Review Summary: Strange how these French black metalists are completely rearranging the way we look at black metal.
Strange is a good word indeed of how one could describe French black metalists Deathspell Omega. Firstly, throughout their lustrous career, Deathspell Omega have carved out their own brand of avant -garde black metal through albums and E.P’s such as Fas- Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
. Secondly, the band has maintained a type of mystique through their strange conceptual albums and lack of media interviews and live shows. However, the band itself has been on to something different since day one, stretching the black metal genre into another dimension of visceral hatred and completely off-the-wall dynamics. Their latest E.P. Chaining the Katechon
is a comfortable extension of this already oddball sound and is a great stepping stone into commanding what could be considered yet another branch-off of black metal that these guys have been doing since their debut album.
Going for the Meshuggah approach (2004s E.P. I
), Deathspell Omega construct a worthy twenty-two minute beast that offers far more in the way of diversity and making most black metal look like child’s play. Opening with a ripping blast beat that could have been easily lifted off Fas…
, they suddenly change gears and everything you knew about this extraordinary band is completely out the window. What follows next can only be described as a form of progressive black metal, complete with stretchy notes and an almost doom-like passage, giving the beginning of this twenty-two minute song a warning of things to come. It’s after this that the E.P. really starts to get good.
Not even for one minute after this can the listener ever claim that this album doesn’t offer diversity because it sure as hell does throughout a multitude of well thought-out routes that transition from one-to-another seamlessly. Even though this is black metal through and through, it’s just not in your traditional sense. These progressive passages weave and twist through deafening black metal, appearing in many forms that come in the way of complex rhythm sections, mind-***ingly awkward counter-melodies, or brief horn sections (what the hell?). Top this off with vocals that sound like they’ve been dragged through the depths of hell and you pretty much get the picture.
I’m sure a black metal E.P. like this will provoke a slew of purist black metal fans to scream “false” due to it’s lack of atmosphere and under-produced ‘kvlt’ compositions, but it’s a welcome shot-in-the-arm to a genre much in a need of a band to pull it from it’s tedious and monotonous roots. Deathspell Omega are defying the genre niches once again and here’s hoping this rubs off on their next full length.