Regie Sathanas: A Tribute To Cernunnos


Metal Blade Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Before we begin today's review, a quick warning: If you are someone who believes that rock and roll is the devil's music, stop reading now. If you're not open-minded about music, especially music that promotes a set of beliefs you don't agree with, stop reading now. Go check out our archives or something, 'cause you're not going to want to read this one.

Okay, are they gone? Then let's begin...

Every once in a while, I'm sent black metal to review; this, for the uninitiated, is dark, moody music (that may or may not be speed metal, there's no real rule to it) that often promotes Satanic beliefs and downplays the church, especially Catholicism. Being a Roman Catholic, one might expect me to stay away from this type of music - and, admittedly, I don't go searching it out on a regular basis.

But whether I agree with the message of the lyrics from a band like Enthroned or not isn't the point when I review a disc like this. I have to put my feelings about their beliefs aside and judge the album on its musical and songwriting qualities. But that's enough preaching.

In 1997, Cernunnos, the drummer for Enthroned, committed suicide, leaving his remaining bandmates - who were preparing to record their next album - in a lurch. The album was eventually completed with the help of a session drummer, but their grieving process would be completed with the release of the mini-album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Regie Sathanas: A Tribute To Cernunnos in 1998. (The disc is just being released in America by Metal Blade.) The album tries to tie the past with the present, and features the new incarnation of the band tackling some of their older material, including some pre-Enthroned songs written by Cernunnos.

This Belgian quartet - bassist/vocalist Sabathan, guitarists Nornagest and Nabiros and new drummer Namroth Blackthorn - pull no punches in delivering both the bleak realities of their beliefs and the crunching power of their music. While I would have done a few minor things differently (like bumped up the treble and lowered the midrange just a touch), Enthroned do manage to create some powerful songs that, while not the kind of stuff you'd slap on during Sunday dinner, are nice outlets of energy during the day.

After the instrumental opener "Prelude To Satan's Avengers" (featuring some ominous sounding groans from the band), the group kicks things into overdrive with "By Dark Glorious Thoughts". While you still need the lyric sheet to follow what Sabathan is saying, his vocal delivery is clearer than one would expect from a band of this ilk. And the lyrics? Well, they're descriptive - but, to be honest, I've heard scarier things in my time.

If there was ever a question of their beliefs, Enthroned eliminate them with tracks like "Satan Never Sleeps" and a new rendition of "Deny The Holy Book Of Lies". Musically, these songs ooze power, and while I kept waiting for both guitarists to just open up the floodgates and set their axes on full shred, they both choose more moderation in their solos. (In the end, maybe this was the best route for them to take.) Add into the mix a cover of Sodom's "The Conqueror", the original "Walpurgis Night" and a brief instrumental ending ("Outro"), and the memorial to their fallen bandmate is completed.

While I recognize that Regie Sathanas was put together to help the band come to grips with the loss of their bandmate and friend, I do wonder why the disc was kept so short. Granted, a lot of discs in this vein I've heard in recent months aren't much longer, but at least Enthroned have the musical talent to justify clocking in a little more listening time.

Regie Sathanas: A Tribute To Cernunnos is definitely in a league of its own, and if you're considering buying it, you should be warned that the lyrical content is quite raw and descriptive. But, if you are into the black metal scene, then the release of this disc on this side of the Atlantic should be welcome news to you - and it is, in the end, both enjoyable and a fitting memorial to Cernunnos.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.