Scourge of the Enthroned by Krisiun

Release date: September 7, 2018
Label: Century Media Records

You know what you are going to get with a new Krisiun album: death metal. So it has been for almost 30 years. Except in the last few years, they have thrown a few curveballs at us, with unfamiliar additions like grooves and hooks interspersed with the usual brutality, ominous barks and mayhem.

The broadened palette was welcomed by some fans (including me) but led to others calling them mean words and accusing them of going soft. Metal fans, eh? They don’t know they are born, sometimes.

You can understand why Krisiun did adjust their course a little: they have been active for longer than some of their fans have been alive and I guess there is only so many blast beats, death roars and songs about demons you can do before things start to get a little tired. Plus, playing that fast must be exhausting.

Well, it seems the brief foray into slowing down a little (it was only a couple of albums) has done them a world of good. Because with Scourge of the Enthroned they are back to the intense, neck-wrecking riffage, fierce drumming that an octopus would find difficult to pull off and face-punching brutality that made their name in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This album is the product of a conscious effort to rekindle the fury that the Brazilian trio of brothers unleashed on listeners in their early days. Long-time fans will know what I mean; they clearly wanted to get back their signature sound of a large sack of hammers being dropped by an angry Sasquatch on to various hard objects.

To help the creative process, they holed up in an apartment in Germany near a studio for a month, escaping only to eat, to avoid distractions while they ruined each other’s hearing. And there is a lot in here that reminds you of Black Force Domain, or Ageless Venomous, two of their great albums of yore.

Of course a lot of time has passed since their early onslaughts – and therefore this album is not a mere pastiche of their early works. But it sounds fresh, as if they are enjoying what they are doing (even if it sounds strange to term blasting out songs called ‘A Thousand Graves’, ‘Abysmal Misery’ or ‘Electricide’ – three of the album’s blisteringly quick highlights – as enjoyment).

There is some semblance of the groove which was a hallmark of The Great Execution and Forged in Fury in the final track, ‘Whirlwind of Immortality’ which makes up six minutes of the album’s 38. It is Krisiun’s career in microcosm, with a furiously fast beginning, a juddering stop-start breakdown, some livid barks and a surprisingly melodic guitar solo before a chaotic climax.

It is good to hear they are back. And it is even better to hear that they have rediscovered what they do best: death metal.

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