Deathspell Omega

Paracletus

01. Epiklesis I
02. Wings of Predation
03. Abscission
04. Dearth
05. Phosphene
06. Epiklesis II
07. Malconfort
08. Have You Held the Fevers
09.  Devouring Famine
10. Apokatastasis Panton

[11/22/10, Season of Mist]

If you’re not familiar with Deathspell Omega yet, don’t kick yourself-NOBODY is familiar with Deathspell Omega. The mysterious French band never plays live, has no website, and have only given a handful of interviews in their existence. They are not interested in merchandising, commercializing, or self-promotion of their avant-garde brand of black metal in any way. They don’t care if you know who they are, in fact, they probably prefer if you don’t know who they are. Their music is for the select few who seek them out. It is not ideal for mass consumption. This is a refreshing change in an era when “black metal” bands like, say Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, are very interested in visibility and sales-see their commercialized symphonic take on the Norwegian formula, their comical videos, and outrageous costumes. Hell, Dimmu’s Galder is on the back of my Decibel magazine this month trying to sell me the Peavey 6505 amp. Now, that is not exactly a sellout move, but it doesn’t help his “black metal mystique“, you know? Deathspell Omega have no such problem, they require the listener to focus entirely on the art itself and not the people who create the art.

Anyways, you really should seek out Deathspell Omega if you haven’t already. Why? Because while you won’t find out lots of information about them, what you will find is some the most badass black metal ever created. They push the genre to it’s very outer edge, torture it until it pisses itself, and then give it a violent shove to it’s death below. They aren’t just a black metal band you need to know about, they are quite possibly the ONLY black metal band you need to know about. Their output has been consistently great, but they have really taken some flying leaps forward over the course of their past few releases. Specifically, the trilogy that is 2004’s Si Momentum Requires, Circumspice, 2007’s Fas-Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum, and 2009’s fabulous final chapter, Paracletus.

Paracletus is a beast of a record, an utterly foreign and turbulent hellstorm of endless paradox. It is chaotic as all hell, but impossibly disciplined and precise—see the blasting walls of noise in “Abscission”, “Phosphene”, and “Devouring Famine” for prime examples. But the album has some very endearing and almost easy listening (yet still unsettling) moments, such as the cocktail-jazz-band-from-Hell swing of “Epiklesis I” and the spacier, slower sections of “Dearth” and closer “Apokatastasis Panton”. Sometimes DsO sounds like what Gorgoroth might sound like if they huffed glue all day and covered Dillinger Escape Plan songs. They bring plenty of blasphemous aggression, but do so with an intense musicality and dedication to dissonance that is rarely heard in metal these days.

It is clear that the members of Deathspell are all very talented. The vocals are perfect for the material, the guitars are otherworldly nuts, the bass is refreshingly present and huge, and the drummer might be one of the best drummers I have ever heard. Too bad I have no idea who plays the drums in this band! Whoever it is, they rule-there is some inhuman stuff on Paracletus.

It is also a testament to the band’s talent that they have absolutely no need for stereotypical symphonic elements that are so common in the genre, but when they do use them at the end of “Phosphene”, and in “Epiklesis II”, they add a whole new dynamic and size to the sound. This sparing use of strings and brass makes the impact infinitely more potent when compared to bands who subject you to two minutes of the shit before they even hit the first riff (cough Dimmu Borgir cough cough Cradle of Filth).

This album will repulse you, but you will have trouble turning it off. You will be left feeling drained when it is over but you will want to spin it again. It is engaging, dense, and contains true peaks and valleys, the type of record you have to listen to a few times before you can even start unraveling it. Anyone with even a remote interest in black metal, or metal in general , or music in general should give Paracletus a try, an album that could easily stand as one of the pillars of the genre.

Deathspell Omega – Paracletus gets…

4.5/5

– JB

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