Continuously shrouded in a massive cloak of mystery and rumors, avantgarde black metal troopers Deathspell Omega aligned their powers in Poitiers, France in 1998 and focused much attention on Satanism and metaphysics. The band’s earlier work unleashed a raw approach similar to Transylvanian Hunger era Darkthrone. Since then, the work of Deathspell Omega has become more technically-minded, experimental and possessed well-recorded qualities in comparison. In addition, the 2004 release, Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice introduced the presence of Russian Orthodox chanting and choral arrangements. Three of the band’s efforts combine into a trilogy of sorts. It draws theological inspiration from God, Satan, and humanity’s relationship with the two, as well as lyrical influences of post-surrealist Georges Bataille. Those unaware of this band should take cover while you can, because they’ve just removed the shackles from their latest creation of philosophical dissection.
The follow-up to 2007‘s Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeturnum, new full-length Paracletus (Norma Evangelium Diaboli/Season of Mist), is a courageous and sophisticated excursion into a whirling black metal cyclone. Dense riffs twist and churn through harsh noise with an undercurrent of trudging doom. In way of percussion, the drums invoke a bloodthirsty spirit of machine gun insanity throughout. The vocal performance of Mikko Aspa, as a whole, is largely howling, raspy and injected with emotion. The likes of “Wings of Predation” and “Have You Beheld The Fevers?” (one of the album’s peaks) mesh traditional black metal ferocity with technical prowess with seamlessly deadly results. The record‘s longest track, “Phosphene”, is easily another highlight, weaving and lashing out with an agonized vocal presence of screams, ghostly chants and gargling wails. The two-part experimentalism of “Epiklesis” is, in essence, a double serving of sprawling, atmospherics and doom-inspired thunder sandwiched between the album’s more turbulent passages, such as the unforgiving, thrashy death-storm that is “Malconfort”. Album closer, “Apokatastasis Panton” is without a doubt the most mellow number, galloping through expansive and near-instrumental territory, save for scattered, haunting chants for a quite effective flavor.
Deathspell Omega are one of those bands that are inexplicably plagued by the kind of hype and name-dropping that gives most bands a bad name. Sure, it could be said that they aren’t exactly reconstructing their genre with this release. The old saying about not fixing what isn’t broken may also come to mind, but these guys were never broken. They’ve just added a few new razor-sharp talons to the beast. That is how their latest offering, while perhaps not being the year’s greatest, is surely a solid effort. If nothing else, it succeeds in taking the band’s sound one powerful step further in evolution and conjuring a perfect ending to their three-part conceptual odyssey. Focused and brandishing lethal ability to look risk in the face and laugh while killing it dead, Deathspell Omega have turned yet another blazing page in their legacy and burned the detractors at the stake. Paracletus is here, to defend us all with scorching flames of ever-evolving black metal conquest!