Released: 2010, Regain
15 years of Metal-Rules and not a single review of the veteran Belgian Black Metal Brigade, Enthroned! I’m shocked. I can rectify that! The new album, PENTAGRAMMATON is now available and the band deserves a little attention. Enthroned are true survivors. Over the years they have perhaps struggled to find consistency. They have been on several labels (Osmose, Blackened, Napalm) and have now settled nicely onto Regain. Line-up changes have figured into the band's trajectory with the band now joining the rare (but ever-increasing) list of bands who have no original members. This has never really bothered me because at a certain point a band can become an institution and can transcend its originators. Undaunted, the band continues on and has offered us their 8th full-length studio platter.
Enthroned has slowly been evolving away from traditional Black Metal lyrics and imagery over the years especially on the past few albums. PENTAGRAMMATON sees the band continuing that path. That’s not to say they have abandoned themes of nihilism but you won’t find songs like, ‘At The Dawn Of A Funeral Winter’ anymore. They seem to be a bit more cerebral and less blatantly evil, sonically, lyrically and so on. I fear that the band's chosen path may create a split between the older, ‘truer’ fans of Black Metal and the rest. However, the more recent offerings including this one show a bit of sophistication and maturity, which can a bit of dirty word in some circles. I’m not suggesting Enthroned are going as far as Dimmu and Cradle in their evolution away from the roots, however they do have a bit more to offer.
There is a nice variety of songs, tones and atmospheres laced through the songs. Not everything is full-speed - in fact the opening of the title track is downright catchy, even with the modern type sound effects. Speed is used in effective bursts. The vocals of Nornagest (essentially the only long-standing member in the band anymore) are as good as ever, shrieks, growls, roars, his wide range and dynamic delivery has always been a favorite of mine.
PENTAGRAMMATON is not violently earth-shaking but yet another solid, high-quality Black Metal album from this band of veteran survivors. In a crowded genre, Enthroned remain among the elite with enough skill and drive to evolve and survive.