Inquisition
Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar...


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (277 Reviews)
September 12th, 2016 | 80 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Inquisition aspire and succeed in reaching new heights that were only hinted at before.

As much respect as I have for Inquisition, they surely are the sort of black metal group who set themselves up for an attempt at humiliation each and every time they release a new album. Indeed, taking no less than around ten words to name most of your songs normally ends up in a shamefully embarrassing Facebook meme or a reaction video created for the sole purpose of obtaining some petty cash in the dust-collecting Google account, but Colombia's Inquisition have intellect and the forces of (relative) darkness on their side. You see, every release they have is a mark of improvement and maturity, not only that, but they also demonstrate a strong willpower to progress without providing heaps of substance to the black metal mainstream crowd or deliberately changing the sound to seem "edgy". What I mean to say is, Inquisition have progressed without actually trying. And on the evidence of latest album Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith, they are a stronger forced to be reckoned with than ever before.

Inquisition demonstrate with latest album Bloodshed... that the effort and power they pour into every successive release should not go unnoticed. On every song here-even the warped intro and outro ("The Force Become Darkness" and "The Invocation of the Absolute, the All, the Satan")-Inquisition give the impression of a band which are actually giving it their all, and not succumbing to an easy time in the studio. The musicianship is precise without being technical, the vocals are croaky and raspy without being hilarious, and the general atmosphere is obsessively haunting without the added cheese. Songs such as belligerent opener "From Chaos They Came" and its successor "Wings of Anu" are both exemplary efforts and manage to be two prime examples of how well-executed the rhythm section really is. Guitar work in particular is both complex and straightforward in equal parts, and not just in the two aforementioned songs, and accompanied by Dagon's raspy growl, the menacing vigour is pulled off effortlessly. Bloodshed... time and again proves itself to be consistent and fluent all the way through, with little to no evidence of a lack of quality or gusto.

There is versatility to be found here too, although really it's more obvious in the album's second half than the first. It's not until "A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse" where the band truly spread their wings and adapt to an ever-changing environment, yet somehow they don't lose their consistency either. The same impression can be felt in the sweeping grandeur of the title track, where the musicianship at times is strangely uplifting and at the same time engulfing because of its grandiose scope. Instead of lyrics for the title track, the band merely inject a little storytelling surrounding the album's conceptual focus, and it works just as well. There's not only something to read along to whilst you're listening to the haunting vibrancy of the composition at work, but you can also get a strong reminder of Inquisition's never-ending well of cosmic ideas and menacing forethought. What I'm saying here, is that the aforementioned versatility doesn't necessarily affect the musical side of things. It doesn't have to. It affects the well-rounded aspects of everything that has been poured into the production of Bloodshed..., and only then can you understand that, as straightforward as a lot of these songs are, they also eventually unravel as multi-dimensional soundscapes written solely for the purpose of astounding whoever listens.

Perhaps the only downside to Bloodshed is, dependent on how focused the listener is and whether or not they prefer particular vocal styles, the vocal delivery and the way in which, upon first impression, the album disguises itself as "simplistic". The vocal delivery is mostly croaky and raspy, sort of a more guttural version of Fields of the Nephilim's Carl McCoy, and at times because of its lack of change, it can ruin what has been thus far an astounding listening session. Making up for this however is the lyrical precision and how it is utilised to dramatic effect. Most of the songs depend on a vocal rhythm, not just musical. Dagon's vocals are concentrated so much that each lyrical line, even syllable if you will, seems to have been broken down and separated into grouped words, so that it's more of a storytelling experience rather than simply some guy growing his way through a song. This level of commitment and focus should definitely not go unnoticed, and it makes songs such as "The Flames of Infinite Blackness Before Creation" all the more delectable to hear. To fully experience this effort, it takes more than a passive listen.

Inquisition have created opuses before, and its debatable whether or not Bloodshed... will go on to be widely hailed as a fresh, exciting new chapter for the band. That said, listening to this latest work and comparing it to past Inquisition albums will do you no good, as it demands concentrated listens from start to finish with no distractions. Every aspect has been tweaked so that the best experience possible has not only been felt by Inquisition, but by its budding listeners too. It is certainly one of the finest black metal albums of 2016, if not the greatest.



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user ratings (138)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2016


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

c/c is welcome as always.

Digging: Downfall of Gaia - Ethic of Radical Finitude

Maco097
September 12th 2016


2985 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Inquisition's first great album.

Maco097
September 12th 2016


2985 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Inquisition's first great album x2.

Maco097
September 12th 2016


2985 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And the vocals don't sound retarded here :D

BallsDeep
September 12th 2016


4645 Comments


lol don't give him what he wants brah

Maco097
September 12th 2016


2985 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Inquisition gave me a great album finally.

zaruyache
September 12th 2016


20366 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yeah maco stop bein a pansy inquisition have ALWAYS been repetitive junk. :3

personally I can get over the neo-frog vox but the fact that every song they write seems to have really basic structuring bugs me.

Digging: Downfall of Gaia - Ethic of Radical Finitude

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2016


2908 Comments


Black metal's Call of Duty

BallsDeep
September 12th 2016


4645 Comments


Sadly I feel like it applies to most discographies/video game/film series

DikkoZinner
September 12th 2016


5316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dang, current AOTY.

StarlessCore
September 12th 2016


5876 Comments


if this doesnt have the alien vox I AINT BUYIN

necropig
September 12th 2016


5091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Received the cow leather vinyl today. Number 10 of 333. Smells metal as fvck

Digging: Syu - Vorvados

Alastor
September 12th 2016


1973 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The album is alright, but they lost some steam after Ominous Doctrines.

zaruyache
September 13th 2016


20366 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Their songwriting hasn't changed, their guitar sound is basically always the same, and each sonh seems to be based around just one riff, every single time.

necropig
September 13th 2016


5091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^ Na

Maco097
September 13th 2016


2985 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah it's the same shit but with better vocals.

SCREAM!
September 15th 2016


15755 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't heard all their albums yet but I get this feeling that it's gonna be hard 4's across the board by the time I do

parksungjoon
September 15th 2016


9050 Comments


[2]

TheCrocodile
September 16th 2016


2925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really fucking solid as usual with this band

PortalofPerfection
September 18th 2016


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Awesome review, agree pretty much 100%. There's a few songs that don't have much going on (Black Aeon, Divine Spirit) but I'm getting a lot of subtle activity from the vast majority of the riffs and the songwriting in general.



Might have to bump this up simply because it's so listenable. Can't get sick of it.



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