanic yowling make it fully clear that the likeness is either illusory or coincidental. No, the band’s purist approach endures unshaken, and those two abovementioned strengths- grasp of melody, and the varied dynamism of the riffing- are in evident abundance. Deathmoor, for example, skips adeptly between a head-nodding rhythm guitar hook and slavering blastbeats, before once again breaking down into one of those quieter mid-tempo melodic sections replete with militaristic rhythms and synthed choirs that permeate each Enthroned release. The Final Architect and Petraolevm Salva are a powerful expressions of the band’s raison d’etre- swooping black metal blasts given fiery character by taut melody.

Cunningly, Obsidium’s best moment is saved until the very end. The Blight Vacuum is massive, and is probably the most impressed I’ve ever been by an Enthroned track. It opens with a clanking slow groove, overlaid with mad Satanic ranting, before segueing into an eruption of thunderous blasting characterised by twisting accelerations and decelerations. Whilst hardly Dodecahedron, it is nonetheless a creative and complex piece of music that reminds us that it is unfair to say Enthroned never experiment. Welcome back to Hellgium!

Killing Songs :
The Blight Vacuum, Petraolevm Salva, Nonus Sacramentum- Obsidium
Charles quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Enthroned that we have reviewed:
Enthroned - Pentagrammaton reviewed by Charles and quoted 70 / 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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