Progressive technical black metal? Umm…Yes! I’ll try one of those, thanks. Yep, the symphonic 2nd wave combo meal. Weedlies and deedlies? Really? Sure, throw some of them on the side, but not too much cheese, thanks. I’ll take a glass of some sweet sweet Phrygian to wash it down too, why not! May as well treat myself. On their debut full-length Priests Of Annihilation, South Carolina’s 3-piece Enthean offer up a veritable buffet of guitar riffs, runs and solos, backed up by a strong drumming performance and a synth score that would befit any Emperor album. Feast upon the pre-release track “Dysthanasia” below.
The majority of its tracks clock in at over 5 minutes and show astute penmanship. There simply aren’t many bands that manage to cram this many riffs into songs of this length without it becoming a bit messy or excessive. It truly is a fine line to straddle between seeking to make an impact on your audience without creating something that feels overblown. One of the album highlights, “Before You, I Am” is just over 7 minutes of sprawling metal splendour. The interplay between the guitars and the drums is a nuanced display of craftsmanship. With shredding over half-time drumming, and vice versa in the very next stanza there is always something to catch your attention. Another is the penultimate track “Bring Forth The Raven”. It has everything. From the opening cinematic segue from prior track “Behold The Primordial”, it ushers in a set of sprawling riffs replete with sweeps, crazy artificial harmonics that recall the squeal-crusade that Ihsahn went on post-Nightside Eclipse, octave slides and a ballsy attempt at one of the big-bending blues solos that Dave Davidson favours to cap off Revocation albums. Which leads us into the final track Invalesc de Profundis,” starting with a brief classical intro that is straight from the mid-90’s black metal textbook that bands such as Dissection and Lord Belial authored, before going through a series of metamorphoses that take you on a rambling journey through landscapes of both stunning beauty and pronounced treachery. The stuff that makes you wish you wore steel-capped boots at home because your jaw suddenly weighs more than the rest of your entire body.
The production here is certainly on the crisp side but isn’t necessarily what you’d consider sterile. Unlike a large proportion of tech-releases, the percussion doesn’t remind me of the incessant clicking of the chirping crickets I feed upon, so that’s a tick in the plus column in my books. Interestingly, the vocals combine a couple of styles I’m not familiar with hearing side by side. Those of your modern day melodic black metal artists coupled with some more roaring growls you’d expect to hear on a contemporary tech/death metal release. There are also some choral parts to accompany some of the synth work. This ability to incorporate a range of vocal styles is no doubt attributed to the band having 2 out of the 3 members listed as performing vocal duties. Looks like they’ll be getting a touring bass player to fill in the gap for live shows (if they haven’t already), because I’ll be fucked if these guys don’t get asked to hit the road as soon as this titan of an album drops.
While there is a lot to take in throughout the 8-tracks, Priests Of Annihilation doesn’t seem to outstay its welcome. If you like tech-death, symphonic black metal or just want to hear something progressive and as tight as scrotum-skin dipped in the Southern Ocean, Enthean have what you need and more. Priests Of Annihilation releases on the 20th of May; in the mean time you can pre-order the album here or head over to their Facebook to show the band some support and tell them the Toilet sent you. (– Lacertilian)
To tide you over until you can pick up your copy of Enthean, the tireless toilet hero Spear has some news to keep you all occupied.
- Atlantis Chronicles (pioneers of deep-sea-purple-shit metal) have premiered a video for “Upwelling – Part I” from their new album, Barton’s Odyssey. If bouncy riffs and tapped arpeggios are your thing, this will be right up your alley.
- Aborted have two new songs for your listening pleasure. You can check out “Divine Impediment” (featuring the illustrious Travis Ryan) here and “Bit By Bit” right here. Both will appear on Retrogore, out on April 22nd.
- If you’ve ever wondered how Fallujah make their spacey wizard noises, take a look at this playthrough for “The Void Alone.” Dreamless is out on April 29th.
#StayText (You asked for it Spear!)