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Deathspell Omega - Drought CD (album) cover

DROUGHT

Deathspell Omega

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.34 | 14 ratings

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frippism
4 stars Deathspell Omega go pop!

Fine, not just there yet, but I'd think that if you were really keen to get into DsO, this is the release most likely to be the easiest to swallow. Yes, it still ain't easy, particularly for those unacquainted with the particularly raw and abrasive side of black metal, but I'm glad to say that the wheels are slowly and constantly turning in DsO headquarters, and their sound is changing. A few of the traits that could have been noticed from their last LP-Paracletus- shorter songs, more melodies, cleaner production, are carried at times even farther on this EP. What I had made it harder for me to enjoy "Paracletus", is what I like here. And even better, it has made me enjoy "Paracletus" more then I did before.

The shorter songs here, work for the most part very well in this 21 minute EP because DsO managed to create a flow in between songs that was apparent in an album such as "Fas- Ite, Maledicti, in Ignum Aeternum", a trait which I found was one very important for me in DsO releases. The whole, prog-influenced, take on the "album" or the "release" as a single flowing entity, is what makes DsO's albums and their just-as-strong slew of EPs a whole experience. And for the most part, with "Drought" this is pretty much the case. 3 out of the six songs could be seen as some sort of interlude or prelude.

The album opens with a track that I wouldn't expect out of DsO- "Salowe Vision". It is almost a post-metal/ post-rock instrumental affair, with big, thumping drums and dramatic floating piano and these thick guitar chords. The bass I would say, also displays a big part of the mix, which is quite a pleasant shock. From this very first track you can hear the new production and how well it works. The drums have never been clearer, the bass has never been more... there (it is usually thick and heavy on the treble and is actually usually quite intricate and interesting), the guitars have now taken a smaller presence, which maybe somewhat negates from the absolute wall of sound DsO could bombard, but has allowed the guitars a chance to achieve more melodic capability and possibility. So when it does reach the good old insane blast beats- they still make your mind into demonic jelly, but you can better understand what sort of demonic jelly. "Fiery Serpents" starts loudly, but shockingly melodic and almost beautiful. And the buildup to the blast beats is the first time very exciting. The blast beats don't get tiring with DsO- constantly intense, erratic, with the guttural vocals which work so well with DsO, half "singing" half narrating in their own Satanic, demented sort of way.

When things get truly insane with "Scorpions & Drought" (by the way I'm appreciating the decision to ditch the Latin. With the fantastic EP "Diabolus Absconditus"- the title was rather silly sounding), the guitars are so powerful- but manage to fully encompass the higher notes without compromising from the overall bulldozer of sounds. That is also a lot because of the drums, which are as always, absolutely mind blowing- an absolute power house like no band I have heard before, and also because the bass is there to truly support the wall of sound which consisted mostly of the raw guitars in previous releases.

"Sand" manages to play further with the melodic chord arpeggios which have already been displayed in "Paracletus" and is a short and successful, I guess "prelude" to what must be one of the most powerful DsO songs I have heard, and generally one of the more abrasive songs ever- "Abrasive Swirling Murk".

DsO manage to show that oh my flying unicorn they can be loud. Oh dear god how loud! And the groove that starts out this song! An absolute epileptic dream, with low guitars chords and this almost Latin rhythm! I swear if I knew how to dance salsa I'd dance to this! With that, the song manages to shift and turn and slide and slither and blast into this great, again more melodic bit, with a fantastic guitar melody, almost just melancholic, and not monstrous and Satanic. And the bits of ambient in this track- with these tiny bits of piano or synth or whatever it is- just pick on the ear and add great depth.

Things return to the weird atmospheric vibe of the first song "The Crackled Book Of Life"- another instrumental affair, which at first somewhat underwhelmed me but is now probably my 2nd favorite after "Abrasive Swirling Murk". A steady beat similar to "Sand" gives out to this epic bass and these wonderfully arranged strings- synths I think but maybe not. The creepy rising and dropping melodies which again give out to one of the more memorable guitar moments in a DsO. It in eventuality sort of breaks fades out with and in come these dramatic chorus synthesizer which ends the EP with a rather bone-chilling final gasp in a way.

It is safe to say, that DsO are going in a direction that I'm very keen to see them take. Who knows, maybe eventually they'll be on "Top of the Pops"? A favorable shift of sound is more than welcome, finally, to make our ears once again fall into an endless abyss of darkness and death, but an abyss more accessible than ever before. 9 kvlts out of 10 :)

P.S. the artwork on the EP pretty much instantly became one of my absolute favorites. Beautifully detailed, frightening, and just plain awesome.

frippism | 4/5 |

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