Review: ENSHADOWED “Stare Into the Abyss” [Odium records]

Review: ENSHADOWED “Stare Into the Abyss” [Odium records]

- in Reviews

The Greek black metal band Enshadowed exists for more than twenty years, and still it remains true to the chosen style, standard Hellenic black metal with a slight influence of Norwegian black metal. 7 years have passed before the band returned with a new full-length album called “Stare Into The Abyss” via the record label Odium. This time Enshadowed didn’t deviate from general traditions of the genre or overloaded the music with novelties but presented the high-quality and malevolent material in all its glory.

Every musician has a lot of experience through a bunch of side projects (except for a new singer Serpent), but with Enshadowed they orient on a classic black metal. The Hellenic black metal always has its own path as opposed to Scandinavian black metal, although both these sub-genres appeared at the same period. The Greek bands never displayed aggression for the sake of aggression, and death was never a primitive destruction, they consider these things with a more sophisticated and philosophical stance. Enshadowed combines Hellenic and Norwegian black metal, choosing the lyrical themes related to nihilism and chaos. And the same can be applied to the music itself, it is far more ritualistic than the European old school black metal.

The album is classic and holistic by all accounts, despite the modest length of 35 minutes. Generally, it is performed in a rapid furious pace, but every song provides some kind of reprieve with a short slowed-down passage in the middle to return again to abnormal speed. Some songs don’t lack a melodiousness (like “Blackened Mouth of Despair” or “Entropy of Men”), but the most emotional songs are those with a ritual context (“Beyond the Knowledge of Truth” and “Divided You Fall”). The occult atmosphere is also created by the voice, during the slowest moments all other instruments are muffled. Long introductions like in the song “Blackened Mouth of Despair” create a special aura, and this song is full of dissonances with a mild influence of psychedelia. There are times, when the vocal lines don’t match the tempo, Serpent sings slower and more thoughtfully, but with a racing speed his manner of singing also accelerates.

The rhythm section is distinctly marked, so no need to overestimate the importance of the drums (with outrageous blast-beats). The last song “Entropy of Men” sounds like a sort of a war anthem, and despite the aggression, it is melodic. The repetitive guitar riffs are canonically primitive, often creating structural carcasses of the songs. The singer prefers a low screaming technique, but sometimes he uses a growling too (“An Aspect of Chaos” and “The Great Animist”), but “A Form of Agony” is full of singing surprises, and on “The Great Animist” and “Divided You fall” Serpent rather chants. The choruses are shaped in more traditional form, and they are more emotional and penetrating.

Hellenic metal is a quite unique phenomenon, because not all the Greek black metal bands stick to it, preferring more traditional Scandinavian style. Enshadowed is between those two, with its refined Hellenic vision and raw and primitive European black metal. It doesn’t make the music of these Greeks exceptional or unique, but they truly have found the place on the extreme metal scene and follow their own rules. And the music of Enshadowed emanates the same feelings, when you look at the cover art, you see an abyss, death and desolation, but the first that comes to mind is an infinity. The infinity as a phenomenon to subordinate everything, while creating a total chaos. So, the cover art speaks to itself, perfectly describing the music of Enshadowed.

Release date: June 30th, 2020

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