Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
Release: 2011Jan25 (US)
Label: Season Of Mist
Deathspell Omega is one of those bands that makes me feel blessed to be a heavy metal fan these days. This French black metal group are already cult legends in Europe after having completed a mighty trilogy debating Christian theology, especially the battle between good and evil, from a literary viewpoint. But the first two volumes of the trilogy, Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice and Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignum Aeternum were also masterpieces in sound as the band fused classic black metal with prog rock like the undeservedly obscure Van Der Graf Generator.
There’s not much that’s been revealed about the band. They’ve never toured, even though they’ve released a handful of albums. There’s no photos of the band available nor is there any information about who play on their albums, so the “band” is purely theoretical. It could even be a one-man project like countryman Niege’s Alcest. But these secrets only fuel my interest for Deathspell Omega.
Luckily, they follow through with a mysterious visual approach. The record cover is a painting which has a medieval vibe; a snakelike creature is born of flames and rears its eight heads at the listener. The included liner notes are full of symbolism and opens with a quote from Matthew 12:32: ”Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age, or in the age to come.” Dark music, indeed.
Even though Paracletus completes the trilogy, it marks a change in the band’s sound. It’s the group’s most conventional record to date—very bleak and aggressive, but the sacred interludes, female vocals and experimental soundscapes from its predecessors have been replaced by blastbeats and punishing riffs. They’ve also woven red threads to contemporary post-metal and the darkened songwriting of bands such as Neurosis and Triptykon. After a while I’ve come to discover a certain groovy quality—a lazy nod to bands like Lamb Of God and their ilk.
This fusion keeps the album growing after several listens and it’s taking its rightful place among my most cherished records. If you like blackened metal with a twist, do yourself a favour and buy Paracletus. It’s a classic!
01. Epiklesis I
02. Wings of Predation
06. Epiklesis II
08. Have You Beheld the Fevers?
09. Devouring Famine
10. Apokatastasis Pantôn