Review Summary: They did quit when still on top, but by necessity.
Celestial Bloodshed's final release is an interesting piece. Presenting previously unreleased material, and putting out the album 4 years after the vocalist's death gives it an interestingly "ceremonial" touch. Like a tribute, a present which must be heard - and this is definitely something I'm really glad exists.
This band always delivered very solid quality black metal, and especially their first LP, Cursed, Scarred and Forever Possessed
, is their most well-known creation due to Steingrim Torson's highly passionate and theatrical vocals and the album's clear resemblances to Mayhem's style. But I mean it in the most positive way, since similarly to Mayhem, Celestial Bloodshed was never afraid of some experimentation to achieve the desired effect.
And this is the case with Ω
as well. Their final piece followed an exciting concept, where the creation of the atmosphere had the highest priority, resulting a fairly modern sounding album. The album runs mostly on a moderate tempo, which fits perfectly to the sinister dissonance created by the heavily distorted guitars. The only exception is "Deathsquad Alliance"
, which sounds probably most similarly to what usually Carpathian Forest does, where the additional hard rock influences bring a certain "catchiness" into overall typical black metal riffing - which always means some bonus points for me, but I think generally every listener is more impressed about the other songs from the album. And the reason behind this claim is the album's clear similarity to the sound of Mayhem's legendary album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
. And I mean it not just because comparable crispy production, because the resemblance within the overall sound is clearly noticable. For example, the album's opener, "The Aorta of My Thoughts"
, sounds almost like a DMDS B-side song. The most noticable similitude to DMDS is Torson's vocals, which are simply fantastic in my opinion. Most interestingly, I found the sound of it like a mixture of Per Yngve Ohlin and Attila Csihar style, but closer to Dead's unique visionary in the lyrical concept. Next to this, the album has exciting song structures with a modern touch, and the best example to illustrate this lies at the album's pinnacle: "Spiraculum Mortis"
. The song starts with a rather old-school structure, with fast arpeggios and blast beats, but the purpose is like building a "stage" for the big attracion: the vocals. Similarly to Attila Csihar's performance in his latest works, the highly theatrical vocals rule over the mix and creates a frosty and massively evil atmosphere. Meanwhile, around halfway through the song, the instruments change to a much slower tempo, letting the song reach its frightening pinnacle. The rest of the album follows a similar concept, and in my opinion through this, the album presents a near perfect demonstration of what black metal is all about
: reaching that
certain evil, sinister atmosphere.
However, I had to say this album is only near perfect - the album's closer, "Trosbekjennelse"
is a live-recorded song, which however doesn't mean necessarily that it is not good, but due to the near absent mastering, this songs drags down the listening experience in my opinion. The prior song, "Manifested Darkness, Bloodred Sunrise"
wouldn't work as a good album closer, since I felt that that long droning noise at the end could mean a great entry point to a bombastic closer riffage, but sadly the closer live song did not reach the level of my expectations, leaving me desiring something more (since, well, the rest of the album was awesome) - and that's the most saddening part, since due to Torson's death this is something which was impossible to accomplish by them.
In the end, I believe Ω
is a perfect release as the band's final chapter, since they managed to create arguably their best work. I think this stands as a deeply reverent farewell from their frontman.