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In all of American black metal, no project is more underrated than Demoncy, the brainchild of the mad priest Ixithra. While Profanatica, Xasthur, Leviathan and Nachtmystium seem to get most of the press, Demoncy has always been the forgotten beast. Part of it has been Demoncy's irregular release schedule, which saw the project produce almost nothing but demo's until 1999. But in 1999, Demoncy gave us Joined in Darkness, an unparalleled masterpiece of black metal than has never gotten the run it deserves. Sounding as though it were recorded in the bathroom of R'lyeh, Joined in Darkness was the definition of crushing darkness. But when Demoncy followed this up with the utterly worthless Empire of a Fallen Angel, which saw the project head in a much faster, melodic and... ugh... Swedish direction, many feared that we would never again receive a dark blessing like Joined in Darkness.
Enthroned is the Night is the triumphant return of the Demoncy that we rabid fans of Joined in Darkness have been waiting for. Well, sort of... it at least doesn't reek of Swedish melody and triggered drums. Enthroned is the Night is certainly a stylistic revival: a return to the vile concoction of Norwegian Second Wave black metal and Canadian/American bestial black metal, making the album feel just as comfortable next to Transylvanian Hunger as Fallen Angel of Doom. Tracks are relentless, aggressive and extremely ugly. "Winds of Plague" explodes with a crushing riffs and thundering double bass that bring to mind an unholy union of Archgoat and early Mayhem, while "Unclean Spirits" invokes the decrepit spirits of Profanatica and Sarcofago, complete with copious blast beats and static-riddled riffs. Every track has a strong emphasis of tempo, featuring plenty of change-up between Blasphemy-like speed and slower, atmospheric riffs, which keeps the listening experience active and relentless.
I also feel I need to write a love letter to Ixithra's incredible vocals. Sounding like Gollum with throat cancer, Ixithra and his vicious, demonic "whisper-growls" have been one of the few elements of Demoncy that we have seen imitated by other black metal artists, but never truly matched. Part of what made Empire of a Fallen Angel so utterly and incomprehensibly bad, outside of the whole Marduk-meets-Dissection thing, was that Ixithra ditched his trademark vocals in favor of a horribly generic gruff abortion that lacked any nastiness. But back doing what Demoncy was always meant to do, the vocals on Enthroned is the Night drip with acid and phlegm, as though Ixithra is choking upon his own filth ridden soul.
But for all the joy I feel that Demoncy has returned to the sound that made such a masterpiece, such a brilliant and eternal pitch black jewel, I cannot hide the tinge of sadness that creeps down my spine. For listening to Enthroned is the Night so often has given me a brutal, heart-breaking epiphany, one that flies in the face of everything I have believed about Demoncy so long: Demoncy are a one hit wonder. Enthroned is the Night is a brilliantly played return to form no doubt, but in reviving the sound that made Joined in Darkness what it is, the various weaknesses and failures of the style are brought down hard to bare. This album is so straight forward and so lacking in variety, were this any other band I might pull a Miasmal rating right out of my ass.
Enthroned is the Night could not be any more straightforward or uncreative. The album is even divided into perfect little sections: tracks one, six and eleven could be categorized as "intro," "intermission" and "outro" leaving eight tracks divided into sections of four. I know this seems like a stupid thing to notice, but it is just the first thing that screams "I'm barely trying!" Each tracks sounds almost exactly the same, following same-y patterns that never differentiate between each other.
Not rarely. NEVER.
Without the sudden stops between tracks,Enthroned is the Night could quite easily made into one long song. But honestly, that would have been way too creative. The sound that Demoncy developed on Joined in Darkness is so uncompromising, so unrelenting and truly bleak, it just does not lend itself to any kind of experimentation. It didn't matter with Joined in Darkness because it was just... so... evil. It was so vile, so soul siphoning, that the fact that every track sounded the same didn't even matter. It was a blasphemous tapestry that Satan himself would have wrapped himself in at night as he slept on his bed of burning souls. Meanwhile, Enthroned is the Night feels more like Satan's pillow case that he occasionally drools on... it just doesn't evoke the same sense of dread and abomination.
Yet even though Enthroned is the Night feels so much smaller and slighter than Joined in Darkness, part of me just loves the fuck out of it. Part of me screams for more, and I find myself feeding this hunger very regularly. Enthroned is the Night is my version of comfort music, something I can have playing all day long and never truly tire of(which says something really fucked up about me as an individual). This part of me screams even now as I write this: it pounds furiously on the back of my head, in protest of what my logical brain is now forcing me to do. For no matter how much I love Enthroned is the Night, it is impossible for me to look upon it and say with certainty that this is a great album. It just isn't. It's predictable, same-y, uncreative and pig-headed in it's utter relentlessness.
And I want more!
The screaming fanboy: MORE!!!!!
Real score: 7/10
Originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/