Hecate Enthroned, a sextet from the town of Wrexham in northern Wales, have welcomed the start of 2019 with their new album, ‘Embrace of the Godless Aeon’.
Initially dismissed as a Cradle of Filth clone due to their similar playing style, they continued polishing their craft until – seven albums, two compilations and one EP later – their hard work spawned an inky little ball of darkness that matured into a magnificent black metal beast of its own.
‘Embrace of the Godless Aeon’ can be described with (but not limited to) two words: mature and voluminous. The album openly displays an immense improvement since their early days, bringing forward a certain understanding that comes naturally with experience. There is a diverse soundscape that ranges from full on guitar thrashing, drum-pounding assault on the ears, to shadowy elegant numbers that make you sit in awe.
One such grandiose ringer is track four “Goddess of Dark Misfits” that plays convincingly like a well-suited marriage between Dimmu Borgir and Sirenia, harping clean female vocals with the harshness of blackened symphonic metal which is as terrifying as it is beautiful.
The talented Sarah Jezebel Deva of Cradle of Filth and Therion lends her voice on three songs, adding a layer of epic sophistication to each: the aforementioned “Goddess of Dark Misfits”, “Silent Conversations with Distant Stars” and “Erebus and Terror”.
No black metal album worth its weight in brimstone would be complete without at least one track taking a scathing potshot at the church. The band chose “Temples That Breathe” as the album’s lead single, and with good reason – it’s sublime.
Song number seven (“The Shuddering Giant”) demonstrates a great deal of focus on the album; The drums run with such a tight beat that you would almost believe they are leading the guitars in a Marduk-like flurry. The latter half of the track screams early Dimmu Borgir with an ever so slight hint of Immortal, but minus the ‘elegance’ that accompanies low-fidelity sound aesthetics. What more could you want?
‘Embrace of the Godless Aeon’ slams harder than 2013’s ‘Virulent Rapture’ purely on the basis of the band members’ persistently refined musicianship and can proudly claim that it stands as one of the best, if not the best album in the band’s discography.
The album is the debut output for the Welsh band’s new label, M-Theory Audio, and showcases an earnestly ambitious effort: a tasty sound that has equal parts symphonic and melodic death elements, wrapped in a crunchy black styling.
For those with ‘too long; didn’t read’ in mind: this is the best album that Dimmu Borgir have not released in recent years. That is all you need to know in order to fully enjoy this collection of stygian hymns. Whenever you find yourself worried about the quality of extreme metal in general, give this record a spin and remind yourself that there is talent out there and the scene is in safe hands.
‘Embrace of the Godless Aeon’ hits shelves on 25 January 2019, and is distributed through M-Theory Audio.
‘Embrace of the Godless Aeon’ Track Listing:
2. Revelations in Autumn Flame
3. Temples That Breathe
4. Goddess of Dark Misfits
5. Whispers of the Mountain Ossuary
7. The Shuddering Giant
8. Silent Conversations With Distant Stars
9. Erebus and Terror
Hecate Enthroned lineup:
Joe Stamps — vocals (2015–present)
Nigel Dennen — guitar (1993–present)
Andy Milnes — guitar (1997–present)
Dylan Hughes — bass guitar (1995, 1997–present)
Pete White — keyboards (2004–present)
Gareth Hardy — drums (2012–present)
Guest vocalist (Tracks 4, 8 and 9): Sarah Jezebel Deva
- - 8/108/10