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Beautality - 75%

doomknocker, September 28th, 2009

Here we have it, boys and girls, the "debut album" of HECATE ENTHRONED, an unfortunately laughed-at sextet of malevolent blackness. Accusations of FILTH-aping have sadly given these guys a horrid reputation over the years, one which proved too powerful at times for the group to overcome as they claw their way through the mire of black metal's swampy underground. It's a damn shame, seeing as, starting with this album, HECATE ENTHRONED had/have something special on their hands, a sense of brutal beauty that's dark and enchanting.

Musically these guys have some serious goods. I don't really see much of the "CRADLE OF FILTH rip-off" approach in the performance; while they both have similar styles HECATE ENTHRONED has a more guitar-driven style that hearkens more old-school black metal than the theatrical gothic approach of CoF. Guitars and bass grind alog in a haphazardly violent way, ripping through tempos and chord progressions as the keyboards provide a subtle, dramatic backdrop of eerie ambience, a touch of darkened sophistication that's more "Moonlight Sonata" than "Phantom of the Opera". The drumwork isn't quite as ambivalent as most of the black metal albums during its time, but plugs along in a better fashion with the music; while extreme and heavy, the general feel for the compositions wouldn't relegate usage of monstrously fast blasts (though they appear on occasion). The vocals would probably be the closest to FILTHdom the band would espouse, at least to a degree; his approach is more of a growling variety than the higher-pitched shrieks Dani (and even Jon) would make their own in later works. Stylistically these guys churn own some seriously dark and wicked metal, perverting all forms of holiness and light-hearted appeal in an ever-increasing malevolent shadow of decadent evil; from the faster and more chaotic tunes ("To Feed Upon Thy Dreams", "The Crimson Thorns (My Immortal Dreams)"), to the slower and more frightening ("A Graven Winter", "Ode to a Haunted Wood"), the band is in tip-top shape, where symphonic madness, riff-laden terrorism, and Satanic screams collectively and gradually slay the listener in the most impure of ways. Simply put, some stirring, sophisticated stuff.

So all in all while not truly treading unscriptured waters musically, HECATE ENTHRONED do nothing if not create enjoyable works nonetheless. While these guys would go onto bigger and better things, this foundation of glossy evil shan't be overlooked.