Review Summary: Black metal mindfuck. 'Nuff said.Deathspell Omega
is a French black metal band formed in 1999, and is one of the better known band in the French black metal scene. While they started off as an old-school black metal, their 2004 release, Kenose
, saw them into a more experimental and progressive black metal style. They further evolve their sound in their next release, Si Monumentum Requires Circumspice
, the first part of a “metaphysical trilogy concerning God, Satan, and the human relationship with and between the two seemingly opposing forces.” In 2007 they release the second part of the trilogy, Fas- Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
Deathspell Omega is:
Mikko Aspa- Vocals
When people think of black metal, they think of raw, distorted, tremolo picked guitars, inane blast beats, and shrieks. [u]Fas- Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum[u] (translated: Divine Law- Go, Curse, Upon Fiery eternal) breaks the traditional black metal template, and reform them into an entirely new sound. Chaotic and cathartic riffs, strange time signatures, post rock/metal style passages, absolutely insane drumming and progressive song structures are all combined to create a sinister and crushing atmosphere. All this is also helped by the production, which is rather polished compared to most black metal, thus giving it a sharper and more aggressive sound.
One thing that really makes Deathspell Omega
stand out of the black metal is their lyrics. While they do talk about Satanism, they explore the theme in philosophy, rather than just using it to be as blasphemous as they can. As mentioned before, this album is the second part of a “metaphysical trilogy concerning God, Satan, and the human relationship with and between the two seemingly opposing forces.” No doubt about it, these are lyrics to think hard on. The lyrics are pretty vague, making deciphering the meaning particularly hard, though the imagery it gives is rather bleak, telling how the devil is not God’s enemy, that he is instead the embodiment of man’s dark nature, making hell inevitable rather than just probable because the devil is all a part of us.
Instrumentally, the band is no slouch either, being one of the more unique and technical metal bands out there. As soon as the second track “The Shrine of Mad Laughter” kicks in, you'll be hit, nay, PUMMELLED by Deathspell's
unique style of black metal. Hasjarl shows that black metallers do know how to play their instruments, playing chaotic riffs that sometimes sound as if it is being played by several guitars, creating a dissonant, chaotic wall of sound and an absolutely crushing atmosphere, which then goes into a more coherent part. Deathspell also shows their post rock/metal influences, making long moody passages that builds up into the insanity again.
Another thing you'll definitely notice are the drums. It's a shame that he's not mentioned, because he is pretty amazing. He could play interesting lines at the calmer parts, but it's at the more intense part where he really shines. He goes absolutely bezerk, incorporating a whole mass of blast beats, frenetic fills and double-bassing into one brutal attack, making the more music much more chaotic. He just doesn't stop.
The bass on the album is also fairly prominent, unlike many black metal bands. It also has its own lines to play, laying down the groove rather than just providing the lower end for the guitar. Sometimes it gets drowned out by the massive onslaught of the guitar and the drums, but you can hear the lines clearly if you concentrate.
Mikko Aspa also has a somewhat unique voice for black metal. He doesn't rely on shriek or growls; instead, he uses a sort of deep rasp, sounding both like a combination of a shriek and a growl. He also likes to utilize Gregorian chants (with the most notable example being the beginning of the first song “Obombration
”), creating an eerie and ominous feeling.
shows us once again why they deserve the hype they get in the black metal world. Fas- Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
is a great album, executing their musical vision perfectly. When you first hear the album, it might not sound anything like black metal for the simple fact that it sounds unlike any other black metal there is out there. However, the more you hear it, the sooner you'll realize that it is indeed black metal, only that they have rearranged the rules of black metal and turning it into some whole new beast. The tremolo picking, the blast beats, and, most importantly, the bleak atmosphere is still there, only that they have been utilized and done in a different way. So, if you're a fan of experimental metal, black metal, or just want to hear something that is an absolute mindf***, do not fail to give this album a listen to.
The Shrine of Mad laughter
Bread of Bitterness
The Repellent Scars of Abandon and Election
A Chore for the Lost