Label: Blackened Records
In some ways, the second album by Belgian band Enthroned is the perfect 7/10 black metal album. Towards the Skullthrone of Satan does absolutely nothing to subvert or challenge black metal tropes; instead, it absolutely delights in them, reveling in its frostbitten melodies, Satanic imagery, and almost constant blastbeats. There is nothing here that, if you’re familiar with black metal, you won’t have heard before – but at the same time, that is why you come to an album like this. You know what to expect, and it absolutely delivers on it.
If that seems like I’m damning Towards the Skullthrone… with faint praise, well, I kind of am; but that’s not my intention. As much as Enthroned might stick firmly within the boundaries of second-wave black metal, embracing its tropes without apology, it does so with a conviction and passion that renders any complaints redundant. Songs like ‘Evil Church’ are as good as straightforward Scandinavian black metal gets, demonstrating the power of tremolo-picked leads, whirlwind riffs, blistering drumming, and lyrics steeped in blasphemy and Satanic intent. Hardly original, even when it was released in 1997 – but hard to argue against.