"Regie Sathanas - A Tribute to Cernunnos" (Metal Blade/Blackend; 1998)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Regie Sathanas: A Tribute To Cernunnos" is an album dedicated to Cernunnos, a member of Enthroned that took his own life back in 1997.   One wouldn't think of death metal bands as being sentimental yet the general aim of the disc is meant to share the band's pain in a heartfelt tribute to a comrade. Brotherhood is a defining characteristic of death metal bands as though the band members are brought closer by spirit of the music and the odds against which the death metal genre must overcome to gain acceptance. Obviously, Enthroned are not daunted by the loss of their friend and bandmate; Enthroned have persevered and continue to make their music.

"Prelude To Satan's Avengers" is a foreboding, mood setting piece that recalls the operatic "Black Aria" by Glenn Danzig. "By Dark Glorious Thoughts" immediately follows and blasts its way into your subconscious; by mid-song the band slows into a majestic string of sustained guitars before returning to the original motif.

"Walpurgis Night" features tribal drumming, doomy riffs, and haunting spoken vocals in the intro before settling into a melange of swirling guitars. The guttural vocals in the verses are typical black metal, yet the classic metal sections are interesting enough and give the song an epic feel. The song ends with the strains of a nuclear holocaust.

"Satan Never Sleeps," with Cernunnos' original lyrics from 1988 for a band called Morbid Death that evolved into Enthroned, features more standard musical motifs which is pleasing to the metal traditionalist.  Given the genre's fascination with extremes, this song details a coming apocalypse due to a host of atrocities - dark stuff indeed.

Enthroned then cover Sodom's "The Conqueror" which sees the band aggressively tear through the track in less than three minutes. The track blends Iron Maiden and Motorhead within hyperspeed death metal for an aurally fierce track.

"Deny The Holy Book Of Lies" is a re-recorded version of an Enthroned song from their first disc. I haven't heard the original, but this version is a mid-paced number with blistering vocal parts. It is also the disc's most satisfying track. The fifteen-second "Outro" returns the band to the haunting mood of the "Prelude" and is a fitting end to the disc.

Enthroned's lyrics deal with the darker side of the human condition. Hardly any of it matters as the lyrics and vocals are largely unintelligible - this is due in part to the vocals being low in the mix and in part to the speed at which the lyrics are spewed out. One must literally be self-trained to hear the lyrical content; it's a workout, I'll guarantee you that.

Enthroned are skilled musicians that carve their blend of black metal with less than surgical precision. The music often plunders along aimlessly. This is a severe detriment to the overall impact of the disc.

However, within the genre of black metal I'd have to say Enthroned are a bit more one-dimensional than most acts, yet the band manages to entertain at all times. I have no doubt that fans of the death metal genre will find this disc to be a decent addition to their collection.

The seven songs clock in at a concise 28 minutes; the terse delivery of the material avoids waste and allows the band to fully express its gratitude to Regie Sathanas.

Sabathan is the vocalist and thunderous bassist, Nornagest and Nebiros are the shredding guitarists, and Namroth Blackthorn is the booming drummer.

"Regie Sathanas: A Tribute To Cernunnos" was produced by Andre Gielen and Enthroned; the sound quality is decent, but like most black metal acts, seems to lack a certain punch in the mix.

Visit the band's webpage at http://www.enthroned.be for more information.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 17 Jul 2022 13:29:13 -0400.