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Enthroned have always been a band who have stuck with the black metal scene loyally, but never really contributed to it. They have never been bad, nor have they been good. They've just been there. That is, until they released this beast of an album in 1999.
Where the other albums were mostly uninspired, tedious and generic, the music contained on The Apocalypse Manifesto is raw and aggressive. The guitars shred their way throughout the album, with twisted chord changes and some impressively evil-sounding riffs. The drummer must have more arms than Vishnu to blast at the speeds he does, and the rhythm section in general is surprisingly tight for a black metal band. The vocals (a definite low-point on previous albums) are also far better this time around. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but Lord Sabathan just sound tortured throughout the record.
Luckily, Enthroned do not fall into the common trap of blasting throughout an entire album, as Marduk and Dark Funeral have repeatedly done. Retribution Of The Holy Trinity starts off with some nice, thrashy riffing, while The Scourge Of God slows things right down, with a spoken word introduction before dropping into some mid-paced, groove driven material. Don't be fooled though, this is no thrash record. It is as black as they come, it just has variety as well.
This is not cold and dark like Immortal or Darkthrone, neither is it technical and keyboard riddled like latter day Dimmu Borgir or Emperor. This is the sound of hellfire and brimstone metal.