Enthroned - Obsidium

Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ever since Sabathan left these veteran Belgian Black Metallers in 2006, leaving behind no original members and prompting longtime guitarist Nornagest to switch from backing to lead vocals, things haven’t quite been the same. Obsidium, the group’s ninth overall full-length, and third post-Sabathan offering, is a prime example of that fact. So much so that perhaps a name change should be in order. This just isn’t the same Enthroned. First off, the production is horrible. I know it’s not the first Black Metal album to feature barely audible bass guitar, but this LP has no bottom end at all. The kick drums sound like empty 2-liter bottles. Aren’t you supposed to have the whole production thing somewhat figured out by the second decade of your recording career? Secondly, the playing in parts is messy, noisy, and rambling. Certain songs lack structure and/or vocal patterns. Speaking of the vocals, Nornagest really sucks… bad. He’s got a convulsive, gruff yell that has no place in their aesthetic. Even the songs that do have throwback elements to the old Enthroned ways —the blinding speed of “Nonus Sacramentvm,” the diabolical melodies of “Petraolevm Salvia,” or otherwise high quality Blackened anthems like “Horns Aflame” and “Deathmoor”— are desecrated by the awful vocals. I am reminded of the pure shit that Marduk has become. Not only because both bands now have these cranky-old-man-with-throat-condition-shouting vocalists, but songs like “Oblivious Shades” and “Thy Blight Vacuum” (which also features gay talking, aka: fagspeak) also hint that these guys have been listening to way too much of Marduk’s recent Post-Metal/Sludge output. I’m all for change, but only if it’s change for the better.

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