Long, long ago, in a country far away... ancient Greece to be precise... the Athenian philosopher Giorgias posited that (a) nothing exists, (b) if anything existed it would be incomprehensible, and (c) even if it were comprehensible it could not be communicated. Scoff all you like at the particularly nihilistic bent of the man’s train of thought, but I can’t help but feel that he was on to something. We still don’t know why exactly we are here on this mortal coil, what happens to conscience after the body perishes. Hell, we haven’t even been able to develop a cure for the common cold...
Anyhoo, I digress. As it relates to DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s music, it is just as hard to come up with a clear understanding or conception of just what exactly is blaring through the speakers. You can call it Black Metal, Avant-garde Black Metal, Technical Blackened Metal, Extreme Metal – no one term really manages to sum up the sheer, ehm, “hugeness” of the cacophony these churn out on “Paracletus”. At this stage in their career they’ve evolved far beyond the somewhat one-dimensional and crude sound of “Infernal Battles” and “Inquisitors Of Satan”, the otherworldly dark and ritualistic vibe of “Si Monumentum...” exists only in essence, and even the chaotic nature of “Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum” has been morphed into something else entirely on here. The songs are still as complex and maddeningly dissonant as always but at the same time there is a strange sense of accessibility at play here. It’s certainly not catchy in any sense of the word but overall the songs seem to flow a bit more smoothly than before, and the switch-ups between the harsh and the serene aren’t as erratic as before. There even seems to be a faint Post-Rock influence that runs throughout many of the tracks, in addition to some atmospheric (French) spoken word parts.
“Wings Of Predation” and “Abscission” show case this new sense of melody and the aforementioned Post-Rock aesthetic, while something like “Devouring Famine” blasts out all the trademark aggression and darkness that we’ve come to know and love from DSO. The disc closes out with the mammoth “Apokatastasis Pantôn” that, in just over four minutes, distils just about every facet of the band’s sound, from the rawness of their first two albums, the oppressing evil of “Si Monumentum”, and the gut-churning complexity of “Fas...”. It throws more than a passing glance to the past but also shows that the band is moving forward in every regard.
Yep, “Paracletus” is quite a step forward for DEATHSPELL OMEGA but everything is handled with the utmost deft, and after a few listens one will realize that the keyword here is not necessarily revolution but rather tasteful evolution. There is just enough diversity on here to keep things fresh but not to the degree that hardcore fans will be alienated. Overall this is simply another excellent addition to the band’s canon of work and another sterling example of well-crafted and forward-thinking Black art.
(Online April 18, 2011)