The lords of Black Metal have returned and condemn everyone to serve in Hell! I bet many of you will be saying the same thing about this CD but what about those who have never heard but the name of the band? Well, as far as I know SETHERIAL have acquired the image of a cult band among the fans. Furthermore, the band took a long break between the last studio album and "Endtime Divine" (NAGLFAR anyone?) and the question stands: how does this new disc compete with others of the genre? Die hard fans will surely get this in a blink of an eye but I'll be looking at it from the viewpoint of a genre fan who has never listened to SETHERIAL (how's that possible is another thing).
SETHERIAL certainly have remained untouched by the commercial world. No keyboards, all forward faster-than-thou Black Metal with an edge is what this is. Not an original concept in itself, but SETHERIAL shreds like no other. Where others of the same genre can get really stagnant and dull after a few listens I can't see the same happening with SETHERIAL. They have understood that they don't have to be ultra fast all the time. That fact alone makes it imperative that they know how to play, and trust me, they do. Guitars spit out powerful riffs that are full of anger but can get rather melodic in some cases too, and I wouldn't want to be the drummer of this band. After this exercise he'll be a couple of stones lighter and his limbs must ache from all the blasting. The vocals are truly remarkable, feels like the very essence of Hell is emanating from Wrath's voice.
Huh, you want songs? Right…"Crimson Manifestation" is all I've described above and more already. Tight, fast, precise playing and Wrath screaming like the very demons of the fiery and nasty place I was talking about. Ultra fast, but slowing down in a couple of spots with both sides being top-notch. The same 'guarantee' naturally applies for the other songs as well. "The Night Of All Nights" ranks first for me and that's because of the passage from 2:30-2:52. There's a simple but fantastic, perfect riff. Otherwise it doesn't differ much from the other tracks of the CD but with such a stalwart and magnificent album that is only a huge compliment. And yes, it really is THAT difficult to have a favourite track here that even one great riff can make a difference.
In the end I must say that this is an excellent album of blistering Black Metal and a must for fans of the genre. Although with the recent releases from NAGLFAR and MARDUK the competition for the throne will be a furious one and blood will be shed before anyone can claim victory, but with "Endtime Divine" SETHERIAL enters the race with a bang and might just have enough edge to prove victorious! (Online August 10, 2003)