With Belgian Black Metal-veterans Enthroned’s release of their new album “Cold Black Suns”, their eleventh full length album since the debut in 1995, the always actual question if changes ever mean anything good is risen. Me myself is admittedly quite conservative and seldom appreciate that a band deviate to far from their once chosen road while others may say that a bands development is the driving force in making new and interesting music. I guess there isn’t any text book answer to the question but at least we probably can agree that Enthroned on ”Cold Black Suns” sound nothing like the pure primitive Black Metal they presented on their debut, ”Prophecies of Pagan fire”, continuing some albums into their career, although the change hardly wasn’t over a night.
I get the impression that Enthroned of 2019 tries to pick the raisins from the cake, delivering a quite diverse album with a slightly chaotic, mystic and religious Black metal-feel, but in my opinion they doesn’t quite succeed.
All in all you could say that the album consists of two parts, the ritualistic, epic part and the furious aggressive part, where most of the songs mix the two elements starting of on a more ritualistic note and ending the songs in aggression, a pattern you can find in most of the songs apart from the two first numbers, ”Ophiusa” and ”Hosanna Satana” where the first tune gives the sense of a pure esoteric ritual and the other is clinical aggression.
On paper, the concept of mixing the ritualistic and aggressive should give you a pretty nice witch broth, hinting to the popular ”Orthodox” Black Metal-scene, with some grains of Behemoth-escue crushing and some grains Mayhemic madness ala Mayhem ano “Ordo ad Chao” but somewhere along the way, Enthroned, somewhat get lost. Although the mystic ritual parts doesn’t necessary sound bad, but sometimes a bit to monotonous and almost industrial, they never catch my interest. It feels like it’s to much of the same thing and I must admit that I find it hard to believe that you wont get tired of them after a while.
The aggressive parts sure blast away from time to time but even if they often consist of a cacophony of different things going on at the same time, they sound strangely blank and when Enthroned actually makes something different, like in the beginning of ”Silent Redemption” it mostly sound like watered down and quite awful ”Pop Metal” to me.
Of course, “Cold Black Suns” isn’t an all bad album, there are some interesting parts and the concluding song, ”Son of Man” is actually a really tasty bit, succeeding in mixing the epic parts with the aggressive stuff in a way I think the whole album was intended to do but in the bitter end, Enthroned of 2019 isn’t my cup of tea, but maybe that’s just me, being far to conservative?
Title: Cold Black Suns
Label: Season of Mist
Date of release: 7/6-19
Playing time: 48:31
Stand out track: Son of Man