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Demoncy is the brainchild of Ixithra, largely considered one of the most veteran musicians in the underground black metal scene, having been involved in bands such as Profanatica and Incursus, among a long list of bands that have become cult classics. Being in existence since 1989, Enthroned is the Night is only the band’s fourth full length release, and the first one since their Empire of the Fallen Angel release almost 9 years before.
Opening Midnight Veil is an ambient introduction track to Demoncy‘s dark brand of black metal, and the haunting and ominous atmosphere certainly helps to set down the right mood in anticipation for the onslaught that Ixithra has put in place for the listener for the rest of the album. Things quickly escalate as the band begins the onslaught with Winds of Plague. The pace is extremely urgent, and the band’s blasphemous intent is rather clear. The riffs on the album are simple and rather repetitive, and while not quite as simple as bands like Von, they lack any true complexity, and easily brings bands like Profanatica to mind, with little variation that can be noticed between tracks as the album progresses, apart from the interlude, intro and outro of the album which all seek to reinforce the dark and oppressive atmosphere in the air. The delivery of the songs is also extremely direct, and songs often end as suddenly as they begin, and the results are stunningly effective.
While the atmosphere retains that cold, desolate style of pioneering Norwegian bands such as Mayhem, there is also a tinge of Canadian war metal over here, especially so with the simplicity of the music and that fast and at times rather chaotic drumming on the album, giving the music a somewhat savage and barbaric touch. That Norwegian touch is especially evident on segments like the clean guitars towards the end of Opening the Lunar Bloodgate, serving to reinforce that desperation that is already reeking in the air. I think what took a bit of getting used to as well is the vocal delivery style of Ixithra, though as the album progresses he begins to fir into the music nicely, further enhancing the overall impact of the music. The high mix of the bass on the album also definitely makes the music more crushing as well, with the uneasy rumbling that goes on underneath the chaos of the rest of the instruments.
Enthroned is the Night, with its simple structure yet destructive force, displays Demoncy‘s ability in writing effective black metal in delivering their messages of blasphemy. This is certainly black metal in one of its purest forms, no-nonsense and served with a dark backdrop.
Necropolis bathed in moonlit gloom and creeping mist of deathly pallor, a monument of death's great claim, held upon the souls of the living.
After their previous release Empire of the Fallen Angel was disregarded by many of their fans, Demoncy's main man Ixithra probably felt a need to go back to the drawing table so to say. Most people probably wanted them to keep doing Joined In Darkness over and over again, and I can respect Demoncy for not doing so. Regardless it must be stated that the return to their roots that that album represented (as it is most similar to their early work like Withhin the Sylvan Realms of Frost) perhaps wasn't the most satisfying thing ever.
With this album Enthroned Is the Night we find Demoncy returning to the spectral and necrotic realms of Joined In Darkness, without them just regurgitating the past. I find this release is more present of an old school and often bestial feeling not present on that release which was more ambient in its sonic attack. I like the slightly more organic tones present on here, the drums feel less programmed/triggered, which I think they were for that album. Also, the drums have a heavier presence then on their last album, which is nice. The guitars are very thick and bass heavy, sounding very massive. Bass adds to this massive quality adding even more low end to the sound.
The vocals are a bit like the rasping dry throated sound of Joined In Darkness but are perhaps higher and often more screamed then on that release. The vocals work fairly well, intoning the lyrics which are rich in dark fantasy feelings. Demoncy's releases all to me seek to create another world for the listener to be lost in. Where their last album was perhaps a bit more multi-colored of a world, this album's world is monochrome, bathed in morbid fog and cemetery stench. The lyrics are very poetic and have occultic aspects to them which primarily revolve around a communion with dark entities of the shadows. The night and ancient powers of the Earth and stars are also praised and invoked.
The songwriting, whilst simplistic, is to the point and never dull to me. The songs are short enough they don't over stay their welcome. This is the kind of album that ends with one wanting more, leading to a repeat playing. The riffs tend to revolve around the kind of simple dark, death influenced riffs of Joined In Darkness, with aspects similar to some of the bestial type bands like Archgoat. I do like the more immediate feeling to this as opposed to some of their older work. The three ambient pieces are quite excellent, but of course the ambient songs on Demoncy releases have always been quality.
I'm sure there will be many who will either praise this or damn it for a variety of reasons. I can imagine things like, it's still not Joined In Darkness, it's too boring, and who knows what else people will say. My opinion of this release is that it is an excellent chapter in Demoncy's rather odd career. It's a very consistent and atmospheric release and will hopefully be praised by Demoncy's fan base rather then condemned out of hand.
Immortal seas of blood wash upon my ethereal tomb, on these endless nights so cold and dark eternally.
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/