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Hecate Enthroned – Embrace of the Godless Aeon

Hecate Enthroned
Embrace of the Godless Aeon
by Erika Kuenstler at 18 February 2019, 4:26 PM

One of the most overshadowed bands of the Black Metal scene in the 1990s is the British band HECATE ENTHRONED, and who have been rather silent over the past few years. However, after a lengthy wait of almost six years, this year sees HECATE ENTHRONED back with their sixth full-length album “Embrace of the Godless Aeon”, epitomized by a meld between old and new. Old in the sense that HECATE ENTHRONED have returned to an older sound of theirs, where harsh rawness is tempered by symphonic sections; and new insofar as Joe Stamps adds a breath of fresh air into the vocals. Stamps brings a versatility to the vocals that had been missing in previous years: from higher screeching all the way down to guttural growls, this range adds new dimensions to HECATE ENTHRONED’s music.

Starting off with instrumental prelude “Ascension”, HECATE ENTHRONED pave the way for the furious deluge of songs that follow. Melodramatic maelstroms of music assault you from all corners. As one might expect from HECATE ENTHRONED, the songs on “Embrace of the Godless Aeon” are rife with hairpin twists and changes in tempo and melody, flawlessly weaving a sonic tapestry that will have your heart soaring in one moment, only to have it plummet into the abyss of darkness in the next. Sarah Jezebel Deva, known for her work with CRADLE OF FILTH, is also featured on “Embrace of the Godless Aeon”, lending her haunting and keening vocals to the album. This come particularly to the fore in “Goddess of Dark Misfits”, where Sarah’s sultry vocals adding a feeling of seductive opulence to the otherwise spitfire song, and add a powerful counter to Stamps’ harsher vocals. At the pinnacle of the album we find “Whispers of the Mountain Ossuary”, with wistful and ethereal keyboards strains giving the song a feeling of uneasy serenity before a darker undertow comes slowly creeping in, with the song waxing and waning between these two extremes. The second half of the album is just as unforgiving, redolent everything from gossamer strains to galloping melodies and complex keyboard arrangements. In the penultimate spot is the grandeur of “Silent Conversations with Distant Stars”, which takes on a more epic tone, with some beautiful interplay between the keyboards and guitars. Closer “Erebus and Terror” on the other hand sees the album closing with a dark and foreboding sound, Sarah’s operatic voice leaving us shrouded in an air of mystery.

Overall, “Embrace of the Godless Aeon” is a welcomed change in direction for HECATE ENTHRONED. This album sees the band revisiting their roots without merely producing a rehash of old albums. The mixing of the album is also well done, with the instruments mostly neither overpowering nor being overwhelmed by others, perhaps with the exception of the drums, which are too often in the fore. HECATE ENTHRONED have also managed to create an album that is polished and refined without sacrificing any of their unfettered rawness or chilling atmospheres. However, as with almost all albums, there is some room for niggling. Whilst repetition is a perfect way of building up atmosphere, this does occasionally go overboard. Moreover, it sometimes feels like the band have perhaps been over-creative in the construction of this album, releasing six years’ worth of pent-up creativity in one single go, with the end result that several songs sound like they have had too much packed into them. Don’t get me wrong; the myriad facets of each song are exactly what make them fascinating. But at certain points, the songs have a crowded feel to them, which detracts from the overarching atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is a great album, and is an absolute must for old and new fans alike.

Memorability: 8
Originality: 7
Song-writing: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ascension
2. Revelations in Autumn Flame
3. Temples That Breathe
4. Goddess of Dark Misfits
5. Whispers of the Mountain Ossuary
6. Enthrallment
7. The Shuddering Giant
8. Silent Conversations with Distant Stars
9. Erebus and Terror
Lineup:
Nigel - Guitars
Dylan Hughes - Bass
Andy - Guitars
Pete - Keyboards
Gareth Hardy - Drums
Joe Stamps - Vocals
Record Label: M Theory Audio
     


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