Enthroned – Cold Black Suns (Season of Mist)

Wednesday, 5th June 2019
Rating: 8/10

Always one of those bands that some revered but not a ton of people talked about, Enthroned have continued to do their thing within the black metal arena for over 25 years and now eleven albums. An impressive feat for any band to accomplish, and it does seem as if Enthroned has begun to really put all of the pieces together with their last few releases. Cold Black Suns continues that upward trajectory from Sovereigns, and pushes the band into varied and enjoyable territory.

Cold Black Suns contains a core of hyper-blasting, tremolo picking old school black metal at its finest (see the barnburner entitled “Hosanna Satana”), but isn’t content to leave it as such. Instead, a war rages over the course of the album between blazing tempos with fiery riffs and more atmospheric and bleak sections that range from proggy to doom-y to ritualistic (“Aghoria”) in nature. Often these shifts occur in the middle of the songs, such as “Smoking Mirror” and “Silent Redemption,” which emphasize these types of shifts not just to keep the music interesting but weave it all together so that there’s a continuous atmosphere that can produce both adrenaline and dread. The eeriness that permeates tracks like “Son of Man” and “Oneiros” is contagious, and the buzzsawing riffs maintain plenty of bite even when dragging one into slower segments. While many black metal bands can be deadly while their foot is on the accelerator, Enthroned prove themselves just as effective when they are stirring the pot to a gradual boil, only then unleashing a fitting whirlwind.

Certainly some of their strongest material in recent memory, Enthroned provide an experience that ebbs and flows into an experience stronger than the sum of its parts. Eerie moods, high velocity blasts, and plenty of razor-sharp riffs to keep fans coming back for more, as well as introduce a few new ones.

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