(In this post, NCS writer Andy Synn reviews the superb new album by Belgium’s Enthroned.)
I can’t quite tell you exactly why, with the advent of Obisdium, Enthroned have produced their magnum opus, a defining statement of their sound and purpose. It’s a combination of lots of little things, and a culmination of years of work and progression from a band who have always teetered on the edge of producing something great. The songs stand proudly alone, yet united as a furious horde of channelled barbarism, every instrument given prominence and power in a combination both compelling and devastating.
The lethal focus and razor-sharp intent of each and every track is like a scalpel cutting into fragile flesh, clean, quick and precise. Yet this impressive concision and precision does not preclude variety. For all its panzerfaust blasting assault on the senses, the album manages to intelligently vary its pacing and style, from a blizzard of icy tremolo picking to a more death metal stomp and grind, through to rusted, doomy funeral marches of ghastly, shrouded chords. At its fastest, the album absolutely scorches, leaving behind only blackened and gnarled bones, licked by ebon flames. At its slowest, it churns a hideous maelstrom of dragging rip-tides and claustrophobic, choking undercurrents.
For all that Obisidum represents as another salvo in the Satanic war of dominion, it does so with disarming cleverness and subtlety, easing its way under the listeners’ skins to possess them wholly and entirely. Though it never sacrifices sheer, obliterating power, it is the hidden complexities and predatory intelligence of the material’s construction that makes it the most devastating weapon of damnation in Enthroned’s 9-album strong arsenal.
The devil truly is in the details.