Hecate Enthroned – Virulent Rapture (2013)

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After a 9 year ‘hibernation’ period, Hecate Enthroned returns with one of the biggest surprises of 2013: “Virulent Rapture”. Always living under the stigma of a CoF clone band, this band was long discarded by us with some of their more ‘experimental’ releases over the years before dropping out of the map in 2004. When we got this promo, curiosity got the best of us and we decided to give it a spin… blowing us away since the first track.

Opening in a bombastic manner with “Thrones of Shadow”, the band indeed still sounds a bit like CoF used to do back in the day, with the huge difference than Hecate Enthroned is now 10 times better than CoF. The growls and shrieks, courtesy of new vocalist Elliot Beaver, are top notch and nicely elevate the intensity level of the already well-crafted symphonic music. Never leaving the aggressive Death Metal elements aside, tracks like “Unchained” are equal parts brutality to melody. The drumming is quite massive and the overall melodic-yet-aggressive vibe is super in songs like “Abyssal March” and the brilliant “Plagued by Black Death”, one of our favorites of this release.

Pummeling through tracks like “Euphoria”, “Life”, and “To Wield the Hand of Perdition”, the band focuses on creating powerful tracks that are very catchy and entertaining. There are tons of ideas thrown around in this album and they all perfectly click together to make one hell of a release. In album’s title track, the band event went as far as to have Sara Jezebel Deva guest on this track, totally brilliant and we are sure the band’s haters will have a field day with this.

Another one of our favorite songs has to be the majestic “Life” and its awesome atmospheric elements. Reminding us of the lush and devastating ways of Vesperian Sorrow, the band delivers the best song of this release under the title of “Of Witchery and the Blood Moon”. Closing the album in a more melancholic way, “Immateria” and “Paths of Silence” both feature cool acoustic guitars and a very sharp detail for epic melodic riffs and arrangements.

Overall, “Virulent Rapture” is one hell of an album that will blow you expectations away. The band always got bad rep for how they sounded, but now they show that they are 10 times better than CoF with an outstanding release. If you like keyboards and plenty of shrieks on your Melodic Black Metal, look no further and try this release.

Band: Hecate Enthroned Album: Virulent Rapture

Label: Crank Music Group

Release: December 13th 2013

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Genre: Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal

Country: UK

Rating: 90/100