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Enthral - "Spiteful Dirges" (CD/EP)

Enthral - "Spiteful Dirges" CD/EP cover image

"Spiteful Dirges" track listing:

1. Death To You All (5:06)
2. Celebration Of Agony (8:32)
3. A Spiteful Dirge (4:59)

Reviewed by on July 31, 2010

"Even though there’s nothing new to be found, the three song 'Spiteful Dirges' EP still has all the right elements required for an appropriately evil and hateful ride."

1990’s-spawned Norwegian style black metal is a seriously crowded and muddied genre, despite its completely unique nature when it first formed. Enthral has the bonus of actually hailing from Norway, which gives them a bit more credit than any other standard black metal act, but the band’s overall sound isn’t nearly as distinctive as it could be. Even though there’s nothing new to be found, the three song “Spiteful Dirges” EP still has all the right elements required for an appropriately evil and hateful ride.

“Death To You All” starts with a fitting voice clip, of what sounds like a line from Ian Holm off the movie “From Hell,” proclaiming in his murderous madness that “The great architect speaks to me.” The blast beats and hell screams make their entry and things get going in a nice brisk pace. Like all three tracks, the opening song has a good deal of tempo changes to stave off the dreaded curse of monotony. Kjetil Hektoen’s vocals also have a lot of throat behind them, resulting in less screech and more hate.

The opening to “Celebration of Agony” is immediately much different from the preceding song, taking more time to build up and provide contrast. A detonation of standard blast beat insanity comes out, which is just all too familiar at this point in the history of black metal, but it doesn’t last overly long. “Celebration of Agony” is easily the song to go for on the EP, as it makes the most use of the tempo changes and black metal styling to wreak havoc on a listener.

An abrupt of change of pace occurs partway in, stopping the sounds altogether and hitting an atmospheric segment. The bass even pops out of the mass of music for a time, which is always welcome. Halfway through the song, an incredibly impressive wet scream/choke/growl rips out of nowhere. It’s quite the accomplishment, as it honestly sounds demonic, or like something awful and fleshy is ripping its way out of the vocalist’s throat. The ending title track then hits a more frantic and fast tone, as though it knows there is only so much time left.

“Spiteful Dirges” is done well, with tight musicianship and several interesting elements woven into the tapestry of industry standard black metal. The only real problem is that it feels like a bit of a rehash, even though it is a high quality one.

Highs: Frequent tempo changes, a nice atmospheric and bass heavy segment in the second track

Lows: The EP sticks to pretty standard black metal conventions for its run time.

Bottom line: Well done black metal with lots of tempo changes, but there's nothing terribly new found here.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)