[Reviewed by stark]
This band always had a tough life. Living in the shadow of someone may be comfortable for opportunists without any ambitions for something more than eating or getting laid. But for the artists… well, at least for most of them I suppose, it’s not the situation they dreamed about. Salieri and his Mozart curse. Logan Marshall-Green permanently called Tom Hardy’s lookalike… Hecate Enthroned for years labeled as Cradle Of Filth wannabes. Yes, since their first release, “Upon Promethean Shores” the band has had this filthy burden anchored to its ankle. The personal connections of both bands is one thing, but the similarities in the music made these comparisons rather justified as well. Personally though I quite liked their second and third album (while the debut indeed was pretty poor). Yet in my opinion both “The Slaughter Of Innocence, A Requiem For The Mighty” and “Dark Requiems… And Unsilent Massacre” have had this level of lunacy which Cradle Of Filth was never able to achieve. The primal rage mixed with the simple yet catchy synth melodies, all drowned in this peculiar, not perfect, reverbed sound, I really can say it was pretty tempting to me over twenty years ago.
As my musical priorities have changed, both bands got lost from my radar for many years… Only lately I’ve checked the later releases and… well… Cradle Of Filth became a ridiculous creation which place is in a second rate vaudeville as the level of their musical bad taste is totally unacceptable to me. While apparently the Hecate Enthroned guys have found their cozy nest in black metal`s second league – they’re just do their job without the pressure to overrule their big brother. And I would say they do it just fine. “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon” is basically the same style as 20 years ago. I know they were trying to fight with that unfortunate pigeonholing over the years, trying for instance to brutalize their music, infusing death metal elements, yet today this is not their priority anymore. This is essentially an Hecate Enthroned album, a so-called „symphonic” black metal as it was played two decades ago, only with a better sound and devoid of pathetic gothic/cabaret ornaments. Frankly, this is not the kind of music that sends me shivers down my spine and sure, one might say that it is an archaic form today, that black metal went so much forward, just look at all these Polish bands for example, like Mgła, Furia or Entropia. Yeah, well, it’s true, but so what… these guys are playing for their small bunch of fans who are with them for all these years. And since the making of new albums still gives them pleasure and listening to them gives pleasure to the fans, then why the hell not? Maybe this lunacy factor has vanished somewhere, but in the end it is a nostalgic trip into the past and at the same time I can’t deny that their technical skills are on an incomparable high level. If you aren’t into any modern faces of black metal this may be a good proposition for you.
Hecate Enthroned – Embrace Of The Godless Aeon
M-Theory Audio, M-030