I have been a fan of Enthroned for years. What really drew me in back in the day was the fact that in the endless seas of bland black metal. Enthroned had their own sound. They use a lot of melody, where not afraid to slow down, they used solos and they had one of the most distinctive vocalist in the entire black metal scene.
In 2006 vocalist Lord Sabathan left the band and guitarist Nornagest took over on vocals. And for me a huge part of the reason why I liked this band disappeared. And I found my interest in the band doing the same, I listened to the albums they put out, Tetra Karcist, Pentagrammaton and Obsidium. But they did not spark any interest, so it was with fairly low expectations I started listening to Sovereigns.
But I was pleasantly surprised, Sovereigns is a really cool and varied album. This is really solid stuff, and the eerie feeling is still here. And sometimes it is damn near spooky. Check out the intro to the track Feathers and flames. Absolutely epic, and then it kicks off with fast riffing and drumming, killer! And I really like how the song ends with the same spooky riff that it starts with. With this album I think Enthroned has found a very good balance and think they have found it with all aspects of the album. Harmony and disharmony is one of the aspects that first came to mind. They are using a lot of dissonant riffing which of course is nothing new in black metal but the balance between ear ripping disharmony and beautiful harmony is quit astonishing on this album. Take a listen to the part around 1 minute mark in the song The edge of agony and just rejoice in the beauty and brilliance of the interplay of the two harmonies.
Enthroned has always had a good deal of variety in their music and this album is no different. Lamp of invisible light is a prime example of this. The song meanwhile not very fast by any standard has an almost rockish quality to it, really catchy and head banging friendly. And what happens? We get an extremely beautiful ending with clean guitars and a nice melody. And just to complete the circle the next song is a real kick in the teeth of a blast fest. Holy hell this one is fast.
Moving on to the vocals, what can I say they are great, Nornagest is a great singer. Maybe it just took me a long time to get over the fact that the band changed, I don’t know. But on this album I think he is doing a fantastic job. There is a nice of mix of the classic black metal screams, more chaotic screams and spoken word parts. All in all it is great, and I think that I might have to go back and listen to the post Lord Sabathan albums again.
As with all Enthroned albums I have heard the playing is top notch and everything is tight and nice. And the same goes with the production which on Sovereigns is spot on. In is not over produced and not to raw, I think it goes hand in hand with Enthroned take on black metal, raw yet elegant. So yeah, Enthroned has really created a beats with this one, if you like them before you will like this. And if you are a black metal fan looking for something new, this will be a great addition to your collection.
Sweden`s Wilhelm Lindh*, "Portuguese by adoption," guitar player, composer and owner of the Doom / Death Metal band The Gardnerz, reviews here in HeavyHardMetalmania.net. Careful and professional analysis to the music and albums with suggestions of what there is to see and hear ... not to be missed. "The wisdom is found in the extremes, all extreme Metal here!".