Released: 2014, Agonia Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Having been on the road for 21 long years and leading their native Belgium in the international black metal scene, Enthroned have returned with their tenth studio album. An album that shines out for its back-to-roots sound, emulating the classic blasts of Mayhem in their ‘De Mysteriis’ days.
SOVEREIGNS features new drummer Menthor, who sounds very much like Hellhammer on more than one track. The militant drums opening ‘Anteloquium’ set the scene for a spine chilling thrill ride. The album then takes a turn for the best on Sine Qua Non with its wall of sound. Plus, there are moments of ambience on ‘Of Feathers and Flames’ and howling winds on ‘Lamp of Invisible Light’ which made me wonder if these guys have been listening to a lot of DSBM or Dark Ambient lately.
SOVEREIGNS borders on the ambient and atmospheric in its first half but does not step over the boundaries to be classified as an experimental release.
Vocalist Nornagest expels raw guttural vocals that go from slow screams of inner pain to rants about occult worship on ‘Divine Coagulation’. Most of the sound on this release is minimal and remains true to the origins of European black metal. I was reminded of Celestial Bloodshed and Tsjuder more than once. All in all, this is an excellent showcase of a brand new line up, showing how a veteran band can still deliver bone crunching anger after two decades of touring.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of Enthroned, SOVEREIGNS will be one damn good welcoming present. Belgian black metal at its most putrid.
Review by Demitri Levantis