Published Apr 18, 2014Belgian black metal stalwarts Enthroned occupy a nebulous, liminal kind of space when it comes to their identity; the four-piece has had over a dozen members cycle in and out of their ranks over the years, and as of 2006, not a single original member remains (Enthroned was founded in 1993). Yet somehow they have always managed to be more than the sum of their parts, keeping a consistent and unified aesthetic that is at once deliciously abrasive and intensely accessible.
On Sovereigns, their tenth studio record, they achieve a great balance between the innate alienation present in the gelid guitar tone and sepulchral vocals that are core components of the black metal aesthetic, not to mention genuinely compelling melodies. "Of Feathers and Flames" seems to reach out and draw the listener in with the insistent, swelling guitars and "Divine Coagulation" has a great push-pull rhythm that gets lodged in your head.
While they avoid any association with symphonic black metal, there is an undeniable catchiness to their song structures and an accessibility to their treatment of this usually impenetrable genre that makes Sovereigns a great record for anyone interested in dipping a toe in the tr00 and kvlt end of the pool. (Agonia)