Jun 082010

I’ve confessed before that I’m a relative newcomer to the charms of black metal, though I’ve found a lot to like and we’ve written about black-metal releases pretty frequently at this site. When I received a copy of the new release by Enthroned, I decided I really needed to listen to it carefully.

Why? Partly because (with some lineup changes) this Belgian band has been around for 17 years and partly because Enthroned has announced their first U.S. tour in almost a decade — and one of the stops is at our home base of Seattle. (We’ve got the full list of tour dates after the jump.)

So, I’ve been listening to Pentagrammaton — the band’s ninth studio album — and it continues to reverberate in my head even when I’m not consciously thinking about it.  It has become one of my favorite black-metal releases of the year.  I’ll try to explain why, and maybe that will help you decide whether it’s worth checking out.

The first thing that struck me was the production style. Now, to put this in context, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of death metal with “modern” production values — sharp, clear, and with an emphasis in the mix on a powerful low-end, with prominent drums, bass, and hammering rhythm guitar riffage.

Pentagrammaton is a different breed of cat. The production yields a fusion of the instruments in a shifting wall of sound, with a deemphasis on the low end of the register. The bass segment of the sonic spectrum is almost non-existent in every respect. Even in the drumming — which by the way is insanely pyrotechical — the heavy sound of the kick drums and toms are dialed into the background of the mix. Most of the time they sound like the muffled thunder of a distant storm.  (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .) Continue reading »