Review Summary: Minor criticisms aside, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm is a fantastic album. It is thoroughly enjoyable and has great musicianship evident in most tracks.
When it comes to traditional, raw black metal, Inquisition are among the most interesting of specimens. The band from Colombia have definitely created some very good work in the past with some overlong, vapid names that are long and profound-sounding (just for the sake of making the band look more photosynthesis), the music however is incredibly solid and Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm presents that perfectly, as it is arguably their best effort to date.
The most striking thing about Inquisition's music is a) the fact the vocalist sounds like Popeye from the cartoon adding unintentional hilarity to the record and b) the masterful mix of heavy riffs with beautiful harmonics played at the same time. It really is everywhere in their work and definitely in this album, as every song has a melodic touch to it combined with traditional metal heaviness. The very first song of the album is a prime example of that and does what black metal does best: Blending multiple different kinds of sounds into one song. It has a fast-paced aggressive riff (with a melodic undertone, of course), followed by a calm, catchy melody then followed by a solo-esque, high-pitched guitar part with even more melodic undertones beneath it. Much like the entire album, it's like a delicious treat that is filled with content.
The album really picks up at the third track with the best song Inquisition have ever written, Desolate Funeral Chant (which coincidentally is the one where the vocals don't sound as ridiculous). It's a truly stellar showcase of Inquisition's talent for riffs and atmosphere. It pounds you constantly with that heavy riff until you reach a melodic transition from where the song goes into yet another heavy, powerful riff. It is pitch-perfect for what the band is trying to achieve.
To be entirely fair, most of the album doesn't really live up to that with several tracks being simpler and a bit weak compared to the first few tracks, but that's kind of expected after such a fantastic start. Taken in a vacuum, the rest of the songs aren't at all bad, in fact all of them are very well-crafted and follow a great pattern. It's just that the album doesn't "scale" well enough which also makes it mildly difficult to listen in one go. Conjuration is quite a surprise as far as solely melodic instrumental pieces go. I've got mixed feelings about its use though as I'm undecided whether its use in the very next track (kind of heavy-handedly, frankly) is a delicate touch or an act of desperation out of the inability to write an entire song around that particular riff.
The drumming is very solid and often accompanies the riffs very well, but many times it feels overly aggressive out of nowhere and doesn't just set the beat or fill the gaps of a song, but acts in a slightly detrimental way. It could be the production as well, but this is a persistent characteristic throughout. I personally suspect it has to do with the way Inquisition write their songs. Dagon has mentioned in reviews how he writes the music and allows Incubus come up with the drumming later, possibly creating minor incoherence.
Minor criticisms aside, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm is a fantastic album. It is thoroughly enjoyable and has great musicianship evident in most tracks. It has a unique kind of sound (in both good and funny ways) filled with numerous exciting riffs, melodies and interesting variation. If you want to listen to some pure black metal with unique musical ideas, yet also persistent with the traditional formula, this album is among the best ones you can find.