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Enthrope - "The Desolate" (CD Single)

Enthrope - "The Desolate" CD Single cover image

"The Desolate" track listing:

1. The Desolate (4:34)
2. Oculus (4:04)
3. Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia) (5:54)
4. Presence of the Dead (6:00)

Reviewed by on June 3, 2011

"'The Desolate' manages to achieve what many singles fail to do – it appeals equally both to old time fans and to new listeners wanting to get acquainted with the music."

After dropping the debut album “Tomorrow’s Dead Days” last year (reviewed here), Finnish atmospheric death metal act Enthrope is giving potential fans something to chew on while pleasing old listeners with newly recorded tracks. Taking one cut from the album and throwing in both a new original song and two covers, “The Desolate” has a little bit of everything and is a fantastic overview of Enthrope’s sound.

Opening with the title track, taken from the “Tomorrow’s Dead Days” album, Enthrope jumps right into the core of its musical direction to show off what it does best. The death metal elements are front and center, and the constant backing synths provide the melody and atmosphere that makes Enthrope’s sound unique. The track is a bit of a potential red herring for metal fans new to the band though, as it has a significant female vocal presence, which is not typical of Enthope’s formula. No one should come away with the idea that these Finnish deathsters make music along the lines of Sirenia or Nightwish, as the band is atmospheric death metal first and foremost. The female vocals appear sporadically on the album itself, and are used more as a backing instrument than a driving musical force.

The new track “Oculus” would have been a perfect addition to “Tomorrow’s Dead Days,” as it uses the same basic template of the rest of the songs, but moves along at a faster tempo and is both more aggressive and energetic. Following “Oculus” is a cover of Type O Negative’s “Wolf Moon” (which was also included on Metalunderground.com’s tribute album to the late Peter Steele), and then the single wraps up with the Pestilence crusher “Presence of the Dead.”

The covers balance well against each other, with the band breaking off into two different directions for both of them. Fans of Type O Negative will get to hear a melodic death metal twist on “Wolf Moon,” which is done in Enthrope’s style rather than clinging too closely to the blueprint of the original. The “Presence of the Dead” cover, however, sees Enthrope stretching its musical boundaries and heading out in new directions. Ending the single on a high note, the cover is a great change of pace and gives just the right amount of variety. The band’s vocalist changes out his deep growls for a higher pitched and more scream-oriented sound, while the symphonic backing ties everything together with the spacey guitar work. Hopefully this experiment rubs off on the band, because more of that type of sound wouldn’t be at all unwelcome on future releases.

“The Desolate” manages to achieve what many singles fail to do – it appeals equally both to old time fans and to new listeners wanting to get acquainted with the music. The balance between old, new, and cover tracks gives a huge amount of variety and results in a very satisfying listen.

Highs: Great overview of the band's sound, and the covers are fantastic renditions of classic songs

Lows: The opening track gives off a wrong impression of the band's style

Bottom line: This single provides original music and cover tracks done in Enthrope's style that is a great primer for anyone who hasn't heard the band's take on atmospheric death metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)