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Reviews

Deathspell Omega: Drought

26/07/12  ||  The Duff

The praise rained down on Deathspell Omega is practically universal. For a long time they’ve been the masters of the black metal world and taking it into unexplored, beautifully progressive and dark terrain. Their last record, “Paracletus”, was the closure of the trilogy about Satan, God and man’s relationship between the two; it was a disappointment for me at first, the more progressive elements making me long for the harrowing sonic beating that was the masterpiece “Fas”, but over a year since its release became something of cult-status all on its own, a piece of music just as majestic yet even more subtly driven and yet another part of this French band’s almost flawless legacy.

Two years on, and Deathspell are ready to practice what they, in the minds of many, do best, release an E.P (this probably being their shortest in some time but still playing out as one complete track). This band has always produced startling output in such a format, examples being “Kenose” and “Chaining the Katechon”, the latter considered largely as their crowning achievement. Most noteworthy is that both displayed a shift in style only to precede remarkable albums that would take black metal that much farther; it’s as if they test the ground first before taking the next logical evolutionary leap all of their own in order to change the sub-genres constraints, only this time, with “Drought”, despite some real nice touches, the style isn’t that much of a departure from “Paracletus” as unlike “Si Monumentum…” to “Kenose” and “Fas” to “Chaining…”.

As with “Kenose” and “Fas”, on “Drought” Deathspell come in slithering, eerily setting the tone before blasting into the frenzied atonality listeners by now should be accustomed to. The drums on the last record never fail to astound regardless of how many times I listen to them, and here you’ll find no different. The music, as ever, is exceptionally written; complex, winding, melodic, dissonant, polyrhythmic and completely engrossing. I’ve fallen close to sleep with Deathspell before only to awake shit-scared, and thankfully, if you are a pussy like me, you’ll find exactly the same with “Drought”.

Most odd of all though is the Blut Aus Nord-style closing, which while all good and dandy, makes me think both bands should be kept separate – don’t get me wrong, I love The Nord, but personally feel it’s Deathspell taking the sub-genre forward. BAN have, with the exception of “Dialogue with the Stars”, essentially released the same album at different paces over the past several years. I feel it to be a regression on Deathspell’s part, yet the record closes beautifully in a regretful, “Why am I so eviiiiil?! WHY?!!” manner, as on “Paracletus”.

The production is nigh identical to everything they’ve released since “Fas” – crystal clear, light and eerie during the tamer sections and drowning for the full-on maelstrom parts. All in all, the addition of some ‘riffs’ as opposed to just ongoing energies is a welcome one, a step on from “Paracletus” that too revealed a thought for definite, identifiable structures here and abouts time-signature-wise to allow the listener a break.

“Drought” is a great little E.P., a magical ride that only just fails to meet expectations purely on the grounds of the band’s faultless history of continuous evolution. Deathspell essentially can do no wrong, their output as prolific as it is something to look forward to each and every time.

9,5

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Normal Evangelium Diaboli
  • Website: Deathspell Omega MySpace
  • Band
  • Khaos: bass
  • Hasjarl: guitars
  • Mikko Aspa: vocals
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Salowe Vision
  • 02. Fiery Serpents
  • 03. Scorpions & Drought
  • 04. Sand
  • 05. Abrasive Swirling Murk
  • 06. The Crackled Book of Life