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Swedish Black Metal at its best... - 100%

Puci, June 14th, 2009

I wanted to review this album, for a long time now because it deserves every praise. Setherial are a band that knows what they are doing and this album proves that fact. After such classics as Nord and Hell Eternal, the great skills of this Swedish Black Metalers should never be doubted.

This album starts with a superb hyperblasting black metal composition, somewhat traditional for Swedish black metal. Just the kind of opening this album deserves. The album continues in the same manner throughout the 45 minutes in which probably the most underrated songs are consisted.

The album itself is like split in two halves. The first half is something that Setherial are already known for. Superb blasting intros, tremolo picked guitar lines, multiple vocal lines which combined with the tension and aura that accompany this black art create the unique atmosphere that is Endtime Divine. The second half starts off with The Night of All Nights and is somewhat darker than the first half of the album. There is still the same tension, but the atmosphere is a little different, the melody lines are darker and the atmosphere is a lot colder than the atmosphere we are used to with Setherial. I think that Setherial with this album tried to avoid the rather similar sound that is typical for Swedish Black Metal. They tried to avoid the comparison with bands like Dark Funeral, Marduk or Thy Primordial and I think that they’ve done a very good job.

Endtime Divine is a very strong black metal album, an album that every metalhead should have in his collection, because it is in a way original and it still carries the typical marks for the aforementioned Swedish Black Metal. It is brutal, melodic, dark and atmospheric-the perfect formula for a perfect black metal album.

Standout tracks: Subterranean, The Night of All Nights, Endtime Divine, Storms.

Obey this manifestation... - 92%

Beerrorist, August 18th, 2007

The best album of this swedish bastards, no doubt about it. Their previous works were good, classy stuff, but with "Endtime..." they've reached the highest peak so far. What we have here is mix of elements from "Nord" and "Hell Eternal" albums with new touch. Vicious, yet melodic, onslaught of fast (sometimes hyper-fast) Black fucking Metal in style which only this band can provide. We're blown away with furious opening of "Crimson Manifestation" and remain in the center of this sonic whirlwind ‘til it sets us free with fading tunes of "Storms". What hits the most is with how great ease this band can catch listeners attention from the first stroke ‘til last seconds of the record expiring, leaving nothing but path of scorched ground behind. This is war encased in musical frame. Key to the success lies in skilful dosage of tempo changes and riff transitions. No surprise: that’s what SETHERIAL’s known from for years.

All elements of their style developed on earlier albums are present here: intensive, dark melodies provided by guitars which in sound’s character are very similar to keyboard lines (trait that can also be found in DARK FUNERAL music), lethal tempos, truly ferocious vocals (which work really great with the guitars and are rather another instrument) and very thick drumming. Only now the mixture created with this ingredients is more convincing than ever. To describe it more precisely: the content of this CD can be compared to works of NAGLFAR, MARDUK, DARK FUNERAL, IN AETERNUM, even NECROPHOBIC or EMPEROR’s debut album only it's colder, more extreme, frenzied, rampageous and loftier than majority of works by aforementioned bands.

All lineup does great work. Mysteriis proves that he’s talented musician after successfully switching from guitar to drums on the former album. His playing is very disciplined, subordinate to the concept of the material. Wrath delivers lyrical side in impressive manner perfectly working with devilish melodies produced by both axemen. Kraath and Choronzon DO the album. Guitar lines grasp your mind and lead you through all nine songs. Very creative musicians which truly established “Setherial Style”. Bass played by Zathanel is a little bit hidden but you can hear that it’s very active and goes well with the drums.

It’s impossible to pick up best songs. There are no fillers, just killers. It’s one of those situations when you really know what did you paid for when buying the ALBUM. The level is very high through all the time and there are at least a few great, stunning moments in every song. Dozens of them on the whole record.

For me it’s the pinnacle of swedish styled Black Metal and, sadly, another overlooked gem, that's for sure... Best in 2003 leaving even „World Funeral” far behind.

What is this?! - 50%

Roel, July 20th, 2005

This album is one huge disappointment, in every respect. I have had it in my collection for quite some time now, but frankly, I don’t like it at all. Initially I thought that this would be one of those albums you have to get used to in order to appreciate. But that only works with albums such as, let’s say, Emperor’s Prometheus, or, to refer to a quite different genre, Hate Eternal’s King of All Kings.

What Setherial managed to come up with after a rather long hiatus is not what I had expected. After the superb ...Nord album, their follow-up efforts were a pleasure to the ear as well. Speed and originality were key elements.Over time, however, they sacrificed originality in favour of speed alone. The epic character of ...Nord was almost destroyed with Lords of the Nightrealm. However, this sophomore full-length was still quite good, probably due to the atmosphere it had because of the low-quality production and the almost inaudible snare drum. It just added something, which, combined with the raging guitars and Kraath’s great vocals, made it into a good album.

Setherial returned with Hell Eternal. This time the music sounded crystal-clear, whilst retaining that cold and ‘evil’ atmosphere. Even the epic element had been partially restored (see track 5, The Sign of Wrath Awakened for example), and it seemed as though Setherial were doing well in establishing a name for themselves.

But then this piece of redundancy was released. As I said, it is a disappointment in all respects. The booklet cover is plain stupid. The artwork is nothing special; bland and boring. And the band pictures are simply.....laughable. Don’t take me wrong, I like corpse paint and all, but Black Metal band pics tend to come out funny sometimes (remember the pics of Immortal’s At the Heart of Winter?). This is a prime example: look how serious they take themselves. The pics of the previous albums came out pretty good and convincing in a traditional Black Metal kind of way, but this....

More important than pics of course, is the music. And this is another area in which Setherial comes up short. This is so standard. That in itself would not be a big issue, as many a band has survived without ever being innovative, were it not for the fact that the music sounds so mediocre and uninspired. Sure, the musicianship is still there, and the production is probably the best they’ve ever had, but it all sounds so redundant, so boring, as though the band just ran into the studio, recorded it, and ran out again, just so they had another album out.

So, this is kind of an insult. Not so much to the listener, who can choose not to buy it, but to themselves, as a band. With three good albums, what were they thinking? Either Setherial likes this album a lot, or they setteled for much, much less. Seeing the fact that they have released some great music before, I’d say they did the latter. What does this mean? For one, if you want to get a taste of good, varied, and yet powerful fast Black Metal, get some of Setherial’s previous outputs, preferably ...Nord. Second, Setherial should think about whether they should quit, or step back and look at what they have released before Endtime Divine and go from there, because they can do much better than this.

Endtime Divine - 80%

NightOfTheRealm, May 21st, 2004

Sweet speed metal of Satan! Setherial has been on my ever-growing list of bands pending investigation for some time now, but it is only now that I finally check them out.

Coming back after a 5-year abscence with a new contract with Regain Records and their fourth full-length, the hellish Swedes release a full-on assault that bridges epic and melodic with fast, scathing, blasting death metal. The sound is much akin to that I would expect from a coked-up Dissection, Naglfar, or even Old Man’s Child (in the epic nature of their latest album).

As if the cover doesn’t belie the true intent of ENDTIME DIVINE, then its opener “Crimson Manifestation” certainly will enlighten you. The flurry of blastbeats and raw guitars is almost too intense to handle initially. Well, it certainly catches my attention, but of the 9 songs on the album, I enjoy this one the least as it is a little too chaotic. “The Underworld” begins to focus the album with a stronger epic drive, though not sacrificing any intensity. “Subterranean” really breaks the album open for me with some interesting, although brief tempo changes.

Track four is up, and the album keeps getting better. “...of Suicide” There’s a lot of variation in this track, from the blasting common to the first three, as well as more epic and melodic passages akin to Dissection. Drummer Alastor Mysteriis proves that he can really lay down some fierce skin-pounding, and the duo of Choronzon and Kraath really work well together to weave a nice blend of flesh-ripping raw, yet melodic leads on top of driving, catchy riffs.

ENDTIME DIVINE only ripens as it progresses. The album keeps going strong through the entire second half, as tracks 6 through 8 can only be called fucking awesome. “The Night of All Nights” is the ultimate blend of everything Setherial has demonstrated thus far, and is probably my favourite on the album.

Setherial have really come together with this album and impressed me from my first listen. Although I found the first two tracks a little difficult to stomach at first, things really came together in track 3, and the album kept getting better from there on out. This is definitely one of the surprise albums for me this year. Fans of Dissection, the latest Old Man’s Child, as well as anyone looking for some black melodic death will find this well worth your money.

(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, December, 2003)