Review – Astrophobos: Enthroned in Flesh

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Triumvirate Records
  • Release Date: August 26th, 2016
  • Genre: Black Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Stockholm, Sweden’s Astrophobos came together back in 2009. The trio composed of ex-members of Unchaste and Furia stormed out the gate in 2010 with a debut EP titled Arcane Secrets, which was followed about four years later with their official debut album Remnants of Forgotten Horrors through Triumvirate Records. Both releases were met with praise, but still kept fairly low to the underground black metal world. For 2016 we are given yet another EP titled Enthroned in Flesh, which was recorded and mixed by Erik Nilsson at Garaget Studio, and features session drumming from Fredrik Wildigs (Marduk). With a strong backbone in place, does the three-piece deliver something again worth your time, or is it mostly fluff to keep their name on the lips of those aware of their existence?

If you’ve heard the band’s debut outing, you’ll feel right at home with Enthroned in Flesh. These four songs carry a sharp, heated production quality with just enough of an analog feel to it that you’ll swear you were cast back into the late nineties or early two thousands. Traces of early Satyricon and Dark Funeral continue to linger in the music, especially in the title track. “Enthroned in Flesh” hits the listener with furious blast beats while the guitars jump between horrific scenes on par with Midian era Cradle of Filth to infectiously dark passages with just a hint of middle eastern flare.

The rest of the EP is a bit of a mixed bag. “Tabula Rasa” isn’t quite as violent, but the drumming is something really worth noting as it helps bolster the sometimes mellow hooks outside the slower passages and, really, “Blood Libation” is just a much more aggressive composition that can offer up some standard second generation black metal grooves as the pace slows down later on. But it’s “The Cadaver Monarch” that really sticks out on this release. The moody performance just shy of eight-and-a-half minutes hits like a mournful piece of nordic lore, holding a subtle viking presence to the material as the pace continues to climb. The conclusion isn’t quite the most powerful, but the performance as a whole is well worth the experience.

AstrophobosWhen it comes to black metal, melodic or otherwise, Astrophobos continues to deliver solid performances with each passing recording, and Enthoned in Flesh is no exception. All four songs are pretty damn good overall, and having Fredrik Widigs handle drum duties in the studio was the perfect fit to the combination. In fact, I kind of wish he’d just join this band as a permanent member given how well everything comes together. If anything, it helps further the comparisons to acts like Naglfar and Dissection, which is a huge plus in favor of the group’s output and the quality of it. Sure, there are a few times on this EP the music isn’t at its strongest, but even at its weakest you can bang your head along and dive right in again and again, walking away satiated by the cosmic madness Astrophobos brings to the table.

AstrophobosDigital review copy of this release provided by Triumvirate Records via Viral Propaganda PR.