Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Album Review: "Priests of Annihilation" by Enthean

Priests of Annihilation
Sometimes you can judge an album by its cover.  The first thing I noticed about Enthean’s debut album “Priests of Annihilation” is the spectacular cover art by Marco Hasmann, which depicts some sort of high priest and his minions orchestrating a hurricane composed of tortured souls.  

It is striking, bombastic and a perfect introduction to the music contained therein.   All eight tracks are a relentless assault of symphonic black metal, fueled by the driving riffs which are a hallmark of technical death metal.  With intricate musicianship reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir, 

Immortal and Emperor and a lyrical focus on epic mythology one could guess this band hails from Scandinavia.   However, these masters of the European sound are actually from South Carolina, further serving as proof the United States can compete with the old world masters in the black metal genre.

While the foreground features soulful fretboard defying scale runs the background hums with rhythmic orchestrations which then segue into violent passages of tremolo picking and blast beats.  The result is an album which  manages to be both melodic and atmospheric at the same time, adding a distinctly American sound to a northern European canvas.  

Several listens are necessary to  appreciate all the elements present throughout this album.

A highlight of the album is “Dysthnasia” which weaves in and out of so many segments and  incredible riffs, I couldn’t help but wish each one could have been isolated, turned into its own song, and an entirely new second album built.

The final track “Invalesc de Profundis” was also especially epic, exploring several different styles and techniques, many of which are not found elsewhere on the album, showcasing the versatility of guitarists Adam Broome and Brian Kingsland as well as the relentless precision drumming of Mitch Moore.  

Bass duties on this song, as well as three others on the album, are split between Kingsland and guest musician Adam Mast.   

The arrangements allow windows for the bass line to shine through and be a featured element at various times throughout the album.  This is especially true in a bridge section on “Invalesc de Profundis”.

Although several weeks remain until the May 20, 2016 release date, the band is accepting preorders at this time, and I recommend supporting this powerful new band.  

I had already listened to the album several times and typed up this review before I bothered to look up the meaning of the band name. While admiring this new sound built on traditional extreme metal elements  I struggled to find the right word to explain the vision and direction of this band.  Then I looked up Enthean. It means ,"animated with the zeal and energy which the belief in some divine mission or enterprise inspires".  Perfect.  I could not have chosen a better word. 

Release: 5/20/16
Genre: Black Metal/Technical Death Metal 
Label: Self Released

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