April 9, 2013

Enthroned - Obsidium

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Prolific Belgian black metal band Enthroned have been active since 1993. Obsidium is their ninth studio album, in addition to EPs and a live CD; it is also their first with Agonia records, after recently parting ways with Regain. The black metal here is as spiky and strident as an ill-tempered demon. The vast majority of the record blazes ahead at an extremely fast pace, only rarely pulling back to a mid-tempo grind to gather momentum and explore some crawling, ominous tones before galloping off again.

Enthroned have developed a good, slightly raw, underground sound, with just enough of a filthy buzz around the edges of the guitar. There were also thought and care placed into Obsidium's production, giving the vocals a great, undead-sounding rattle and the drums an icicle-shaking chill. The record is filled with complex, memorable songs that draw their strength from a very natural flow and narrative progression. Each song is a distinct musical entity, from the swelling conjuration of "Horns Aflame" to the mournful, eerie "Oblivious Shades."

Obsidium is a work of black metal that values good songwriting and strong musical structures, but resists the impulse to add any heavily melodic, symphonic or experimental elements. Instead, Enthroned have chosen to focus on the best that black metal inherently has to offer, with excellent results.

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