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Enshadowed, after a long drawn out period (from their previous full-length) of anticipation deliver their brightest work in their career thus far. I seize now this opportunity to state that their relatively low recognition up until this point should no longer be excusable. The band seems to fully understand the road that today's black metal has taken by creating an interesting and commendable album.
By compounding their influences skillfully (the way Behemoth do) and by pairing stiff, "sharp", and yet melodic guitars, they achieve an extremely unique and promising style. A little something that any listener will appreciate from the beginning till the end of this full- length is the vocals that are emphatic, but not exaggerated, and the clever drumming (not another album filled with pointless blast beat after blast beast). Especially the stretched screams (e.g. Black Holes, Death Planets) make the album sound vaguely intimate. I really enjoy the "clean", modern production and how all the instruments are audible.
One of the most stressful and probably pointless obligations of any reviewer (apart from categorizing music in general) is to come up with clever words to describe each album they try to represent. For the sake of all of us , Enshadowed are making my day easier by coming up with a clever title for their album. Chaos is created by the harmonized riff rotations in parallel with the rhythm guitars in the background. As for magic and “psychedelia’’, in a few words they "borrow" the feeling (not necessarily techniques or the general approach) of bands like Mortuus and Watain. Also for some reason they remind me a little bit of "In the Streams of Inferno" by Mysticum.
The fact that Magic Chaos Psychedelia is an album that's hard to resist will most likely make a wide variety of black metal fans will enjoy it. Obviously I recommend this album to everyone so that they form their own opinion.
Another of the lesser known Greek black metal acts I encountered as I was covering that comprehensive Hellenic reviews project a few years back; Enshadowed released a pair of records earlier on in the 21st century which arrived with little fanfare and have since been all but forgotten. Both were decent if not exceptional outings, which suffered largely from a lack of distinction amongst a crowded European field, and the band went into a bit of a torpor, issuing only some split tracks in the ensuing decade. Now, they have returned for their third full-length Magic Chaos Psychedelia, the title of which hints at a possibly advance in atmospherics, but on listening to this, I was surprised at how little the band had changed at its core from Intensity...
Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing, but apart from the album's production, which is crisper and cleaner than anything I've hear of theirs in the past, this is hardly an advancement over what they were doing 10 years ago. Similar to Eschaton, Acherontus, and a handful of other Greek bands, Enshadowed do not chase after that same sense of cultural uniqueness and heavy metal influence that inspired their better known peers like Rotting Christ; rather this is more of what you'd expect from any number of Norwegian or Swedish acts from the 90s and beyond. Spikes of dissonant melody, overt death metal influences in the vocals and tremolo riffing progressions, and familiar, faster paced blasting sequences all recount veterans from Emperor and Marduk, who themselves often walked the line between the two extremities. The songs are admittedly choppy, with enough variation between them to keep the brain from falling asleep, and there were pieces here like "The Scenario" or "Surrealistic Shade of Color Black" where I was almost hearing a nice Morbid Angel strut to some of the riffing, but in general I wasn't too impressed with the guitars in terms of memorable developments.
Probably the most interesting piece was the closer, "Magic Chaos Psychedelia" itself, which featured some quivering female vocals and a more ethnic/tribal current amidst the slower, airier black/doom guitars, but it comes so late in the track list that you have to wonder how much more compelling the entire album might have proven with more such instances. The album has a very dry and present mix, exceptional in terms of clarity, and the performances of the musicians are all around tightly unleashed. In particular, the guitars really stand out with a lot of punch for their palm-muted impacts, and a lot of 'razor shine' to to the higher pitched atonal chord progressions. But the drums have a nice, compact, energetic ballast, and the bass guitar is decent if not outstanding. Serpent's rasping is nothing you wouldn't expect from a hundred other bands of similar tastes, but he does really feel out the inflection of his syllables with some added grind, and other snarls and growls are often layered in for a more dramatic, psychotic effect. Ultimately, as professional as this sounds, though, Magic Chaos Psychedelia just doesn't bring enough new or interesting to the table that I could highly recommend it; but if you're looking for more in the vein of European black or black/death with fairly high production standards (Marduk, Enthroned, 1349, etc) it wouldn't hurt to give this a chance.