Originally written by Tim Pigeon
In the wake of Emperor’s demise, a void was left in the world of blasting black metal, allowing for bands once kept on the backburner to come forward. Among these bands is Sweden’s Setherial.
Active since 1993, Setherial have experienced multiple lineup changes, but have managed to maintain the core of Mysteriius on drums, and Kraath and Choronzon on guitars. Zathanel handles the bass, while Wrath (also a part of Naglfar delivers the blasphemy with his vocals.
Aesthetically, Setherial sound most like later Emperor, Naglfar, for obvious reasons, and like a better version of Marduk. Percussion dominates the album with non-stop pounding of the kit and a loud production job that pays too much homage to the intense drumming on display.
As expected, much of the riffage is pure black metal: fast, with a boatload of sixteenth-note symphonies. But, every so often they slow the cyclone down a few gears and lock into a sick groove. When the melodic riffs poke through the wall of noise, they show promise.
The screams are your standard-fare, tortured, mid-pitch vocals. “The Night of All Nights” is one of the more melodic songs, and it evokes the memory of Dissection. To my ears, this is when Setherial is at their strongest, with sick and twisted melodies swirling about, while the drumwork gives up a little of the limelight.
“Crimson Manifestation” bears down on you like a column of M-1 Abrams tanks. “Subterranean” is more grandiose, while “Storms” closes out the album in unmerciful fashion, blasting you until the last moments of the album.
For the avid black metaller, Endtime Divine sounds like a worthy album to acquire from a veteran, lesser-known act. While I prefer my black metal to be more melodic and majestic, Setherial have delivered a competent effort that should put their names on the tips of a few more tongues.