Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Apocalypse - 87%

Felix 1666, May 1st, 2018

"Hell Eternal" was released in 1999 and it seems as if Setherial wanted to end the 20th century with an appropriate apocalypse. The Great War is over? World War II ditto? That's not okay, the century needs an ending in fire. The aptly titled album shows that Sweden, currently the European country with the longest period of peace, has still a lot of martial energy under its surface.

Okay, the sheer vehemence of the material does not only blow the audience away, it is also at the expense of a differentiated production. A wall of sound forces the listeners back into their seats. On the one hand, I enjoy the uncompromising mentality and the pure blackness. On the other hand, the album lacks dynamic, because the noise level remains unchanged during the entire album, if I ignore a short section of the fourth thunderstorm.

The constantly raging Scandinavians did not forget to intersperse a minimum of melodies, but I am sure that I would not be able to distinguish the single songs on a concert. "Hell Eternal" does not suffer from monotony, because it never gets boring. Its brutality has a fascinating component. Nevertheless, this work offers more or less uniform compositions. It challenges albums such as "Vobiscum Satanas" and, no doubt, it has more muscles. But I am sorry, this does not mean that "Hell Eternal" wins the comparison. Sometimes less is more and Setherial have to face the fact that their tracks are less catchy and less variable. Indeed, this record hails from the most gruesome corner of hell, but it does not allow a brief look at any other location.

Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that Setherial have drunken from the blood-filled chalice of black metal. Tracks like "The Nightrealm" destroy everything that tries to resist. Extremely fast rhythms torture soul, mind and body and a greater distance to mainstream music is simply not imaginable. The sinister horde does not prefer conventional song structures and the dudes also spit on progressive patterns. They switch from hyperfast to ultra-hyperfast and back, that's it, but the compositions do also not lack substance. The fervent hatred of the musicians is mirrored by the seven spawns of evil in a very impressive way. Should I criticize that they just use the typical means, for example the throaty voice of the lead singer? I don't think so. Every sub genre needs an identity which is based on some core elements and therefore I have absolutely no problem with the general approach of Setherial.

It remains a mystery why bands like Dark Funeral or Marduk stand in the first and formations like Setherial or Thy Primordial wait in the second row. A better promotion, a better distribution, a better image, all these things can be the crucial factor. But in terms of music, I see no big difference. Honest, untameable and violent: this is "Hell Eternal". And I must add that it houses high quality black metal without exception. I can hardly wait to experience how the band will finish the 21st century, but I am sure that all will end in fire.

Stale - 73%

The_Ghoul, February 6th, 2009

Setherial are one of the "second tier" black metal bands from Sweden, being not nearly as well known as their fellow countrymen Marduk, Dark Funeral, and Dissection, but aggressive and vicious all the same. Their early works are an excercise in haunting melody, evolving into the grand snowy soundscape that was Nord. Unfortunately, like a lot of bands, a time comes when they lose the very inspiration that often separated them from the hordes and give in to stylistic memes.

Musically this is barely differentiable from Dark Funeral's output since Vobiscum Sathanas. Obviously Kraath and co. liked Vobiscum Sathanas, because there is little here that doesn't amount to VS fellatio. The direction they were going in with Lords of the Nightrealm was obvious and the seeds of cliche' had germinated and were festering under that grimy mix full of blastbeats and satanic hate. All the subtlety of past releases is gone here, replaced by a rather cartoonish satanism that is only intimidating if you have peanut butter for brains. As a fellow musician, I must relate that the insistence of the band on doing only minor chords is grating after even only one song. It's a wafer-thin approach and filling an album with nothing but minor chords over blastbeats is hardly any better an approach than the fetid minimalist punk approach of only having 3 chords in a song.

With the ouster of Otto "Moloch" Wiklund on drums, Mysteriis replaces him, and Kraath replaces Mysteriis on guitar. Right there, I must say nobody is playing the right instrument. Kraath needs to get back behind the microphone where he belongs, and Mysteriis needs to return back to the guitars because his single-note lines were one of Setherial's defining traits, and, as well, his drumming is pretty one-dimensional blasturbation. Choronzon is an ok guitarist, but for some reason, be it the washed out Abyss production or the general oversimplification of everything, the guitar duo here has lost the spark and most chords/riffs get buried under the artificially high-end production. As well, the drums are buried deep under the mix. If you're not careful, the sound will soar right over your head. I don't know why Kraath gave up the microphone, as his replacement, Wrath, is one of the most generic Legion/Nocturno Culto clones I've ever heard. His voice simply lacks the piercing power that Kraath's had. Oh well.

Still though, once you get past the obnoxious production and obvious Dark Funeral worship, this is a pretty good album to headbang to. However, if you're a metalhead worth your salt, you already have quite a few albums chock-full of hyperspeed norsecore black metal that is most likely better produced and more inspired than this. I listen to it, yes, because it isn't offensive to my ears, but that's hardly a claim to fame. In a musical paradigm that is getting more and more saturated each day with characterless norsecore, it makes little sense to jump on the bandwagon and start shouting "SATAN!!!" as much as you can over wall of sound guitars and endless blasturbation. It just doesn't make any sense, and if anything, if I were Setherial, I'd move AWAY from that sound, not TOWARDS it. If you're new to Setherial, get everything up to and including Lords of the Nightrealm. This (Hell Eternal) is where Setherial gave up their identity as a band and became yet another cliche' black metal band from Sweden and will provide you with no context about the band and no clue to their musical personality.