Last time Enthral gave the metal world anything at all to talk about was in 2003 when they unleashed their third LP, Subterranean Movement, which was an unheralded but no less kick ass mash up of cold melodic black metal and technical death. Seven years and three fewer members later, Kjetil Hektoen and Gunnhild Bratset, the self-described rotten core of the band, offer Spiteful Dirges. This three song EP is much more focused on black metal than death and, though the technicality of their last album is evident, it is forwarded with an understated utilitarian approach this time around.
Even at a mere three tracks, Spiteful Dirges is generously varied, ranging from jagged freneticism to writhing eeriness. “Death to You All” is a face ripping opener full of gnarly riffage and dangerous chord progressions, whereas follow up, “Celebration of Agony”, funnels daunting, deceptively simple tonal ideas into a fathoms-deep swell of undulating rhythmic hatred. This second track illustrates perhaps the mini-album’s greatest strength in that it builds gripping, pitch black atmosphere with little more than well placed notes within elegantly crafted arrangement and effective production. Closing out the EP’s eighteen minutes, “A Spiteful Dirge” pulls out all the stops, letting loose a relentless fury of sinewy tremolo cinched like barbed wire around heaving, bloody chunks of death metal.
So, if you’ve got a taste for some heavy black metal with a bit of technical flair and a ton of creepy atmosphere, there is an awful lot to savor on Spiteful Dirges. And, as this is an appetizer to their upcoming fourth long player, you ought to get damn good and hungry, because the next full course gullet bashing from these guys is likely to make scant allowance for breathing.