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Hecate Enthroned: Redimus *

Album Notes

In the death metal/black metal field, bands generally adhere to the following rules: go for the jugular, show no mercy, whip the listener into submission and take no prisoners. In most cases, death metal/black metal isn't about intricacy or musicality -- it's about exhilaration taken to a ridiculous extreme, and most of the kids in the mosh pit will tell you that crushing ferocity is its own reward. But not every death metal/black metal band believes in ferocity for the sake of ferocity; on Redimus, for example, England's Hecate Enthroned seeks a balance of musicality and brute force. This 2004 release is relevant to the styles known as "melodic death metal" and "symphonic metal"; Redimus has plenty of extreme vocals (some a black metal rasp, some a death metal growl) and there is enough high-speed pummeling to make moshers happy. But some parts of Redimus are atmospheric and moody rather than flat-out brutal; these Brits soften their blows by combining death metal/black metal with a sense of melody and harmony. As far as this type of album goes, Redimus is neither the best nor the worst that symphonic black metal and melodic death metal have to offer -- it isn't in a class with the best recordings of At the Gates, Opeth or In Flames. Nor it is up there with Hecate's colleagues in Cradle of Filth, who wrote the book on black metal in the U.K. and are a prominent influence on this CD. Nonetheless, Redimus is a generally decent, if somewhat uneven, demonstration of the fact that death metal/black metal doesn't have to be about sledgehammer ferocity 100-percent of the time. ~ Alex Henderson


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