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The press sheet states that Setherial are "one of the oldest Swedish black metal bands around" although, having never previously checked them out, with 'Ekpyrosis', I arrive new at their door with fresh listening ears. The press sheet also claims this is "without a doubt the strongest record they've ever done". No surprises there as ninety nine per cent of bands/labels allege the same boast with each new release. However, with no point of comparison to their previous material, I must judge 'Ekpyrosis' free from preconceptions of what Setherial have previously produced. And it's not too bad at all. That is, if you approach this with no expectations of originality and still manage to get excited about music that is rife with the black metal genre's idioms: blast-beat overkill on just about every track; tremolo guitar picking; some purely daft song titles; and a menacingly and pervasively dark atmosphere throughout each composition. Actually, that last quality is often absent and a little contrived in the output of other black metal acts, but Setherial succeed here with a convincing bravado and holds up the album for its duration. The production is good - not great but good, and stays true to the classic black metal sonics that one would expect to hear from music of this nature, as dissonant melodies blacken each track with that ever so important foreboding mood which is key to their chosen aesthetic working. And work it does, although 'Ekpyrosis' ultimately fails to escape the genre's clichés through a lack of innovation, but I'm guessing it is not their intention to do so and, it must be remembered that Setherial have been around in the scene since the early nineties so would have undoubtedly established a few of those 'clichés' themselves. Overall then, there's nothing mindblowingly great about 'Ekpyrosis', but it's a solid release nonetheless that will please the black metal purists.
Regain Records
Review by Mark Holmes
14th July 2010
1) The Devouring Eye
2) Treason
3) We All Shall Fall
4) Thoughts of Life They Wither
5) Subsequent Emissions From a Frozen Galaxy
6) Celestial Remains of the Cosmic Creatiion
7) Ekpyrosis
8) A World In Hell
9) The Mournful Sunset of the Forsaken
"...dissonant melodies blacken each track with that ever so important foreboding mood which is key to their chosen aesthetic working."