- Band(s): Enshadowed
- Label(s): Odium Records
- Release Format(s): 12" vinyl, CD
- Release Year: 2020
- Review Date: March 13, 2023
- Author(s): Colin McNamara
It has been quite a while since anyone has heard anything from Greece based black metal group Enshadowed up till 2020. Since their split album in 2016, and the split of so many different members over time, the fate of the band was uncertain. With N.e.c.r.o. on guitars being the only original member left, it seems that the 5 year hiatus has allowed the band to recoup some of their older member such as Serpent of vocals (since 2008) and Golgotha on bass (since 2005), the result of the new album is fast to mid paced standard Black Metal in the vein of groups anywhere from Dodsferd to Clandestine Blaze. It is typical Black Metal, yes, but clear and engaging rather than distorted and shrouded, with some touches of dissonance and chaotic twists and turns that will remind listeners of Deathspell Omega, but not quite as jarring. The new “Stare into the Abyss” opens with ‘An Aspect of Chaos’ which has that Deathspell Omega feel with the riffs and consistent drumming that serve as a path through the chaos among the riffs that seem to stab from all directions. Vocals are raw shrieks mixed with some throaty Marduk styled growls, but layered with the melody so it doesn’t feel quite like a full tremolo picking fest all the way through. While the sound is consistent, it also comes across as repetitive through a lot of the album. Other tracks like ‘The Great Animist’ use dark melodies mixed with the furious drumming and blast beats with the depressive touches much akin to Clandestine Blaze, which is like the more ‘traditional’ black metal version of Deathspell Omega. Enshadowed make great use of their vocals and drumming to convey the ferocity of black metal here.
‘Beyond the Knowledge of Truth’ is a pretty fast track, more in the vein of older Marduk with some melodies weaved in here and there, but mostly this track just blasts right through. The drumming could be a little more varied, but since no drummer is listed in the lineup, it is possible the group used a machine on this album to fill in, which is a little bit of a shame. ‘Blackened Mouth of Despair’ finally slows things down, and it is glorious. Slow, heavy percussive beats, thundering tones, and just a totally dark and evil atmosphere showcase a different side of Enshadowed and evokes that slower, almost Black n’ Roll Watain touch from an album like ‘Lawless Darkness’, A bit more depressive, yet just a kvlt and harsh, this is the type of evil sound a typical Black Metal listener needs. ‘Divided You Fall’ pretty much carries right along as the previous track; it is still mid paced to fast but has a lot of the same dark melodies and riffs with less varied drumming. ‘A Form of Agony’ has its darker moments and more of that Marduk touch to it, but this time from the “Serpent Sermon” era. For some reason Black Metal always sounds more sinister and richer when it is slower, allowing listeners to absorb every drop versus feeling overwhelmed by the speed.
‘Entropy of Men’ closes off the album fully with a fast to mid paced black metal piece. A little less interesting than some of the earlier ones, it pretty much falls in the same vein as the opener with the militant drumming and riffs, again bringing in that rather kvlt sound to it without quite being Judas Iscariot raw, but still raw nonetheless. Overall, ‘Stare Into the Abyss’ is a good return for the band. It pretty much picks up where they left off in back in 2013 but doesn’t really break any new ground either. They are still consistent in their work, and hopefully as they recruit more members for a more rounded sound, one will hear more evolution from them. Still, for just three members and a minimal instrumental output, Enshadowed is still loud and sinister in their Black Metal works and will appeal to anyone who likes their music grim yet clear without the flair of symphonics or folk touches.