Sunday, May 4, 2014

Erebus Enthroned

Erebus Enthroned - Temple Under Hell
Seance Records, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Sorathick Pentecost
2. Trisagion
3. Crucible of Vitriol
4. Black Sword
5. Void Wind
6. The Temple Under Hell
7. Return

Beautiful. That's the first thing that comes to mind when I put this album on. It doesn't matter that my notion of beauty is a twisted and destructive variation on what people typically think of. Needless to say, after hearing the split with Blaze of Perdition, I was highly anticipating this release. The artwork alone is eye catching enough to draw a listener in. When I saw the pre-orders hit on Seance Records, I immediately place my order. Based on the cover, I sort of expected a well made booklet and Erebus Enthroned do not disappoint. The layout is quite wonderful and gives the listener all the lyrics with some additional art as well.

Erebus Enthroned have always had a sound rooted in the Watain methods, and I'm just going to say this now. "Temple Under Hell" is the album people wish Watain would have released someday. Erebus Enthroned take that core sound and advance it even further, casting it into even darker tones and far more vicious passages than you would even expect. The tracks on the songs are actually quite long for the most part, but strangely I never felt like anything really dragged too long. I actually walked away feeling that each riff was played an appropriate amount of time. I think if things went any longer then they would have pushed their luck with the solid riffs. It's quite refreshing to hear Erebus Enthroned push themselves further, rather than just sticking with one approach. They would still have solid riffs, but it wouldn't feel like anything different. While "Temple Under Hell" is heavily rooted in Black Metal that has come before, I feel that Erebus Enthroned are writing in their own fashion and really just being influenced by prior bands, rather than just assimilating a collection of riffs that have basically already existed.

One of the real stand out aspect of this album is N's vocal performance. This really launches the album into higher realms for me. To marry such exquisite riffing with a wonderfully dynamic vocal performance really ups the ante on an album for me. This is usually why I really like the material Arioch produces in his projects. N's vocals, while not on the same level, he does have a great range and he really knows how to lay the lyrics out in a song. There are many bands that just have the vocalist, basically, "talk" over the guitar lines, but Erebus Enthroned really think about where the vocals will appear in a riff and try to present them to the maximum effect.

While I can see many reviewers sort of casting this as extremely well made, but "nothing new to Black Metal", I say that given how well this is written makes up for that. If I listen to an album and I can easily see myself listening to it again in a few years, then I think it's more than just a meaningless addition to the genre. I think Erebus Enthroned has more to offer than that assessment and I think many Black Metal fans out there would highly appreciate the effort and care Erebus Enthroned have put into their craft.

Erebus Enthroned & Blaze of Perdition - Accession of Fire
Pagan Records, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

Erebus Enthroned:
1. Deathless Sin
Blaze of Perdition:
2. The Night of Nights

Side Blaze of Perdition: ...coming eventually...
Side Erebus Enthroned:

When I saw this 10" hit the Pagan Records "upcoming release" list, I immediately put in an order for it. As any of my friends know, I am quite a fan of Blaze of Perdition and I was hoping they would do a split with a solid band. What I got was totally unexpected. This was my first experience with the mighty Erebus Enthroned and shortly after hearing this one song, I was ordering the rest of their discography! Unfortunately, I was only getting one song here... I really needed more.

As I have been discussing with the prior Erebus Enthroned albums, I figured it was a matter of time before they broke with the more blatant Watain-ish worship and here we see their first deviations from that style. "Deathless Sin" is a very welcome change and progression of the Erebus Enthroned sound. I think they're really starting to blend some Ondskapt influence into the sound, because it has a far more haunting feel during many sections. Just opening with that haunting guitar line and chanted section is enough to send chills down your spine. In the end, this is an incredible new direction for Erebus Enthroned. It's been a couple years since they've released anything new, so hopefully a new full-length will be imminent. If it's anything like "Deathless Sin" it will truly be a monster of an album. This is a highly recommended split!

Erebus Enthroned - Night's Black Angel
Seance Records, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Enthroning the Harbinger of Death
2. Pillar of Fallen Flesh
3. Nil (Solve Non Coagula)
4. Horns of Severity
5. Blackwinged
6. Virus
7. Zealotry in Death
8. Temple of Dispersion
9. Night's Black Angel

After the strength of the material found on the split I am not surprised a full-length was next in line for Erebus Enthroned's future. Freshly signed to Seance Records, I was excited to hear this album in full, beyond the samples I heard online. Well Erebus Enthroned didn't really disappoint and perhaps I am biased, because I really do quite enjoy this style of Black Metal a lot, so perhaps I am a little less critical than I should be.

Erebus Enthroned continue to travel down the path of Swedish Black Metal and conjuring similarities to bands like Dissection with a slight infusion of Death Metal in their sound from time to time. I can hear peoples complaints of a Watain rip-off on this album a lot more, and albums like "Casus Luciferi" seem to have a stronger presence this time around for Erebus Enthroned, however, I think they fall more towards a Dissection feel. Some of the chord structuring is distinctly reminiscent of Immortal though, so I think there is a decent dose of variation on this album to give it a strange place in the realms of Black Metal. I do tend to agree with other critics that this material lacks any kind of real originality or voice of it's own. Instead Erebus Enthroned is falling back on their ability to write good riffs, but arranged and molded from material we've all heard before. Sometimes a unique blend in styles is enough to give a band its own presence, but Erebus Enthroned seem so trapped in Sweden that there's no way out of the style for them at times.

Even though a lot of that sounds very harsh, I say all this because I hear a lot of potential in this project. They write great riffs, have solid arrangements, and have art and lyrics I quite enjoy... I just think "wow, this band would be a top tier group if they could somehow distill their influences down to something a little more unique." Now, I'm not looking for Black Metal to be redefined or anything that crazy, but they can draw from so many sources I think they could produce something truly stunning in the future.

I really do think it's a question of "when" and not "if" for Erebus Enthroned to produce a seminal work that makes the world turn to them.  I just hope they can survive the "fame" and not go the way of "Watain", which has lead to a lot of their original fanbase being entirely disinterested in their later works. I genuinely love the atmosphere "Night's Black Angel" is establishing amidst the cold and hateful style... now let's harness that style even more. I think this is a solid debut release, overall, and I think I will enjoy listening to this more than once.

Erebus Enthroned & Nekros Manteia - Spiritual Deconstruction
Self-Released, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

Erebus Enthroned:
1. Worldly Wounds
2. Rebirth of the Plague
3. Angelus Pestilentia
4. Spirit Arason
Nekros Manteia:
5. Slowly it Stains, the Foul Dye of Madness and Illumination
6. Spiritual Deconstruction
7. Skin Temples Inked in Obscurity (Rehearsal)
8. The Shining Pearl of Sadism (Rehearsal)

Nekros Manteia: ...coming eventually...
Erebus Enthroned:

After a year Erebus Enthroned return with some new material and a re-recording of a song from "Divine Legions of Satan". I think this is in recognition that the demo was a weak recording for the type of art they are truly able to bring to the world. What a difference a year makes though, the writing is easily much stronger than anything from the demo and the new studio quality really lets the material shine through so much better.

I think Erebus Enthroned's song writing has basically matured over night. For the most part they've really managed to harness the core of their sound. It's not terribly original work, but it still sounds very solid and the riffs are well written at least. The groovier riff in "Wordly Wounds" sounds like something I've definitely heard before... but I can't place where I've heard it. If I figure it out I'll come back and update this section. I actually see a lot of complaints about this band and how they are just a blend of Watain and Marduk, but I'm not sure that's entirely an accurate description of their sound. Their sound is heavily rooted in the Swedish vein, for sure, but I think they draw more from bands like Ondskapt, Malign, Funeral Mist and so on. The popular Swedish groups are, no doubt, an influence in some regards, but I do not thing Erebus Enthroned is trying to be them. Furthermore, I think their music can come across as more disturbing than usual as in "Angelus Pestilentia", which makes me think of a distinctly French approach to Black Metal. I also think "Angelus Pestilentia" is basically a re-thinking of the song "Nocturne Pestilentia" from the demo. "Angelus Pestilentia" is absolutely brilliant and probably one of the best songs on this split.

In the end I am much more interested in seeing what Erebus Enthroned has for us in the future. I think they have a lot of solid ideas brewing and I'd love to see the band grow into their own sound in the future. They clearly have the songwriting skillset, now they just need to harness the blend of bands they like into a more unique style. This could take a while, but that's part of being a new band when you've got over fifteen years of background music and influence to account for!

Erebus Enthroned - Divine Legions of Satan
Self-Released, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Thus Spake Chaos
2. Tyrants, in His Glory
3. Divine Legions of Satan
4. Ascent from Everlasting Flames
5. Nocturne Pestilentia
6. Rebirth of the Plague

I consider myself lucky enough to have actually gotten a physical copy of this. A user on discogs saw my praises for Erebus Enthroned and upon noticing that I didn't have the demo offered to send me a CDr copy. This is one of the major reasons the underground scene can be truly wonderful. Since I love doing discography reviews, he felt this band absolutely needed to have their catalog done justice and I will do my best to make that happen.

I often wondered where Erebus Enthroned got their start and I wasn't sure how primitive "Divine Legions of Satan" would turn out to be. Sometimes modern bands start off on a really strong note, because all the early evolution bands go through is just never released. Instead they immediately start off with truly strong piece of art. I wouldn't say that's the case for "Divine Legions of Satan". The recording quality isn't the best, as one would expect with self-recorded demos. However, the riffing quality is fairly good for a debut effort, albeit it is material we have all heard before. I would definitely be interested in seeing where the group goes on future releases because it sounds like they have a strong foundation in the writing section.

In the end I feel that "Divine Legions of Satan" is rooted fairly heavily in the Swedish sound of Black Metal blending the more occult and haunting styles with the vicious and fast paced styles. Erebus Enthroned seems to offer a lot across the spectrum, so we'll see where they trend towards in the future.

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