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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)