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A Journey Through The Nine Circles Of Hell - 98%

VinterNatt1785, November 28th, 2011

Ah, the strife I went through to actually get my hands on a copy of this album when I first got into black metal at the beginning of this decade. Ordering it and not coming through, then on back order and again ordering it and finally coming through to my dealer who accidentally sold my copy to another customer, then to finally arriving again and it did not end in vain the third time. Carpathian Forest's "Defending The Throne Of Evil" is truly an evil, dark, and immensely entertaining release and is probably their best to date. All of their previous work has finally led up to this point, their high point, with two Nattefrost solo albums on the side to boot (which really have nothing to do with Carpathian Forest at all). The cover art appears to be four goat heads at each corner of the CF logo with a forest in the background, a mausoleum on the tray with the words "Spill The Blood" and "Carpathian Forest Wants You Dead!!" on the side tray, and the Carpathian Forest ten commandments in the center of the booklet to let you know who's in charge here. Twelve songs clocking in at fifty one minutes and not one stale track, along with Terje Refsnes' killer clear production which works great here and makes "Defending The Throne Of Evil" an exception among third wave modern black metal releases.

"It's Darker Than You Think" starts off with a creepy symphonic introduction with the violin strings crying tears of blood to an ambush of TNBM blasting you straight out of your skin. "Skjend Hans Lik" contains badass riff after badass riff to only stop in the middle to blow you off your chair again while "The Well Of All Human Tears", my second favorite song here, is an absolute headbanging masterpiece of sorrow and torture that draws you in with its layers of ultimate brutality. "Put To Sleep Like A Sick Animal" is a straight forward hellish tune with no compromise and a violent onslaught of paranormal musicianship. "Hymne Til Doden" is dedicated to the one who carries a sickle and is a slaughterhouse symphony of vile hate while "One With The Earth" is my favorite song on "Defending The Throne Of Evil" and is by far the shortest, most straight to the point track ever created by Carpathian Forest besides "Carpathian Forest" on "Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods" and "Morbid Fascination Of Death". You must hear this for yourself to fully encompass and enjoy the sheer genius of it.

The other songs on here are good as well and not boring in the least. The one song I have not spoken of but I will mention is "Cold Murderous Music", a truly grimy, filthy, and morbid piece. Motorsen again appears with his tenor saxophone, destroying all doubters by creating a strangely cold trip-hop track along with Nattefrost's vocals beckoning the listener to commit suicide in several different uniquely fun ways. The guitars, bass, and drums on "Defending The Throne Of Evil" are the best yet out of the whole Carpathian Forest discography. Nattefrost's vocals are at their most misanthropic and vicious while the synth and keyboards on here are fresh, intriguing, always surprising, and never leaves you hanging.

"Defending The Throne Of Evil" is my favorite Carpathian Forest release next to "Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods", though I cannot compare the two as both are very, very different from each other. The one thing I will say is "Defending The Throne..." will leave your neck aching more. Even to you metalheads who don't headbang, you cannot but help it here whilst "Through Chasm..." will have you contemplating whether your life is worth living in all its claustrophobic glory. If you enjoy "The Divine Comedy" and want more visuals to go with Dante and Virgil's exploration, then you will love this album. If you love hating human existence, wish to eradicate Judeo Christianity, and are a bitter person, then this is your ticket to Hell, and if you're like me and need to own every single album in a band's discography, then you probably own this already and I have to say no more. An excellent, enjoyable, and vibrant listen to accompany your journey to the underworld.

It's Darker Than You Think - 85%

PKendall317, July 12th, 2011

Defending the Throne of Evil is a dark album that makes me think of the cold, and sometimes unbearable Indiana winters whenever I listen to it. It's as if the band is bringing the frigid arctic temperatures of their native Norway not just into my house, but into my soul as well, and for the next 51 minutes, anybody who listens to it will feel it too.

Nattefrost's vocals, although monotonous throughout, add to the cold, dark atmosphere the album creates. My one problem with Nattefrost is that his vocal range is not very diverse. He stays at the same tone throughout the entire album, never going any higher or lower with his voice, or at least, not very much. But on the other hand, other black metal vocalists from bands like 1349, Darkthrone, or Setherial for example don't appear to change their pitch much either.

The string section is excellent and very dark sounding, and I almost want to say they have slightly more of a death metal influence than other black metal bands. Imagine listening to Darkthrone's album, "A Blaze in the Northern Sky," and that should give you a good idea of what Carpathian Forest's guitars sound like. The key difference between the two, and somewhat unusual and pure blasphemy to black metal purists is the synths in the background.

Throughout "Defending the Throne of Evil" keyboards and synths can be heard. Not in an upfront, obvious way in bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Vesania, or Old Man's Child, but in a much subtler manner. They're in the background, the emphasis is put on the vocal's, guitars, and drums, while the keyboard simply serves to add a cold, dark aura to the entire sound of the band. However they do become much more obvious on the tenth track, "The Old House on the Hill," where there up front for all to see.

Tracks like "It's Darker Than You Think," "Skjend Hans Lik," "Ancient Spirit of the Underworld," are some of the highlights and are among my favorite Carpathian Forest songs and my favorite black metal songs. In my opinion, Defending the Throne of Evil is Carpathian Forest's best albums of the ones that I own and have heard.

Still cursed, haunted and alone - 90%

autothrall, March 16th, 2010

Carpathian Forest has always stood out among the Norse black metal scene because of their uncanny self awareness. There is of course their propensity to create some of the coldest, most evil black metal ever to grind its bones and saunter forth from a crypt or cavern, but you get the feeling that just about everything you find amusing about them, they'd be laughing alongside you with a beer and a grim smile. And yet, somehow, they avoid becoming a caricature of the form.

Regardless, this is an extremely impressive band, releasing masterpiece after near masterpiece. Defending the Throne of Evil is their fourth long-player, and no exception to the dynasty. There are some songs here which I have not stopped listening to in the five years since the album dropped. "The Well of All Human Tears" is not only one of the best song titles ever in this genre, but it's also one of the best songs, with that doom laden trudge towards oblivion kicking off at around the 1:00 minute mark. Yes, you know the one I'm talking about. They retain their ability to simplify some of their riffing into a more rock structure, but never losing the black metal edge. So much to love here. "It's Darker Than You Think" with its melodic bridge and great lyrics. "Ancient Spirits of the Underworld" and "Skjend Hans Lik" are two of the more straightforward, metal tunes.

The album also has its experimental edge. "Cold Murderous Music" is actually a trip hop number with a saxophone following Nattefrost's amazingly grim vocals. He's still got one of the best tones in all black metal. There is "The Old House on the Hill", a piano horror piece, also featuring his vocals.

It's practically impossible to go wrong with this band, and while Defending the Throne of Evil might not be their very best material, it certainly comes close and even features some of their best tracks. This means you must have it. Why are you still here?

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Fucking evil - 96%

Hawks10Pec, March 11th, 2009

Carpathian Forest is most well known for being one of the most satanic bands in the black metal scene. They are also known for their morbid lyrical content which doesn't always deal with satanism alone. Other lyrical themes include morbid things such as death, sodomy, and suicide just to name a few. Throughout their career, Carpathian Forest has always played traditional black metal. No symphonic elements anywhere to be found. With this album, the band makes their turn towards symphonic black metal with the addition of the keyboards to their music. The keyboards are a huge factor on this album because they help make Defending the Throne of Evil so much better than all their other albums and their best album to date.

Like I said before, the keyboards play a huge factor in making this album great. The symphonic arrangements start off right at the beginning of the album on It's Darker Than You Think. It starts off with a creepy symphonic piece, the bass comes in, and then you're surprised with a very loud "AHH" from Nattefrost. Chances are that part will scare the hell out of you the first time you hear it. These kinds of symphonic pieces are displayed a whole lot throughout the album. The guitars have also changed a bit. On previous Carpathian Forest albums the guitarists would mostly play just regular black metal riffs with barely any melody displayed. On this album you have the guitarists playing melodic riffs, while keeping the fast, black metal touch. As most people have probably come to expect from a black metal drummer, this guy plays blast beats mostly the whole time during the album. On slower parts the drummer mostly just keeps the pace of the song going with slow beats. The bassist is surprisingly audible on this album and along with the drums helps keep the pace of the songs.

The vocals by Nattefrost are absolutely menacing. This guy actually sounds like he is possessed by satan and thats no lie. His vocals are kind of hard to describe because they are so unique. They are extremely raspy and his voice is pretty high pitched, but not Dani Filth high pitched. I would say Nattefrost has the high pitched voice like Dani and the raspy voice of Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ. The point is, his vocals are absolutely amazing on this album and he is by far one of the best vocalists that black metal has ever seen.

Overall this album is amazing. There are a couple instrumentals which are really sort of pointless, but they're really creepy and some people might enjoy them. Everything on this album is top notch from the vocals to the instruments. This is truly a relatively unknown gem in the black metal scene and more people should pay attention to it. If you've heard previous Carpathian Forest albums, this album might come as sort of a surprise, but its a really good surprise. Everyone into black metal should get this album as it is definitely the best album by this band to date.

Cold, Murderous Music..... - 90%

TheJizzHammer, May 20th, 2008

What better a companion to my current black metal binge than 'Defending The Throne of Evil' by Carpathian Forest? My thirst for black musical art is seemingly unable to be quenched, but this album comes pretty damn close. The 'rocking out' commenced the second I popped this CD in, and I keep on coming back for more. Nattefrost, a man who always stood out to me among the other black metal frontmen/personalities, really wowed me with this release, due to the fact that every time I looked at this guy or read something he said, my reaction was generally just a big 'WTF!?' Fueled by my curiosity, I found that this oddball of a musician is actually putting out some damn fine tunes.

The one thing about black metal that stands out to me, and that everyone knows about, is the production. Generally VERY shitty and low quality, this is a staple in black metal, and fans of the genre generally embrace it. I know I do. It helps me appreciate the atmosphere and feel of the art. On this album, production is a little more crisp. Everything shines through quite clearly and sounds really clean. Surprisingly enough, however, I can still enjoy a bit of atmosphere on this album, with the help of the keys. There's only a hint of this atmosphere present, though, but I can't really complain as there are so many things about this album that seem so right-on.

I would have to say that my favorite aspect of this album is the vocals. Nattefrost brings both blackness and brutality to the table with his throat. The all-out screaming and shrieking he performs in typical black metal fasion still fit really nicely here, as do his wheezing/whispering/shrill vocals on 'The Old House On The Hill'. On top of this, there are lower pitched vocals layered along with Nattefrost's higher voice to not only add a metric-ton of brutality, but also create a contrast that sounds just great. The vocals on this album really impressed me.

The drums sound really good here, but there isn't much special about them. They fit, and it works out well. There are some really cool fills, some double bass work that I enjoy quite a bit, but they aren't really ground breaking or amazing. That's not to say the drums are lacking, however. As I said before, they sound good, they fit, and it works out well.

'Cold Murderous Music' features a little sax - something I thought to be quite odd for a black metal album, but hey, why not? I like it, and doing something a little different can turn out really nicely if you do it right. This is not the only Carpathian Forest album to feature such instrumentation (Morbid Fascination of Death), so I guess the band really enjoys it as well.

Overall, a very enjoyable black metal release. I will enjoy this for many listens to come, and I am really glad to have made this discovery.

The Formula is Stretched to thin - 72%

Symphony_Of_Terror, August 20th, 2004

Norwegian black metal has seem to have lost is monopoly/stranglehold on black metal, the black metal scene spreading to all parts of the world from Florida with Kult Ov Azazel to all the underground Malaysian black metal bands. Carpathian Forest are a throw back to the days of Immortal and Emperor, borrowing a member from the latter. On Defending the Throne of Evil, the band sings of all the expected, darkness, evil, anit-christianity..Etc. Precidents set by the black metal greats. Sounds like a typical average formula for a good Norwegian black metal band, for most part they are, but on this album Carpathian Forest does a few things that make them stand out from the slew of other bands out there today using this formula, wherever the bands are from.

The aspect of Defending the Throne of Evil that is my favorite is the simplistic yet powerfully delivered lyrics. From start to finish with few exceptions, Nattefrost and company deliver straight-forward lyrics of hate, death and destruction towards Christians and mankind in general. When the band is not "Hitting, Whipping, Kicking/ The Corpse of Christ!!! they are putting "...you to sleep/ like a sick animal", CF is doing all of this while wishing you to be dead, "Carpathian Forest want you DEAD, DEAD". Lyrics like these dominate the album. The band is telling you your nothing, they are telling Christians they are nothing. These simplistic and short lyrics which are delivered and resolved fast are the main appeal of this album. Nattefrost has a sick mind with a powerful voice to deliver these raw messages of hatred. The way in which he delivers them only strengthens the messages in the lyrics. Nattefrost gives his singing voice a raw gargling that can whip out these hate shrilled lyrics fast or drag them out for a lasting screech of anger or disgust. Whether Nattefrost puts them right out short, fast, and hate filled like "Carpathian Forest want you DEAD" or longer lasting anger cries that last a few lines of lyrics, they hold power in hatred and anger towards those they are against. Defending the Throne of Evil is the album to get for your hate filled lyrics that are not mindless.

If Defending the Throne of Evil weren't so stretched it would be a great album. CF uses a powerful but tired formula for most every song on this album with the exception of The Old House On The Hill and Cold Murderous Music, which just stray from the consistency of the album and do nothing to contribute. The album starts out strong with Its Darker Than You Think which sets a precedent for the album to follow as well as a formula for the album to use. The next song Skejnd Hans Lik follows the formula very closely; straight forward sick, heavy, angry and polished Black Metal, as do the majority of the remaining songs on the album. This works for a lot of bands…the best example is Amon Amarth. Amon Amarth sets a formula for each album, all the songs follow this formula, but what makes each song good is that they all do something a bit different and interesting with the formula, instead of spewing out the same song over and over with slight variations and overused elements and themes. CF does the latter. They set the formula for their music, and use it to death without trying to do something greater with it than the precedent set by the first song. It Darker Than You Think takes the CF formula and arranges the song in a unique way by throwing in a nice raw riff that acts as an undertone after the delivery of some powerful lyrics. If the rest of the songs on Defending The Throne would use the formula and throw something a little unique into each song to give it a individuality of its own, this album would be quite amazing. Aside from Spill The Blood Of The Lamb and Its Darker Than You Think, this album has no memorable moments in any of its songs, they are mildly enjoyed while listening to them, then soon forgotten. Thus this album is like too little butter stretched over a piece of toast, unsatisfying and leaving you wanting more.

An album has to really impress me to get a score of above a 9, and an album has to have memorable moments on most its songs but fall short of greatness to get an 8. Defending the Throne of Evil has a few memorable moments in it, but lacks anything that impresses me that I haven't heard elsewhere before. If CF would put something memorable, unique, or interesting into each of these songs, it would be easily a great album, a definite 9 out of 10. Yet CF do not do this, and the album turns into a decent listen with a few high points. Check out CF's other efforts before you give this one a try. The only thing that makes me want to come back to this album is its powerful delivered lyrics, like described earlier. Defending the Throne has its strong lyrics and powerful vocals….but its weak and stretched formula tear the album apart between good moments, and ones that just roll by ignored. For its redeeming moments give it a listen to, and for its redeeming moments its gets its "higher score".

Superb black metal. - 100%

heavymetalvixen, January 12th, 2004

This is quality black metal right here. At first I didn't think I would like this album, but as soon as I gave it a listen I was hooked. I've been playing it nonstop.

Nattefrost's vocals are very well suited for bm. I love his growls. I usually find most bm is quite simple, but the riffs on this album are awesome! If Carpathian Forest had simple, boring guitars, I probably wouldn't enjoy their music much. But luckily these guys have complex, fantastic riffs on every album. Defending the Throne of Evil is no exception to this trend. I quite enjoy the drumming as well. I usually get tired of all the snare and bass drum pounding crap that most bm bands seem to use, but Kobro's drumming slaughters!

One of the songs that stood out to me the most on this album was The Old House On the Hill; which isn't really metal at all. Its more of an eerie sounding song with some creepy music-box sounds added to it. I think I was most surprised by it simply because most bm bands wouldn't dare put something like this on an album; they all want heavy fast-paced stuff. So this song was something different, and it was done well. To sum up the lyrics quickly, they talk about a lonely old man that lives in "the old house on the hill". Anywhore, just listen to it for yourselves.

This is a MUST HAVE for all you black metallers out there. I consider this album more melodic-black metal than anything, but I'll let you decide for yourselves.

Best Tracks: Skjend Hans Lik, Spill The Blood Of The Lamb, Christian Incoherent Drivel, and The Old House On The Hill.