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A decent final album - 80%

JJM1, January 28th, 2014

Throne of Ahaz's follow-up to the brilliant 'Nifelheim' arrived in late '96, although it was recorded almost a year earlier and about two and a half years before the debut (which was recorded in Feb of '93, but not released until '95). This is notable, because had these recordings been released shortly after being captured on tape I suspect they would have made a more dramatic splash in the Swedish Black Metal scene, but since they were delayed a lot of what the band did was sort of common by the mid-90's. And as such ToA is a band forgotten in time, which is a shame since both records are excellent.

'On Twilight Enthroned' saw guitarist Niklas Svensson depart and welcome in Marcus E. Norman (Naglfar, Bewitched, Havayoth, etc.) as the bands new guitarist. Naturally the guitar sounds different on this recording as Mr Norman seems to prefer a style of playing that jumps between cold dissonant riffs to catchier melodic melodies that oddly enough would eventually resemble his work with Naglfar. The production is also cleaned up quite a bit, forgoing any sort of guitar hiss, but thankfully things are not too clean and the production still remains very underground and frigid.

All of the songs blast fourth and violently too, often times augmented with backing keyboards for extra depth and atmosphere. The tempos do tend to vary from time to time, as things can be both harsh and hasty, but also more than a few moments that are overly melodic, thrashy at times, even a few solos here and there, which just brings Dissection to mind. The few slower dirgy parts are pulled off quite well, especially in the title track, which is one of the albums standouts. There's also moments where you could seriously just rock out, you'll see this in songs like 'Let Blood Paint The Ground' or 'Blackthorn Crown.' Beretorn's vocals are just as raspy and wicked sounding as before, though with the production being cleaner they don't pierce my ears in just the same way.

In the end, yes, this record differs from the debut as it really lies more in that Dissection, Naglfar, Sacramentum realm of melo death/black rather than the purer Marduk/Darkthrone-ish vein of the first album. Nevertheless, its a worthy entry into that sub-sub genre, and if you happen to come across it than I'd surely give a listen.

Originally wrote for, Lunar Hypnosis: