1999, Blackend Records
Blasting hyperspeed chaotic black metal is what we have on this album. Every review I've ever read of Enthroned has started off with the disclaimer 'not the most original of the black metal bands', so I'll follow that tradition and say here that if you come to this album expecting anything except straight traditional black metal in the vein of Marduk, Dark Funeral, etc. you will be disappointed. Enthroned don't really have the tools to set themselves apart from all the other bands playing this type of music, and their only hope seems to be to up the ante by increasing the speed, brutality, etc. This album is very fast, and the drums are constantly clicking at a 1000 mph throughout the songs, sounding at times like a machine because of the production. Is that a good thing? Not really, a little more varied rhythm work would have been appreciated and increased the catchiness of the songs measurably. But I guess this isn't about being 'catchy'.
What I DO like about this album is the vocals and the insanely hilarious lyrics. You have to feel a sort of sad affection for a band that has the innocence to write strictly about Satan, sodomy, bloodlust, etc. in this day and age, and while the lyrics are not the most original (or even grammatically correct) they are fun to try to sing along to. The vocalist Lord Dominus sounds like a croaking troll with Tourette's syndrome, filling the songs with his spewing venom, screaming almost constantly. His high barking reminds me a lot of Gorgoroth's past vocalists.
There is also a lot of solo work on this album, which (come to think of it) is something of a rarity in the black metal genre. The solos are not particularly striking or inspired, but they do subtract from the overall monotony of the songs. A few of them are actually almost evocative.
So what is there to say about Enthroned? I will keep this album in my collection, because it is a good example of where the second-tier black metal bands were in 1999 after the shakedown caused by Dimmu Borgir's success, but I still feel that most of their best work is in the past. Check out their earlier album 'Prophecies of Pagan Fire' on Osmose for a work that is a little more original.