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Death Triumphant

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Album Review

In discussions of the Scandinavian extreme metal scene, one often hears the generalization that Sweden is for death metal bands and Norway is for black metal bands. But that generalization is problematic because Norway has given us numerous death metal bands and Sweden has given us Marduk, Dark Funeral and a long list of other black metal outfits. Another Swedish black metal unit is Setherial, who aren't as well known as Marduk or Dark Funeral but have been together since 1993 and continue to crush skulls on their 2005/2006 recording Death Triumphant. Along the way, Setherial has experienced countless lineup changes, and, like so many other bands in Scandinavia's extreme metal field, has been a revolving door. But whatever the lineup, the Swedes have maintained their commitment to harshness and brutality — both of which are quite plentiful on the blistering Death Triumphant. Some ambitious artists have made a point of expanding black metal's horizons; the style known as symphonic black metal has offered a more melodic, nuanced and expansive vision of black metal. But Setherial, like Marduk, has adhered to a firm go-for-the-jugular policy — and that policy is very much in evidence on this album, which throws nuance to the wind and operates from the belief that vicious sensory assault is its own reward. There are few concessions to melody on Death Triumphant, but there are plenty of furious blastbeats and lightning-fast tempos. Nothing groundbreaking occurs — long-time moshers who have acquired previous Setherial discs have heard it all before — and anyone who expects a lot of variety on Death Triumphant is bound to be disappointed. Nonetheless, this 38-minute CD offers a decent, if predictable, dose of bombast that will appeal to die-hard fans of Setherial's hammer-to-the-head approach.


Formed: 1993 in Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Founded in 1994 by guitarists Alastor Mysteriis and Devolthan, Sweden's Setherial tread the dark and unswerving path to black metal Hell also trafficked by fellow Scandinavian acts like Marduk, Emperor and Darkthrone. Come 1996, the group -- by now also featuring vocalist Kraath, bassist Thorn and drummer Zathanel -- was duly prepared to enter famed Abyss Studios, from whence they emerged in due time bearing their acclaimed Nord debut. Follow-up efforts Lords of the Nightrealm (1997) and Hell Eternal...
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Death Triumphant, Setherial
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