Friday, January 4, 2013

Deathspell Omega

Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Obombration
2. The Shrine of Mad Laughter
3. Bread of Bitterness
4. The Repellent Scars of Abandon and Election
5. A Chore for the Lost
6. Obombration

This is the long awaited follow-up to the grandiose work “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice.”  Unfortunately I am a little disappointed in it.  Musically it is more a continuation of “Kénôse” than of “Si Monvmentvm.”  For those who loved “Kénôse” you will surely love “Fas” even more, because I would say that it is a grander improvement on the works found within “Kénôse.”

“Fas” is a surprisingly far more technical work than I was expecting.  While this isn't always a bad thing, when something doesn't meet ones expectations that well, one is typically disappointed.  Many people I know had read the interview with Deathspell Omega displayed at The Ajna Offensive and that sort of set our expectations.  For one they stated it would be in similar length to “Si Monvmentvm,” which “Fas” is not.  However, a friend of mine theorized (probably correctly) that it was probably going to be a combination work of “Kénôse” and “Fas” and that would be considered the similar length.  This did not go as planned, obviously.  For me I would say the music is a blending of the song “Diabolus Absconditus” and the album “Kénôse.”  I think “Fas” is a little darker than “Kénôse,” which only helps hold my interest a bit more.  However, the tracks on “Fas” don’t feel memorable to me.  Nothing really stands out.  When compared against “Si Monvmentvm”, “Fas” pales in comparison.  I was expecting something more akin to “Si Monvmentvm” in terms of its mesmerizing and level of eloquence, but even lyrically on this one it appears to follow “Diabolus Absconditus.”  It has more of a feel of dementia and insanity, questioning the points of existence when faced with a tyrannical God, etc.  Either way, I was honestly expecting a greater work, with a lot more hypnotic passages, like those found on “Si Monvmentvm,” but alas, my dream was not to come true.

As I mentioned above, lyrically I was slightly disappointed as well.  You won’t get a lengthy treatise this time around, for those expecting it.  Lyrically this works more like an essay similar to “Diabolus Absconditus.”  However, I found the work to ramble a bit more, have less coherence overall, and was overdone in complexity.  Though, I assume that is somewhat the point of the whole model, since it seems to consist of the concept of mankind dealing with the general insanity of needing some vestigial deity that commands it to do specific things, yet gives humanity free will.  The command’s are, genuinely, somewhat maddening... inherently anyway, so that was probably the whole point.  Regardless of the obvious points that mankind shouldn’t like a slave religion such as Christianity, I found the hidden wisdom content of this work unimpressive.  It seems like the writing is more veiled, but upon closer inspection it is merely the philosophical musings of someone who is mad at all the ignorant beings in the world that follow an organized religion, and then that person slips into madness trying to find their way out.  What can I say?  I didn’t find the concepts all that illusive.  There may be some deeper meanings within it, but the presence of hidden occult wisdom, is sorely missing, something I greatly enjoyed with “Si Monvmentvm.”  By the way, for those who are curious “obombration” means to darken.  Which is probably the integral point of the lyrics.  The truth was darkened by ignorance?  Perhaps.

The booklet and imagery of the work is quite beautiful though.  The imagery is very stunning and tells a story in itself, of people falling into ignorance then setting into prayer because they don’t understand the world around them, then eventually being lead to death and withering.  Though the image that stays constant, I haven’t decided what it is yet.  Possibly the sun, could just as easily be the Earth though, but I suspect it is the sun (since in most ancient religions that represented the ultimate deity).  Each song has its own seal image, which brings a compelling artistic work into play, something I did quite enjoy about the booklet.  It’s similar to what Lux Occulta did on their “The Mother and the Enemy."

In the end this didn't capture my attention as much as the previous works, though I think “Fas” is better than “Kénôse.”  This appears to be the direction Deathspell Omega wants to go in musically, so if this is truly what brings them joy, then there is clearly no point in them changing.  However, I still enjoy “Si Monvmentvm” quite a bit more, because I felt that work had a more compelling message and was a rather fresh sound.  Granted “Fas” and its styling is a fresh sound to Black Metal in its own right, I just had a harder time latching onto the work.  I am sure this will get rave reviews other places, and maybe fame is part of the reason they have stuck with doing this, but I will always enjoy the earlier works more, especially “Si Monvmentvm.”

Various Artist - Crushing the Holy Trinity
Northern Heritage, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

Disc 1: Father
Deathspell Omega:
1. Diabolus Absconditus
Stabat Mater:
2.Above Him

Disc 2: Son
Musta Surma:
1. Ruton Ruhtinas
2. Hän on Pimeys
3. Vakeuden Hauras Tuhka
Clandestine Blaze:
4. Untitled
5. Destroyer of the Nations
6. Trophy
7. Behind the Faith

Disc 3: Holy Spirit
1. Power and Will I
2. Power and Will II
3. Power and Will III
4. Power and Will IV
5. Ei Toivottu Vieras (Intro) / Tyrannia Martyrum
6. Craving Vehemence
7. Unevangel

Side Stabat Mater: ...coming eventually...
Side Musta Surma: ...coming eventually...
Side Clandestine Blaze: ...coming eventually...
Side Mgła: here
Side Exordium: ...coming eventually...

The paragraph you are about to read will be deleted as soon as I review both “Kénôse” and the “Malicious Secrets/Deathspell Omega Split.”  I have decided to abruptly review this work instead of deeply interpreting the lyrical premises for this album, because I feel I can sufficiently attack and dissect this work without such research.  Normally for something like Deathspell Omega I take a solid few months to look over the work and work out what precisely they are attempting to say, but as “Crushing the Holy Trinity” features a track that seems to be somewhat outside the Deathspell Omega concept series, less interpretation is as needed, in comparison to something like “Kénôse.”  I hope that this explains why this is reviewed before the other two magnificent works.

As is typical of me, as soon as I heard this was out I bought it immediately.  What exactly is “Crushing the Holy Trinity 3CD Split.” Here’s the deal, I’ll talk about this split and packaging before I dissect Deathspell Omega’s participation on this, this way I can split up this review more coherently and I must explain what is going on with the split design before I can convey how Deathspell Omega was involved.

“Crushing the Holy Trinity” is basically a series of split albums in one “box.”  I say “box,” in quotes, because truly, it is more of a folder.  Basically the overall conceptualization of this split series took four years.  One would think that after a solid four years of work a digi-book would have possibly been comprised in the design function.  Something like Behemoth’s “Historica” box set would have been a beautiful rendition for such a momentous series such as this.  What you get when you purchase this set is basically a cardboard “sleeve”, it’s not really a sleeve by literal standards, but it is the best analogy I can make.  Inside this “sleeve” is a large booklet inside.  Within the booklet you can find the lyrics to all the works on this split set, and in the middle of the booklet we find the actual CDs.  They are in little plastic sleeves that are, literally, completely separate from the booklet itself, they are loose inside the booklet, so be careful when opening things up, if you do indeed decide to procure a copy of this.  Everything is professionally pressed and rendered, which surprises me even further as to why they chose to present their product in this fashion.  I’m not sure how much money they actually saved by using this method of packaging, but I think in the end they will lose more sales because of the packaging rather than gaining them.  I think Northern Heritage, on some levels, is banking on Deathspell Omega’s popularity to sell this disc set.  Which is a damn shame, because there are other good bands on here like Exordium and Mgła, so one would think Northern Heritage wouldn’t cut corners.  Maybe this is the new business outlook to try and turn people away from your products so no one will want them because the functionality of the product is too annoying for a listener to open up.  I mean Deathspell Omega originally strictly limited the pressings of their albums; Northern Heritage is apparently just taking that to the next level with this packaging concept.  I say that it’s functionally annoying with all accuracy; this is not the easiest packaging to get to your CDs and listen to them if you want to, and it’s not simply opening up a jewel case like most of the world is accustomed with.  Maybe this was a collaborative work between Northern Heritage and one of those puzzle companies.

Deathspell Omega enters the sequence on the “Father” disc, furthering my assumptions that Deathspell Omega is markedly one of the selling points of this split set.  The real unfortunate part here is that with a Deathspell Omega song this good, it clearly will be one of the major selling points, despite how good Exordium or the others are.  I don’t feel that I would be alone in stating that this is by far the strangest Deathspell Omega track I’ve heard to date.  This is even further removed than the works on “Kénôse.”  I’ve heard rumors and hearsay about how this was the last in the trilogy work for Deathspell Omega, with their Malicious Secrets split being the second work.  Honestly, I don’t see how that makes any sense, first off Deathspell Omega never announced that these tracks were part of the trilogy, maybe they play into the overall concept as merely touching upon similar concepts, but they don’t really close this song with any sort of great revelation to me.  Furthermore in the interview on Ajna, which I might have to link again because the world is not fucking listening to me, they say THE SECOND AND THIRD WILL BE OF SIMILAR LENGTH TO THE FIRST.  There, it’s in caps lock, maybe now people can hear, or see, as it were.  Anyway, the lyrical work on this particular concept is very interesting, but in comparison to the mind boggling and eye opening works of “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice,” this is merely a small contender.  Not to mention this is just one song, and I highly doubt Deathspell Omega were going to finish their grandiose concept off with two more songs, regardless of how long, seeing as how the appendix is three songs unto itself.

The track opens with this ominous sample with a French spoken word part by a woman.  I presume this is a sample as the words are not written on the lyrics sheet.  Then we are all brought into Deathspell Omega’s ominous and haunting world as they break into a very dissonant picked chord for quite a duration.  It lends to the haunting feeling and ominous world of the song.  Mikko A. kicks in with his vocal performance; I think this is the one occasion where his lack of meter really provided a great listen.  The lyrics are written in more of a paragraph format and are not broken up into verses.  So right from the start the need to break things into different sections is thrown out the window.  It’s more of a tale regaling the thoughts of a madman in his perceptions of God, so that lends to the feeling that the song should sound insane and should lack a decent amount of format.  Mikko A. does sound far more sinister than he did on previous works, but I think this could’ve sounded far more maddening.  As a vocalist, I would have presented the vocal performance into a far more methodical, yet far more maddening performance.  While we do experience a slight difference in range here and there, I felt that to really drive the point home, some different approaches could have taken place.  This by no means is me saying the vocal performance is bad; it certainly is excellent for the hypnotic Black Metal effect Deathspell Omega was going for.

On this track the listeners don’t really hit a full fledged Black Metal riff until a solid seven minutes into the song.  Everything prior to that is dissonant and haunting structures.  Mikko’s vocal performance for the haunting parts is perfect, but he maintained the same approach through the more traditional Black Metal parts of the song, I think a tonal shift would’ve lent more to the songs structuring.  It really astounds me how often Deathspell Omega can completely rework their sound.  This track sounds unlike anything Deathspell Omega has ever released before.  Granted it has the traditional Deathspell Omega approach written all over it, but in the middle of the song around 10:40 we are presented with something Deathspell Omega have never done before, an acoustic interlude.  This isn’t just any acoustic interlude mind you, such as what we hear in the more traditional works of Black Metal, it is haunting, in-depth, and brings the listener into this apprehensive state wondering what is coming next.  The part that comes to the fore for the first time that I have really noticed is the bass work.  The bass work was very instrumental in making this a more beautiful rendition than anything else.  Eventually it transitions into another acoustic passage this time with Mikko whispering over it, however, the vocals do not take the forefront, they stay in the background.  As if the reader of the lyrics is experiencing a soliloquy on what has transpired before.  After the first sequence of spoken verse is complete I am shocked to hear something wondrous happen.  Overlaid to the acoustic part is a backwards acoustic guitar line played in perfect time with the main guitar line.  I honestly never saw this coming, I assumed that the haunting acoustic works would continue, yet I never expected something this maddening to play into the game.  It’s not even a long interval that this performance is played, merely a few seconds, yet it speaks volumes to the listener.  It truly is a wondrous effect in the song structuring.  However, after the acoustic passage is finished the full force of Deathspell Omega’s Black Metal renderings play forth through the rest of the song making this one of the best Black Metal epics I have ever heard in my entire life.  The guitar lines appear to be more complex in the Black Metal elements, similar to what they brought forth on “Kénôse,” but they have more of the atmosphere of “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice,” which is an aspect I love.

Now, I may not do the lyrics justice in saying that I will not do an in depth interpretation of them this time.  I mostly do this out of respect, I do not know who G. Bataille is and the lyrics seem to be heavily influenced by this writer.  Or, rather, as they put it “credit for tremendous revelation goes, in all humility, to G. Bataille." I can only assume that “revelation” refers to lyrical influence.  It would seem that the overall prospectus of this lyrical work is based on one who has attained full spiritual enlightenment and it has driven the person mad.  It is not a foreign concept to me, for one to think on a level such as God, then that could drive the man mad, especially in the context of the man not being ready or sufficiently prepared to receive this ultimate knowledge.  One could also look at this in a sense that the lyrics present the point of: if you are able to think on God’s true level then you also inherit the madness within God, for truly God is mad to make a world such as this.

Deathspell Omega - Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. First Prayer
2. Sola Fide I
3. Sola Fide II
4. Second Prayer
5. Blessed are the Dead Whiche Dye in the Lorde
6. Hétoïmasia
7. Third Prayer
8. Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice.
9. Odivm Nostrvm
10. Jvbilate Deo (O Be Joyfvl in the Lord)
11. Carnal Malefactor
12. Drink the Devil's Blood
13. Malign Paradigm

This review is eleven pages long.  I feel I should say this now, for those of my readers interested in just the musical aspects please read the fourth paragraph only.  The fourth paragraph discusses the advancement of the musical nature perpetuated by Deathspell Omega.  The remaining parts of this essay, since this is technically more than a marginal review, presents an in depth analysis of the lyrical and metaphysical interpretations of God and Satan inherent throughout the entire text.  For those curious on concepts of higher thinking and who enjoy thinking outside the proverbial box, I have an interpretation of their lyrics.  Whether it is correct or incorrect does not fully matter, I think those who enjoy research on the topics of theology and spirituality will find it a fascinating and enjoyable read nonetheless.

I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on this album, far more than is probably necessary, about its true underlying meaning.  An album of this nature can contain profound philosophical truths that otherwise cannot easily be viewed from a narrow minded perspective.  Deathspell Omega is one of the few bands today that have managed to transcend the musical and spiritual bridge and allow them to coexist in one spectrum naturally.  Now what does that mean you may ask?  Well, throughout the course of this essay hopefully I will be able to bring some light to overall nature of this topic.  This is the first release in a conceptual trilogy that Deathspell Omega is working on; they have spent the past two years working on this to make the conceptual aspects work perfectly with the musical and to transition the aural essence into something more.  Surprisingly, bands, particularly from France, are beginning to pull these aspects together in a more fully explored point of view.  For the first time, I believe, Anorexia Nervosa has managed to bridge into a spiritual concept as well, which was also quite impressive to behold.  Their lyrical conception was not nearly as mind provoking or awe inspiring as Deathspell Omega.  I think Blut Aus Nord goes without even really having to be mentioned here for their “The Works Which Transforms God” spoke volumes about the nature of spiritual transition.  Their music emphasizes a divine essence like no other in my opinion and Blut Aus Nord simply cannot be compared to on generalized levels.

I have read a very lengthy interview from Deathspell Omega, one of the two they ever gave thus far at the time I write this.  Now my opinion on the interview was that they were speaking in a cryptic form on purpose to provoke listeners to go discover truth for themselves.  I feel they are probably quite like me because I do not like to discuss and give away everything I know, especially since many things can be discovered through reading.  I believe research like this helps to perpetuate mankind’s intellect and bring us into a higher echelon of thought.  I prefer the human mind to work in its own way and discover things for itself then one will truly understand how to perceive the knowledge.  They made an excellent point in the interview though; the music on this album is not designed for someone who is not ready to perceive things on a spiritual level.  This album is not meant to be listened to just as something to entertain a listener on an aural level.  If you are interested in Black Metal because you think the music is cool and has nothing more to offer then you are listening to it for the incorrect reasons.  In fact, a person listening in this capacity may have possibly missed the point of the genre entirely.  Also this album is, most certainly, not designed for said person and all of this was laid out in the interview, for they said it better than my abridged version here.  All I can say is that I agreed with most of what they said, some not so much.

In order to start off, allow me discuss the changes and immense improvement upon the Deathspell Omega world.  Also, stated in the interview they mentioned that their earlier lyrical conceptions were very primitive in written form.  Upon reading the lyrics to “Inquisitors of Satan,” I cannot help but agree with their assessment of the situation.  Compared with “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmpsice,” their previous efforts seem quite lacking in concept.  However, they did reuse a song from the first album “Infernal Battles” called “Drink the Devils Blood.”  I find this curious since it sort of fits in with their overall concept on this album, but why did they not write a wholly new song.  They did take the necessary measure to adjust the lyrics for this song, but the music has remained the same.  On a more musical level the music is far superior to previous releases.  It is thought out in an incredible manner, honestly, from listening to the previous works I did not expect something of this degree to ever be released from them.  One of the first things that stuck out was that they use blast beats on the drums, whereas on the previous releases they just used them once and I do not mean the alternating beat between the hi-hat and snare.  I mean the straight forward fast blasts, which caught me off guard when I first listened.  Now the album has some excellent and shocking parts that have a really eerie essence to the songs.  This gives an incredible esoteric feel to the overall album.  They are typically found on the prayer aspects of the album.  “First Prayer” is an incredible intro, which sets the mood for the incredible essence for the whole album.  I believe the guitar track is played backwards at first and soon enough some singing kicks in, reminiscent of an Arabic chant in sound.  I did read a review for this and the person that wrote it stated that it was, in fact, a recording of a Black Mass.  This, unfortunately, has not been verified by me and I would like to know where the notion comes from since Deathspell Omega really does not speak with anyone.  At times the music is similar to that found on earlier releases; however, it is in a much upgraded form.  Much more thought and complexity has been put into the song writing process, which is wholly understandable since they spent two years working on this album alone.  One of the more shocking aspects of this album hits on the song “Carnal Malefactor,” where the song is fairly Black Metal oriented song until about two or so minutes in and then it kicks in with a Gregorian Chanting interlude.  I found this a very shocking aspect to include within this album.  It takes up a rather good portion of the song and gives it more of an ethereal presence to the album, like an out of body experience.  One aspect of the music’s essence I will discussed at the end, because it involves a spiritual belief of my own and transitions into something about Blut Aus Nord.  Musically this album is best summed up with stating that this is more like a religious experience than just something to be seen as music.

I must start my lyrical analytical model by saying that Deathspell Omega far outdoes even my knowledge of spirituality and religious aspects.  I am fairly well read on the topic and I will even include a bibliography at the end of this review for those of you few souls who are truly interested in researching the true meaning of divinity.  However, after reading through the lyrics I have come to the conclusion, even my seven years of research thus far on the topic is quite lacking to interpret these lyrics in any extremely complete manner.  Furthermore, I highly doubt Deathspell Omega will ever be very forthcoming with a full interpretation of the album, or concept series, unless they are interviewed by the proper person whom at least has some background on their underlying concepts.  I found the interview, I read and will reference, very lacking in this aspect, for they were asked some questions here and there, but they gave cryptic answers.  Rather than the interviewer pursuing further explanation on their focal points of knowledge, the interview was merely left to die off.  For all I know this may have been a slight restriction on the interview process because it may have simply been done via the internet e-mail rather than a more interactive mode of communication.  I do not believe this was meant for everyone to understand and they believe this as well and thus they are not forthcoming with such information.

“If you seek His monument, look around you.”  This is the translation of the album title and it is very obvious that there are some serious religious overtones.  While at first glance this album appears wholly influenced by Catholicism and Christianity, but in fact it embodies so much more than that.  I can see direct references concerning The Gnostic Bible and no doubt I’m sure aspects of Kabbalah are found within.  Christianity, for this album, is a major overtone found throughout the lyrical base.  However, I have heard hearsay that this band cannot seem to identify with either being pro-God or pro-Satan.  Throughout my reading of their lyrics I say, verily unto you, they are indeed on the side of Satan.  However, something must be said in terms of deifying an entity.

Over the course of history as one religion replaces another, the original religions deities usually are demonized.  What once was good has now become evil.  A similar occurrence can probably be seen here, for Deathspell Omega deify’s Satan, whereas Christians demonize the entity.  They do identify that Satan brings pestilence to the world per se, but they also view him as a bringer of truth.  As I have come to understand their meanings in the interview.  So by this outlook Satan would be an enlightening deity rather than simply the perception that it is a representation of ultimate sin to the Christians.  I find this a curious outlook or mold to fit into seeing as how God is viewed as the most enlightening figure in a greater majority of religions.  Now the part to really make you think is that Deathspell Omega could indeed be using Satan in the tradition translational meaning: Adversary.  Thus, they would invariably be saying that the God that Christians follow would be a blinding deity and their deity, whom is an adversary of Christianity, is the enlightening one.  So the real question at this philosophical juncture is whose God is technically more enlightening?  Which view holds the meaning of a true God?  Viewed here, one man’s demon is another man’s god and this could be said vise versa for varying religious factions.

Now, I realize that in the interview Deathspell Omega said it was a moot point to study the etymological root of Satan because their perception is purely metaphysical.  I will discuss the metaphysical in a moment, but for now I do think some research on the etymological root of the word Satan warrants some mentioning, though it does not play much of a role in their concept.  “Satan” in Hebrew means “adversary,” as I have pointed out above.  “Christ” means “savior,” for those who were unaware.  Now Satan’s perception in the Bible is that he is Christ’s adversary as far as I have come to understand.  However, if we trace the history back of the entity, it was once called Lucifer.  Lucifer, supposedly denied God in the Heavens and he is the fallen angel.  However, in my research of the Cathar Texts, found in the modern day Gnostic Bible, have a wholly different interpretation as to how mankind was created and Lucifer’s real relationship to God.  I will touch upon this in full later.  The interesting aspect in Deathspell Omega is that even though Satan is meant to be an adversary it seems they are using that image in conjunction with Christ’s words.  Much of the lyrical concepts are quotes from the Bible and I have noticed that, it seems, with alternate interpretations, a true meaning behind the Biblical message can be found.  A great portion of the aspects of Christ’s dialogues seem to be distorted by the current churches, probably because they are afraid of truth.  From this stand point Satan can be viewed as the adversary of lies, which in this case would be represented by the Church.

From the interview, I learned that every image shown within the booklet is derived from the overall meanings conceived within the album, even those with Christian and Satanic iconography.  The front cover is the image I shall discuss more in depth, because the rest are somewhat touched upon in the interview and therefore I see no need to reiterate what has been already written.  Though, they are not explained in full detail in the interview, and I personally do not know the complete meaning of the symbolism even after reflecting upon the interview.  However, I think I understand the cover in a decent enough philosophical detail.  The clue given to us, in the interview, is that the line from the song “Sola Fide” states “The heart of a lost angel is in the Earth.”  The cover features a deformed baby angel above an old and apparently rotting picture of the earth.  This, in turn, could allude to the story of the fallen angel, Lucifer, falling to Earth from Heaven.  This would be an interesting aspect to consider, the heart of evil residing within the Earth.  Think about how that would influence the species on this planet.  If one extrapolates upon this, the conception that the Earth is inherently a sinful place would be a rather factual comment at this point.  For the heart of the Earth would be the one and the same as this angel and thus the inherent evil would be a flux of darkness continuously infecting the Earth and all the species held upon.

The rest of the lyrics to “Sola Fide” have an interesting atmosphere because it states things such as “I spit on Christ’s redemption and to it I shall renounce.”  Later they state “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and He in him.”  Now the only explanation I can think of for this is that the latter statement comes from the Old Testament if memory serves me correctly.  Now denying Christ does not necessarily mean you deny the existence or essence of God, especially on a metaphysical level.  You can do all this with renouncing Christ and seeing his teachings as an abomination of the true word of God.  This is basically how the Jews view Jesus’ message for the most part, which, is why the religions are quite different.  The very interesting aspect of this album is that lyrically they are very anti-Christian yet the lyrics go in line with God.  So it would seem that for them the metaphysical essence of God does exist, but for them they give it the name of Satan.  This, again, fits into the whole theory that I proffered earlier about the ideology of being anti-Christian and yet still being in line with the word of God.  This is an easy achievement, especially for those like me, since I do not view Christ as bringing salvation to this world.  Rather he symbolizes corruption, deceit and many other terms that are synonymous with the Christians outlook of Satan.  Only this is taken from an inherently different side and reference point that most Christians cannot even conceive of.

Now, Deathspell Omega seems to be intent on not confusing people with straight devil worship, because as far as I can tell from the interview they are focusing mainly on a metaphysical aspect of spiritual entities.  I think this warrants mentioning of some interesting research that I have done recently, concerning higher grade genetics research, because this will segue way into an analysis of another song.  It’s interesting to note that recently a lot of scientists have said, based on their research, that they cannot see how there is not a God.  I find this curious because for many years’ science and religion have been opposing forces and for a long time, even in today’s society, many people cannot see how the two things can ever be joined.  Whatever the reason is, in the twenty-first century, they appear to be converging.  However, I personally believe they can and Deathspell Omega seems to agree that on a metaphysical level the truth of our world can be found.  However, for Deathspell Omega the bringer of that truth is Satan, for scientists their truth is found in science and factual observations.  Deathspell Omega in my opinion seem to focus mainly on a philosophical edge of the situation, however, I feel a bridge joined between the philosophical and scientific would be a much stronger argument for what they are trying to convey to the world.  Now an interesting book, which I recently finished, called “The Hidden Face of God” went into great detail how a human being is created on the genetic level.  Starting from a single cell and growing into the multi-cellular organism that appears upon birth.  You see for mammals to be created is a very complex event, especially the evolutionary aspects of the human being.  A lot of things have to happen so that the human female body will not recognize the fetus as a parasitic invader.  Scientists view the complex nature needed for programming the cells with such a vast amount of information as irrefutable proof of God’s existence.  Now it seems that both aspects of research draw the same conclusions that there is a God.  Deathspell Omega, at no point, says there is no God and neither does the scientific research.  The part where the philosophies split is that a greater majority of the scientists view this amazing design of cells forming into a human to be a beautiful thing and come from a loving God.  Deathspell Omega, like most Black Metal bands, views it as an abomination, which is why they probably view the representation of God as Satan.  It is no secret that the human fetus is by definition a parasite while it is in its mother’s body.  Anyway you want to look at it; we come into this world born as parasites.  The fetus is forcing the mother’s body to chemically alter itself to support the life of the fetus, if this did not happen the human species would’ve been extinct a long time ago.  So being born as parasites, what can that mean of our metaphysical creator?  Scientists see it as beauty, Black Metal views it in disgust, yet nature controls all of us to a degree where we feel compelled to reproduce.  Personally I believe it is a little bit of both aspects.  However, if one looks at the Cathar Text of the Gnostic Bible a very scary revelation is revealed as to why Deathspell Omega would choose Satan as their God.

Now when one reads the specific Cathar text called “The Gospel of the Secret Supper,” the reader discovers that it was Satan who created this world and who also created mankind.  I will not subject you to the details, for I would urge you to read the text yourself; I will post the necessary Bibliography with ISBN numbers at the end so you may look it up yourself.  However, it was also Satan who tempted and brought mankind into sin.  Now could it be that Satan had intentionally designed mankind for a sinful nature as a supreme challenge of the mind to overcome it and thus bring them closer to God?  That remains to be said, but this text as well as the rest of Gnostic Bible has been deemed heresy by the Catholic Church and many other religious factions in Christianity.  This comes as no surprise, since it would be a painful revelation for any of these religions to accept that Satan was the creator of this world.  It would also explain further that Satan, upon tempting humanity on a sexual level would be cast out of Heaven.  It would further explain the need for God to destroy the abominations; however, taking pity upon on man, Noah, would see him as a shining light among a damned race.  This is all very cryptic material and is not easy to understand, especially on a metaphysical level.  One thing Deathspell Omega does is they deal with incredibly personal beliefs.  Every interpretation of the texts’ they reference is different, while I do believe my interpretation to be the absolutely correct version; another person will view their interpretation as the correct version.  This is possibly the point to many philosophical musings.  Can the human mind conceive of a world where each person has their own personal interpretation of life and after-life?  This would surely fly in the face of the organized religious factions across the world.  For, I would rather conceptualize a world based on aspects that cannot be contained within any given organized religion.  We are a free thinking species, the deities, or deity, responsible for this creation is, no doubt, well aware of this fact already.  Furthermore, that could be the challenge in itself, maybe one of the organized religions out there is the true path and the challenge for the free thinking species is conformity.  The latter I do not believe to be true, because restrictions in many ways have never yielded much in terms of philosophical truth, nor have they yielded anything for achievements of knowledge.

The album, lyrically, starts off from a mostly metaphysical analysis, but then transitions into humanity’s role on this earth.  I think their view is best summed up in the following verses for “Jubilate Deo (O’ be Joyful in the Lord)”:

“Organic procreation, mind-intromission; there comes the salvation
Pubescent vaginas obstructed with the redeemer’s holy essence
Humanity reduced to its supreme worthlessness;
Children under His will, Ethic fulfilled

Little children, praise the Lord, Praise ye the Lord!
This is the day which He hath made; all will rejoice and be glad in it

Born with the ability of begetting
Only but One gift were she granted
To excrete a new humanity unwanted
Reluctantly she – woman – loves the god of a creation within”

I believe most people will view this as a section that is geared for being sexist or anti-women.  This can typically be viewed as the incorrect interpretation.  Granted, it is no secret that the Bible views women as secondary to men, for in one of the passages it stated “the women’s master is her husband.” (Genesis 3:16)  Though, I feel I should make note that in current advanced genetic research, there have been found to be inherent differences between the sexes on certain levels in terms of mental capacity.  These levels have to do with brain and functionality of the brain.  People will correctly point out that this is not the case for all women, but this is speaking in terms of the majority of the female portion of our species.  That being said for those of you out there who think men and women are equal on all levels, I am sorry to disappoint you, but the truth is that we are not exactly the same.  In fact the faults of men are directly complemented by a female’s major strengths, thus creating a perfect partnership.  Now from this point on in the album it appears that their lyrics conceptually parallel that of a portion of the Gnostic Bible called “The Exegesis of the Soul,” especially the song “Carnal Malefactor.”  The soul in this reading is portrayed in the feminine and it discusses the prostitution of the soul and the seeking of salvation.  I think the overall message of the passage is designed to make the reader wary of such sexual temptations.  However, from the lyrical basis of Deathspell Omega it would appear that they believe there is no other purpose.  But if one references their earlier lyrical aspects I would suspect that there is a purposeful methodology behind the species.  Here is what I think the overall metaphysical nature of the female aspect of our species means for us.

Upon man’s creation God saw that man did not have someone truly befitting to help him in this new plane of existence he found himself.  So, God created women a perfect compliment to man.  Both could help provide for each other on spiritual, emotional and even a servitude oriented manner to each other.  Now a curious aspect comes into the fact that upon this creation he gave the species the ability to copulate and thus reproduce.  So is it a base fact that sexual temptation is merely designed into the human system from birth.  Possibly, but to point at women and say they are the great temptation is a farcical notion in my opinion.   “The Exegesis of the Soul” takes a very different stand point; in this passage it is the men who tempt the women’s soul.  Through this journey of sexual promiscuity of her soul she eventually finds salvation when her soul-mate (called her “brother” in the actual passage, but if one thinks about it, a soul-mate would be interpreted as something from one soul, therefore “brother” is a very proper term to use in this instance) is given to her by God.  I would take the stance that it is a more powerful soul that can resist these forms of temptation.  However, in the passage the woman was not relieved of her whore-like suffering until she truly felt deep regret for her past.  At that time, God took pity upon her and she was given her salvation.  At this point in time the bride-groom took her to the bed chamber and they were embraced in true love making, not like the sexual transgressions she previously experienced, which had no meaning behind them.  I would venture to guess that it is a powerful soul on the side of both genders to resist such base needs as sex.  To embrace the higher metaphysical thinking and curiosity to the purpose of existence takes a special person indeed. Upon this decision, it requires the individual to resist sexual desire from every angle for the most part. 

In an interesting interpretation of the soul on a sexual level, which it seems is a major part of the soul; if one reads Kabbalah some interesting revelations are made.  I think it comes from a perspective where sex is viewed as two souls joining to become one.  This would be the correct interpretation of a proper sexual act, if one wants to look at it on a higher, more metaphysical level.  The Ten Sefirot taught in the Kabbalah have major sexual overtones, but that I believe is because sex is viewed on a much higher level.  Whichever way you look at it, most of humanity desires to have sex for sex sake, whether there is meaning within it or not.  Only those souls that are ready to ignore this facet of our psyche and embrace a more powerful higher meaning behind it are ready to study such things and think on a level far removed from the general populace.  The general populace though presents sex ostensibly as love, though in many cases it may not be.  I know some people will probably read this and say that this is a foolish idea and disagree with me completely.  However, if one is well read on the topic and enjoys thinking, rather than going out with their friends drinking and “checking out the chicks” per se, then you will fully agree with this assessment of humanity’s current situation.  The challenge is to overcome your humanity and become more like a divine being.  Overcoming ones humanity is a notion not all that foreign to Black Metal and has been a philosophical premise for years.  Since it is of a general consensus in this genre that humanity is pathetic and bases most of its life on banal needs.  It comes as no surprise that some Black Metal bands would view their higher spirituality and intellect as betterment to human society, probably because it is.  But it is conveyed through a genre that deals with misanthropy and animosity.  Deathspell Omega stated in their interview that they only expect a handful of people to truly understand the scope and care they went through to create this album.  I personally believe that this is one of the major underlying themes of the album because the sexual nature of humanity could be seen as a continuation of our plague upon earth, if one desires to view it in that manner.  Those of a higher-minded audience will most likely find that those that are enlightened are to be disassociated with the plague, not perpetuators of the system.  It is a multi-faceted concept, not bound to any one religion or philosophy.  The fact remains that sex, perceived as an act of love making, is considered a very spiritual act.  For that is when two souls can come together and join physically and metaphysically all within the same instance.

If one would look at the species as a whole, mating is done a good portion of the time; obviously this varies from couple to couple.  Some people far exceeding normal conceptions of sexual promiscuity and others are achieving new feats of conservatism and chastity.  If you believe in the truly spiritual side, then you would view sex as an odious act for the most part, especially since there is no real reason to increase the population of our species on the planet.  Someone of a higher intellect, albeit seemingly tyrannical, could view this as producing yet more filth to deal with on this planet.  When, on the other hand, it should be cleansed of those with poor spirit and poor intellect.  This is not a new manifestation in the Black Metal genre, however, in order to perceive it by the right thinkers is a wholly new basis.  Most people view the genre in terms of being simply anti-Christian or anti-God; however, this is not such a clear cut case.  The genre is inherently anti-religion, any form of organized (emphasis on organized) religion.  In recent statistical population studies, data has shown that most people who attend some form of church score quite low on a test of spirituality.  This has nothing to do with whether or not a person can identify with spirituality or a higher order of conscious thought.  I find this to be a profound statement about the worth of an organized religion.  From this point of view I would be led to believe that one who ponders religious philosophy on their own or in a group with no one saying something is an ultimate truth would, in a sense, be better served.  If human need is for that to seek spiritual connection with God, then attending an ordered church would in a sense be the improper method with which to achieve divine influence.  I will further present that there is an ultimate spiritual truth, which most of mankind should be able to adhere to.  For within these studies of spirituality it has been discovered that spirituality can be an inherited trait amongst the species.  This is a profound development and showing further that within the human genome there are those who can achieve higher spiritual perceptions than others, or so studies have shown.  Does this prove ESP or kinetic abilities, not at all, but it can show that some people may have a greater connection with a higher deity.  In the end this means that those people who flock to churches or those who preach at such organized events are not the people with this connection.  Those with the higher connection to the underlying secrets of the universe are probably those like Vindsval of Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, and me.  It is not merely something that can be easily understood, but anyone who knows feels the way they feel.  For those who do not fully understand what this means, you may never know in your life-time.  It is a sad trick of fate, but there may be peoples out there who merely are not able to conceive of spiritual connection.  I realize that some readers may interpret this as saying that God is not worth seeking because invariably it is a cruel deity.  This may be true to some degree, but if you extrapolate this perception you may find other truths.  I recommend extensive research in this area for those who are curious towards spirituality.

Deathspell Omega identify that the truth of the metaphysical comes from a blending of philosophies and theologies so that they will converge at some point.  I, personally, believe this is also the correct interpretation.  True knowledge cannot be sought amongst one religion, it’s too restrictive.  Because by human nature, many people want power and by holding knowledge, that gives them power.  Thus within any religion, the truth is restricted to the general populace.  Look at how many years the Vatican withheld a common translation of the Bible.  Keeping the general populace in the “dark,” will constitute someone to a state of power, simply based on the idea that the public feels they have the true secrets or true knowledge.  For people like those in Deathspell Omega who are the seekers of ultimate divine truth they will be viewed as Satanist’s and true followers of heresy.  This is precisely how they want to be perceived by such factions as Christianity because those with full knowledge of their secrets should be feared by those in power.  You cannot label this band as following the Satanic Bible; they do not adhere to such odious and ill-thought principles.  I myself believe such a thing to be a farce, nay, I merely call it glorified Christianity.  For, aren’t those who read such a pathetic work just another “flock,” much like those perceived in Christian society?  As my readers can plainly see, I despise such thoughts produced by the Church of Satan as any band within Black Metal sector.  Furthermore, the so called “Church of Satan” incorrectly uses the etymological meaning behind the name and furthermore stagnate spirituality, just as much Christianity does.  I do not understand the concept that the Church of Satan attempt to use ancient ritual or practices within their ceremonies, seeing as how their view of a higher deity is essentially non-existent.  These foolish humans are the stagnation of God and Divinity to those who are connected to higher forms of thought.  They are no better than Christians in my book and they should be viewed as such by the entire Black Metal community.  The propriety of war upon all organized religion should absolutely extend to these perpetuators of lies.

I do not want to confuse people into thinking that gratuitous sex is the only aspect of society that mankind would have to overcome.  Some of the species feels that higher thinking is achieved through drug use as well.  Wouldn’t the use of drugs be another aspect of temptation?  In my opinion it would, because there are those out there who believe and do achieve this higher metaphysical state without the “help” of such natural or artificial substances.  I posit that this is the correct aspect and true pathway to God.  Only one who is truly of higher development will be able to view and understand it with their mind, without debilitating themselves with such a folly of substance abuse.  This is not a platform where I am preaching my anti-drug beliefs, but it is merely a message for those who think drug use condones higher thinking.  It does not, however, like many other Black Metal bands; I think drugs are good because it kills off the human population faster, especially those who feel the need to indulge in such a fallible activity.  Upon speaking with Black Metal bands that hold spirituality in high regards, I have found that the use of drugs is not one of their methods for influencing their musical creativity.  For use of drugs to find a spiritual path will only lead to a pseudo-spiritual world, one that has absolutely no reference to reality.  A world that is as farce as the substance one would use to reach it.  This message is meant for those who understand the purpose of higher knowledge and no one else.  I feel that many will scoff at what I have written and a select few will see it as an enlightening moment.  Others will merely agree, and with any luck the greater majority of my readers will agree.  In a further addition to this topic, I have read recently that such studies have been made concerning substance abuse and spirituality.  Those people who are naturally predisposed to being spiritual have more of a chemical interaction between monoamines in their cerebrum; furthermore, this can be mapped back within their genetic code.  It really makes one ponder as to the purpose behind all this in nature, since it is not a very necessary trait of survival in terms of Darwinism.  Such an ethos would pan out that we all have a greater purpose in this world and maybe some are more “chosen” than others.  Whatever the reason, it is difficult to ignore such facts from these recent discoveries.  However, the use of drugs will overload the transfer of certain monoamines and possibly give an illusory sense of a desired spiritual state.  I cannot emphasize enough that this state of mind is merely fleeting and not a permanent state.  Though, a study at Harvard involving hallucinogens did have a lasting effect on the subjects in terms of fond memories.  It did not in any way shape or form increase their feelings of spiritual connection to a greater power for the rest of their lives.  It presented them with a feeling of ultimate connectedness in that given point of time, but while under this influence they could not function normally.  Thus, searching for connectivity with this method would lead one down yet another dead end, for the effects are not long lived.  Studies have shown that there are people who experience this feeling of connectivity with the universe at all times and these systems in their brain have the chemical interactions preprogrammed into their natural system.

After having read all the aspects of the metaphysical influences for this album I will now discuss what I had last mentioned on the musical review.  For me this album, most of the time, doesn’t feel like there is a higher power watching over it.  By that, I mean, it does not feel like there is any tangible spiritual essence.  Now an album that, to me, felt like it had a truly spiritual essence throughout it was Blut Aus Nord’s “The Work Which Transforms God.”  It has a certain majesty working throughout the album, as if there is another essence overlaid on the tracks.  Deathspell Omega does achieve this on certain tracks, such as those like the “First Prayer.”  But I found that it did not maintain this illustrious feeling all the time.  Rather, it went in and out as the listener proceeded down the Deathspell Omega journey.  I know a lot about this ethereal essence, for I have been told on more than one occasion that my current music beholds such a quality.  This is exactly the quality I found in Blut Aus Nord and it would seem that it takes quite a bit of time to achieve this special characteristic.  Even Hyperblast’s own Sadistikal has stated that it is a very rare quality amongst guitarists.  It is not something that is easily explained, for those who have read my Blut Aus Nord review; they know exactly how difficult it is for me to put into words.  This essence found on Deathspell Omega, though slightly lacking, is the same kind of essence found on Blut Aus Nord’s and my own music.  I have heard very few bands able to convey this in their musical themes.  I do not expect many to comprehend this, nor do I expect everyone to believe me, because I think for those more down to earth thinkers, they will feel it a laughable concept for it is mostly subliminal.  Nevertheless, that is what I hear and that is what I get while listening to this album.  One could conceptualize that it is written in this manner purposefully.  It would not be an outlandish conception that Deathspell Omega wanted to represent the journey of spiritual realization in full form.  Musically they would be representing the ins and outs of a spiritual struggle as an entity slowly realizes the true purposeful connection to divinity.

This album is wholly designed to bring the spiritual essence of God to mankind and Deathspell Omega’s chosen medium to convey this message is music.  This album is designed to make you think and question the current beliefs any human holds.  Even those who may have already found for themselves that ultimate spiritual truth or even those who are inherently atheists may find some merit in this work, rather than just some enjoyable background noise.  I also agree with Deathspell Omega that only a select few people out there who are ready to understand this album, will truly understand and appreciate what they are trying to do.  It is an incredible art form, as they said Satan is “l’art total.”  Here it is for all to be mystified with.  I only hope that I have managed to touch upon some of the underlying concepts found within this album and managed to represent them in truthful manner, for it is not my desire to deceive in anyway.  Rather my goal is to instill a desire for further education and further knowledge work.  With any luck, I will have done them justice in my interpretation.  In retrospect of writing this I realize the concept of doing “works” as the first songs states is a major underlying aspect to this album.  I hope that this essay can be viewed as one of those great works.  However, I think it will be heavily used throughout the trilogy and that is why I have left it out of my in depth analysis.  That and it would probably take another eight pages to write about, thus I have left it out for a future review.  For doing “works” whether it is for God or for spiritual advancement in general are works nonetheless.  I believe I have referenced the proper material and I hope I have influenced anyone who reads this to find themselves looking through the books I reference below.  For while I believe the human species to be quite disgusting in many aspects, I believe there are those out there who are ready for a higher existence, those who feel that the human species is better than our base needs.  These are the individuals who are most likely targeted for higher spiritual development.  With them they give a certain perspective of the world as being somewhat graceful and beauteous.  I realize this is a rather optimistic outlook on the species, but notice also that I am talking about a small percentage of the population.  As far as it would seem for me to be a genocidal madman, I do think most of the human race should be killed off.  Even though, I will state that there are certain degrees of beauty that would steady such a hand if holding a proverbial genocidal switch.  But maybe that is the point; there is a need for this sort of balance.  Regardless, I believe the introduction to Behemoth’s “Thelema 6” actually said it best, and I will end this review with that quote: “We believe most of the human race should be killed off, because it is unworthy of the gift of life.”

I have decided upon a different Bibliographic method, I will list title of the books first, then the author, year and then ISBN


The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition, 1991, ISBN: 0-89942-973-4

Demonology and Devil Lore Volume 1, Moncure Daniel Conway, 1881 ISBN: 1-57179-040-3

Demonology and Devil Lore Volume 2, Moncure Daniel Conway, 1881, ISBN: 1-57179-023-3

Etz Hayim, The Jewish Publication Society, 2001, 0-8276-0712-1

The Gnostic Bible, Editors Barnstone & Meyer, 2003, ISBN: 1-57062-242-6

The God Gene, Dean Hamer, 2004, ISBN: 0-385-50058-0

Hidden Face of God, Gerald L. Schroeder, 2002, ISBN: 0-7432-0325-9

Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer, 2000, ISBN: 0-7432-0011-X

Tanakh (or Torah), Jewish Publication Society, 2000, 0-8276-0697-4

A Guide to the Zohar, Arthur Green, 2004, ISBN: 0-8047-4908-6

The Zohar Volume 1, Daniel C. Matt (Translator), 2004 ISBN: 0-8047-4868-3

The Zohar Volume 2, Daniel C. Matt (Translator, 2004, ISBN: 0-8047-4747-4

Deathspell Omega - Inquisitors of Satan
Northern Heritage, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. From Unknown Lands of Desolation
2. Torture and Death
3. Desecration Master
4. Lethal Baptism
5. Succubus of All Vices
6. Inquisitors of Satan
7. Decadence

After a full-lengths worth of split material, Deathspell Omega finally give us a proper full-length. Even though "Infernal Battles" is classed as a full-length, lets be honest, it was four tracks with their demo tagged on at the end. Here, though, we get seven new songs entirely! If you've been following Deathspell Omega's career up until now, you'll essentially know what to expect from the project.

While, I feel some of the split material is actually stronger than the songs on "Inquisitors of Satan", that still doesn't make this a weak album. Compared against a lot of other bands trying to perform in this style, Deathspell Omega are a clear cut above the rest in everything they do. While there is no song that can match the caliber of "Insanity Supreme", "Desecration Master" sure does come close! They certainly maintain their ability to create some really catchy sections throughout the album. This is only enhanced by the slower far more driving drum beats underneath them. "Inquisitors of Satan" really manages to stay true to the old and harsh style in feeling, but I think it fails to establish that really immense atmosphere of some of the songs found on the splits. I think if they had managed to preserve that onto the full-length amidst the driving and catchy sections this would have been one of the most impressive releases around. "Inquisitors of Satan" is still a very good album and I certainly enjoy it for what it is, I just think it could have been a little better, but perhaps they were going for a far more straightforward approach to things. Those interesting haunting riffs like we hear on the title track are just too few and far between. Sadly this is Shaxul's last vocal performance with Deathspell Omega. I will, certainly, be very sad to see him depart, as he is one of my favorite vocalists. His voice just has this wonderfully unique quality to it that... well, just isn't matched anywhere else out there. Luckily, we'll get to see him turn up in the even more incredible band Annthennath, which does continue on the raw atmospheric style and probably what I truly wanted early Deathspell Omega to actually evolve into.

If you're a fan of those long gone halcyon days of Black Metal, these early Deathspell Omega releases are some of the finest around. They actually add a little to the older sound and that, I think, is what truly makes this material special and why it is so highly regarded by a lot of the old Black Metal fans like myself.

Mütiilation & Deathspell Omega Split
End All Life Productions, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Beyond the Decay of Time and Flies
Deathspell Omega:
2. Insanity Supreme
3. For Fire and Void Become One

Side Mütiilation: ...coming eventually...
Side Deathspell Omega:

Deathspell Omega is really working with legendary projects for being such a new band at this time, this just gives you some sense of how strong and compelling their music is. This was originally released on 10" vinyl and limited to 400 hand-numbered copies. Sadly, I was never able to obtain a copy of this, as by the following year all of these were gone. Fast forward over ten years later and the prices for this are simply too much to bear at this time. So, it looks like this will never become a physical resident of my archives.

Deathspell Omega submit two tracks for this split and its even more sad that I can't get a copy of this, because "Insanity Supreme" is one of the best Deathspell Omega songs. They really manage to harness this blend of their usual catchy and raw style with this overwhelmingly haunting elements. It really makes the songs exceptional and stand above a lot of other Black Metal out there today. There's a riff on here that reminds me quite a bit of "Extinction of the Weak" and that's certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Deathspell Omega closes with "For Fire and the Void Become One" and this song is a bit more straightforward. It's got a far more sorrowful feel overall and feels even more like and older Black Metal song, but they still maintain their hard driving rhythms. In the face of "Insanity Supreme"  this track feels a little more weak, up until the middle part with the feedback and that illustrious guitar line really setting the stage for some immense atmosphere. I almost wish they would design a whole song around this kind of passage, since they really do an incredible job of constructing that musical space.

In the end, the Deathspell Omega songs are incredible... as usual. I truly love their take on Black Metal. It feels raw and old, yet new and fresh at the same time. I'm not sure they're even doing anything all that different, it just sounds amazing in the grand scheme of the genre.

Clandestine Blaze/Deathspell Omega - Split
Northern Heritage, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

Clandestine Blaze:
1. Will to Kill
2. Blasphemous Lust
3. Raping the Innocent
4. Genocide Operation
Deathspell Omega:
5. Bestial Orgies
6. The Suicide Curse
7. Seal of Perversion

Now after hearing “Infernal Battles” it is obvious that I would seek out all the things that Deathspell Omega had to offer. I even found it worth it to procure their split albums regardless as to how bad the other band sounds. I’m truly glad that Deathspell Omega is the type of band that can live up to this test. The split released prior to this one was with Moonblood and as of the time I write this is currently unavailable. So this is their second split and it is with Clandestine Blaze.

Clandestine Blaze is the type of band I think the world can completely overlook and feel that it hasn’t missed anything. For instance the Clandestine Blaze tracks boast being recorded on an analog 4-track. Darkthrone does this and I believe Darkthrone manages to get way better production. So there’s no excuse for this. There is also no excuse for how terrible they play. The music fluctuates between being on time and off time with itself. It’s possibly one of the more annoying things around. However, it’s not nearly as bad as the Burzum demo, which I listened to tonight as well. So by comparison Clandestine Blaze is genius. At least their tape doesn’t simulate the Doppler Effect against my will. As song structuring goes, Clandestine Blaze is quite boring. The songs are very uninteresting and are the epitome of general Black Metal. Just when I thought they were going to play something good by opening “Genocide Operation” with a great riff. They then proceeded to implement the Judas Iscariot method by playing it for too long and way too many times until it became annoying. Needless to say that I was quite perturbed to see that I would have to skip through Clandestine Blaze every time I wanted to listen to these Deathspell Omega tracks.

Now, moving right along to everyone’s sole purpose for purchasing this album: Deathspell Omega. I honestly would have preferred three Deathspell Omega mini-CD’s over three splits with only marginally good bands. The songs by Deathspell Omega are very similar to those found on the “Infernal Battles.” Now thankfully they are not akin to the “Disciples of the Ultimate Void” demo portion of the “Infernal Battles” album. The tracks have excellent production and are played with the same passion and feel. In fact I would rather have a full length album of all the songs produced in this fashion. The Deathspell Omega tracks alone make this more than worth listening to at some point. If you want to read what I think of this particular style just read my review of “Infernal Battles” for a more in depth assessment.

So in the end the Deathspell Omega songs make this more than worth owning. The drawback comes from the fact that Clandestine Blaze is on here. It’s not that Clandestine Blaze has no ability to play at all; it’s just that if their drummer played more than one beat or the music was more interesting overall that would make a big difference. When putting both these bands together Deathspell Omega just eclipses Clandestine Blaze so much that it feels as if the listener just wasted their time listening to Clandestine Blaze. Despite my assessment of Clandestine Blaze’s music, Deathspell Omega fans should consider this a must have release. Their songs are a little different this time around because I felt they were more epic in a sense. The tracks are dragged out for a longer than expected time, but Deathspell Omega knows exactly how to keep a listeners interest without boring them too much. Nor do they repeat the same “good” riff constantly throughout the song until it begins to suck. Consider this a worthwhile purchase in the great scheme of things.

Moonblood & Deathspell Omega Split
End All Life Productions, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Moonblood: Sob a Lua do Bode
1. Forgotten Spells in the Forests Nocturnal
2. A Silent Dream of Impurity
3. Bells of Apocalypse
4. I Hail the Night
Deathspell Omega: Demoniac Vengeance
5. Follow the Dark Path
6. Morbid Rituals
7. Yells from the Abyss

Side Moonblood: here
Side Deathspell Omega:

This split is basically a dream come true for me. Two of my top favorite bands on one release. Now, I can't remember which came out first "Infernal Battles" or this, but judging by the production, I feel like this is higher quality, so it probably came out after. I know the Moonblood material was supposed to be released elsewhere, but that fell through, and I'm so glad that Deathspell Omega picked up their side of the split and released all of this together! This comes on a beautiful gatefold vinyl limited to 350 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #282. This also features one of my favorite album covers ever made.

This is, truly, a wonderful collection of tracks. They really build on the style laid on the "Infernal Battles" half of their debut. However, these tracks seem to be a little cleaner on the production end, albeit they are still nice and raw old sounding Black Metal. Nothing is overproduced here. One thing I've always been enamored with Deathspell Omega is their ability to compose rather catchy sounding riffs, but have this ugly and awkward feel to them. It's similar to what Mütiilation has been able to pull off over the years, but Deathspell Omega isn't as sorrowful sounding or nearly as dissonant. With Shaxul's signature rasp giving life to the songs, we truly have some wonderful material and one of the most legendary splits ever released. They bring three more wonderful songs that could have easily been included on their debut.

Whenever I revisit this old Deathspell Omega material, I am so sad that this era of theirs ended so quickly. Despite their influence on the later scene, no one has really come close to composing in the same fashion they used to. Highly recommended listening.

Deathspell Omega - Infernal Battles
Northern Heritage, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Infernal Battles:
1. The Victory of Impurity
2. Drink the Devil's Blood
3. Extinction of the Weak
4. Sacrilegious Terror
Disciples of the Ultimate Void:
5. Raping Human Dignity
6. The Ancient Presence Revealed
7. Knowledge of the Ultimate Void
8. Death's Reign (Human Futility)

After the demise of Hirilorn, Shaxul and Harsjarl moved on to form a more pure Black Metal band called Deathspell Omega. This band has not played any shows to my knowledge and when this album was first released in LP format in the year 2000 they limited it to two-hundred copies and had no intentions of ever selling another one. According to my sources, what ended up happening was the band got tired of seeing bootlegs of their records being sold on Ebay for exorbitant amounts of money, so they decided to actually print a compact disc version in 2003. Every record distribution company I am in contact with is constantly selling out of their entire discography, which is very impressive for such a new band.

“Infernal Battles” is their debut album and it is essentially viewed in two parts. The first four songs, “Infernal Battles,” are new studio tracks while the second part, also four songs, is their original demo entitled “Disciples of the Ultimate Void.” The demo material is marginally interesting, it is a demo with quite poor quality, so what is one to expect? It actually sounds more like a rehearsal recording. The songs are good songs, but they are just standard raw Black Metal compositions. I personally found very little merit in these four songs and had this been the only thing I heard from Deathspell Omega I probably would not have been as interested as I am today. Though, amongst the demo the song “The Ancient Presence Revealed” has a much thrashier feel to it, feeling a bit more reminiscent of Gorgoroth at times. After hearing the “Infernal Battles” aspect of Deathspell Omega prior to the demo it really stands out and seems out of place in their overall style of Black Metal. The demo quality is raw, with the guitar feedback being the opening aspect of almost every track. There are some people who really enjoy that recording quality, so you may find a lot more merit in it than I do. However, the guitar tone is so scratchy and hisses that at points it is sort of boring/annoying to listen to. The vocals are sort of in the background, but you basically hear them well enough. They've really improved a lot from these days, but we can hear glimpses of the more interesting style they would develop over time. There are hints have that catchier style they include in a few sections of the "Infernal Battles' piece. The band was clearly still feeling out the direction they wanted to go in.

The “Infernal Battles” aspect of this album is where things really start to impress the listener. Granted this is what you hear first, so it makes sense that you will be impressed right off the bat. The production is a little better than that of modern Darkthrone, but the songs have that cold feel to them throughout the album. Now they sound nothing like Darkthrone, in my opinion, from a song writing stand point. In fact, I honestly would rather listen to Deathspell Omega over Darkthrone, but that’s because Deathspell Omega have a certain essence in their guitar tone. Just listen to the feel of the song “Extinction of the Weak” and you will understand what I’m talking about. The song has this almost ethereal essence as it comes to a close. “Infernal Battles” opens with “Victory of Impurity” and it’s nothing complex. In reality I believe Deathspell Omega’s simplicity is what gives them something special to their sound. Progressing from that point in the song they have some thrash types of elements in riffs here and there. For the most part the guitar work is very ominous sounding and has fairly hypnosis inducing effect on the listener. The most favored aspect to this is that this is not raw Black Metal. In fact I found the recording quality to be very desirable. I can hear absolutely everything that’s going on in the song and pick up the subtle hints in differences between the lead and rhythm guitars. Each of these four tracks featured on the “Infernal Battles” aspect of the album are masterfully written. I’m not sure why the band would ever keep something this brilliant so obscure, but alas they did. However, they could not keep it for long though because people did recognize their inherently natural songwriting talent.

The closest thing we come to a blast beat on this recording is on the opening of “Drink the Devil’s Blood,” which is about as fast as it gets for Deathspell Omega. I think one of the most impressive aspects of this is that while the guitars are playing something very hypnotic, the drums manage to make it still sound rather catchy. This is an impressive thing in my opinion because it doesn’t seem like something that would work very well when trying to convey it to someone conceptually. The vocal work found on the newer recordings is, at times, monotonous, but the music varies so much that to hear the same vocal style over the different aspects offers a seemingly different rendition to the songs every time. There is some vocal variation here and there, but for the greater majority of the songs it is a very similar vocal pattern. However, I found their vocalist to be fairly unique in terms of Black Metal. He does not have the typical styled Black Metal vocals and it is tough to explain why exactly. All I can say is that you will have to listen to it to fully understand what I am saying. Though, at a first glance many will probably disagree with that statement.

The interesting aspect of these re-releases is that in the booklet most of the lyrics have been blotched out. Apparently the lyrics that are present on all these early works were not very serious for the band. It’s as if the band has said that in the writing process the lyrics were not that important for them at this stage of their existence. I can see why this would happen since Deathspell Omega was never really planning on releasing any of this to the masses. They probably did not spend much of their time taking care to write meaningful lyrics. It also makes sense that they would desire them stricken from their record since they were working on an incredible three part work lyrically. Clearly the members put a lot of time and effort into the new lyrical works and it would completely dwarf their more ignorant lyrical concepts. So for the albums that were released to the masses we are left wondering what Deathspell Omega didn’t want us to see.

Finally, this is an incredible Black Metal release. I think most of the raw Black Metal fans in the world will appeal to this release, mainly because they will enjoy the demo tracks. However, I think even the fans of the highest quality Black Metal will enjoy the first four songs. For it is the first four tracks that are truly amazing.

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