without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
With the benefit of hindsight, I would say that this album was a little under-rated at the time of its release, because it's actually pretty enjoyable. I guess the main problem is that it sounds almost exactly the same as 'The Apocalypse Manifesto': the production, the drums, the vocals, everything... except it's clearly not as good. Then again, perhaps that's unfair: there's an element of primitive, early-Kreator inspired thrash to this album that perhaps wasn't as evident on previous releases, but nevertheless, this will always live in the shadow of its predecessor.
Everything is pretty frantic, and pretty sloppy too. The vocals rage at demoniacal speed, the drums clatter on continuously, though not exactly in a tight fashion. A dozen or more riffs are rehashed from former releases, particularly in the solo department. This is by far Enthroned's least inspired album... but do I enjoy listening to it? Yes! Unashamedly so! If this were the debut from some up and coming act and not the work of an already established and respected band, I'm sure it would be looked upon more favourably. It may not have the atmosphere of the first two releases, the ferocious impact of '...Apocalypse...', or the sheer might of 'Xes Haereticum', but at least it has more energy and enthusiasm than the rather lack-lustre 'Tetra Karcist', the album that saw Sabathan exiting the band for good.
Perhaps my opinion is tainted by my age. I was way too young to be in to 'A Blaze in the Northern Sky' on its release. I would say that, when Enthroned came to my attention in 1998 they were pretty much the first TRUE black metal band I'd heard. I've loved them ever since. Sure, this is an imperfect album, but it shouldn't be disregarded and ignored simply on the grounds that it's not Enthroned's best.
I recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed other works by the band. It sure ain’t essential, but don’t be put off by the poor reviews it has always garnered since its original inception, as this is definitely worth a few spins at least.