Although the mists of time and many a night wandering through haunted forests have since obscured their achievements, Norway's Obtained Enslavement were a moderately well-known black metal band by the end of their decade-long existence, which spanned the years 1989 to 2000. Originally working as a trio composed of vocalist/bassist Pest (alias Thomas Kronenes), guitarist Døden (Ove Sæbø), and drummer Torquemada (Ørjan Risan), Obtained Enslavement had expanded to a quartet with the addition of guitarist/keyboardist Heks (Heine Salbu) by the release of its debut album, Centuries of Sorrow, in 1994, which reflected a burgeoning symphonic inclination amid the raw grimness of the band's deeply "occvlt" black metal. These inclinations became prevalent on the band's subsequent and most widely acclaimed albums, Witchcraft (1997) and Soulblight (1998), where a pair of short-lived bassists, Tortur and T. Reaper (Torgrim Øyre), plus keyboard player Morrigan, were enlisted to flesh out the band's grand scheme to orchestrate Beelzebub's own chamber music. But that inspirational thread had clearly been misplaced come Obtained Enslavement's fourth and final full-length, The Shepherd and The Hounds of Hell (2000), where the remaining, core foursome had inexplicably cleaned up their act, and not in a good way, by embracing traditional metal songwriting gimmicks that rendered them virtually unrecognizable to fans, and thus prefaced their demise.
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