posted on 2/2008 By:
To be brutally honest, I've never found Enthroned's particular brand of black metal to be especially crucial. I understand why people dig 'em; I just happen to be of the party that finds their more recent straightforward, cleanly produced black metal to be...well, too cleanly produced and straightforward. Give me wall-scraping insanity, for hell's sake. Give me awkward, jangled fuckeduppity musicianship flitting from a bleeding tweeter. Give me spindly, hooded albino's howling at a crushing moon as they wheezily bang goats on frozen mountainsides!! Give me WEIRD black metal! Damn your eyes, give me black metal born from the ultimate goblet of delirium, or just pass me by.
At this stage in the game, I really like the idea of being challenged by this genre. I'm interested in outfits that not only push the envelope, but torture the hell out of it as well. That's what pricks this prick's ears. And envelope pushers Enthroned certainly are not. Nope, these dudes are black metal by-the-book. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but after fifteen years I sorta feel like I heard Tetra Karcist before I even heard Tetra Karcist. It's fast here, slower there, feller screaming, flailing drums, evil chant, sweet solo, flailing drums, weird screech, fast riffing, fast riffing, noodling solo, feller screaming, END - pretty much the band's M.O. since the mid-90's, give or take a bleating sheep.
Now, before you die-hards start casting stones, let me also say this: once in a blue moon I do like black metal by the book. I still spin the band's wicked debut from time-to-time, and I actually enjoyed a good portion of 2004's XES Haereticum -- a pretty solid return to a more epic sound. But this? This album is definitely missing something. This album's missing Sabathan - one of the band's founding members/bassist/vocalist. What's Enthroned without Sabathan's slightly quirky, animated rasp?? Honestly, his goblin vocals were one the last things I still held onto. Now they're gone, and apparently he's smuggled away the last bit of oomph along with it. Sadly, Tetra Karcist is rather lusterless. Apart from the fairly interesting "Through the Cortex", not much sticks to the ribs this time around. They've tried to darken things a bit more by adding measured doses of chanting and a bit of Latin, but those small effects simply don't save this record from sounding like a paint-by-numbers evil black metal record stamped out of a big machine. And I suppose that's the bottom line here -- even those who normally turn to Enthroned for a more straightforward representation of the genre will likely be disappointed with this outing. Tetra Karcist doesn't give fans a whole hell of a lot to grab onto, so I'd recommend you focus your hard-earned cash elsewhere.
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