Hecate Enthroned – Embrace of the Godless Aeon

Band: Hecate Enthroned 
Titled: Embrace of the Godless Aeon
Label: M-Theory
Release 25 January 2019
Country: UK
Format reviewed: 320kbit mp3

First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room whenever people talk about HECATE ENTHRONED – that elephant being those cloth eared parties who say “Yebbut, HECATE ENTHRONED are low rent CRADLE OF FILTH copyists”. At some point, they’ve shared band members in their career – but that’s where the similarities should end. Secondly, it’s an unfair comparison due to the fact that if you listen to both bands and key albums properly, it becomes very apparent that they are in fact two entirely different sounding bands; CRADLE OF FILTH originally started life as some hyper obscure band with shirts worn by blokes that looked like dead girls, to become that band floppy art quiffed pseudo goth teenagers wore emblazoned on hooded tops – who watched too many episodes of The Addams Family and Tim Burton films. Anyway, more on this new album eh?

What is commendable with HECATE ENTHRONED is the fact the band has suffered from hefty line up changes and triumphed above it, notably with Joe Stamps as vocalist number four who’s been with the band since 2015. Such potentially ruinous changes would be the undoing of lesser bands, but it seems like HECATE ENTHRONED proceed unhindered. One you get past the cheesy music box and piano driven intro track of “Ascension”, the album begins with aplomb with “Revelations In Autumn Flame”. Joe’s vocals certainly work very well indeed – descending from high pitched screams to deep threatening roars with relative ease, with a vocal delivery delivered with full confidence from start to finish. “Temples That Breathe” is a superb track in particular, that is without shadow of a doubt up there with tracks from their “Slaughter of Innocence” album in terms of polish and quality – with a brutal sense of delivery and atmospherics that will no doubt sound incredible played live. “Goddess of Dark Misfits” is as perfect as symphonic black metal tracks go, where we are greeted with the vocals of Sara Jezebel Deva thrown into the mix; with a deeply hypnotic piano riff that will have even the most staid of extreme metal fans nodding their head due to the tracks infectiously catchy nature. “Whispers of the Mountain Ossuary” is probably one of the best black metal tracks you’ll hear in 2019, that’s almost like an ethereal ballad with melodic guitar riffs and driving synths that descends into ferocious blast beats, with a vocal delivery capable of stripping plaster from walls.

One of the best things about this album and HECATE ENTHRONED as a whole, is the fact the band know how to build up atmosphere with their tracks – as noted with “Enthrallment”. Black metal bands can often be overbearing to some listeners if there’s a constant barrage of instruments going off at once, but these guys know how to make their music far more engaging to their fans – with “The Smouldering Giant” being a perfect case in point; demonstrating elements of calm and then breaking out into a feral sonic attack. Silent Conversations With Distant Stars” is another shimmering example of HECATE ENTHRONED delivering a track with razor sharp execution in the same vein as ‘Temples That Breathe”, that’s an irresistibly catchy stomper full of blast beats, dynamics, atmosphere, and a delivery that puts many comparable bands past and present to shame.

HECATE ENTHRONED have created one of their strongest albums to date, to add to their already impressive 24 year long career. Lesser acts may have come and gone, and even some greater acts such as the much missed OLD MAN’S CHILD and THE SINS OF THY BELOVED – but these guys continue to deliver very refined and high quality albums, weathering the storms of tedious metal fads. If you’ve been disappointed with albums from a certain British black metal band lately, or a certain below par release from a well known Scandinavian band whose name rhymes with ‘Dinner Burger’ – then you’ll certainly find sonic solace with this highly recommended album.  9/10 Goth Mark

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9/10 Epic Storm
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