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Deathspell Omega - Inquisitors of Satan CD (album) cover

INQUISITORS OF SATAN

Deathspell Omega

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Inquisitors of Satan is the second full-length studio album by French black metal act Deathspell Omega. The band released a couple of split LPs with other black metal acts between their first two studio albums but Inquisitors of Satan is their second studio album with only Deathspell Omega songs. The album was originally released on LP limited to 350 hand-numbered copies but it was re-released on CD in 2003 by the Northern Heritage label.

The music on the album is old school black metal with lots of blast beats and raspy vocals. The songs have a raw and primitive sound and while there are some variation in the songs there is not much variation between the songs. It´s not long ago that I reviewed the Manifestations 2002 (2008) album which was an unreleased album that was recorded shortly after Inquisitors of Satan. The music on that album was very much like the music on Inquisitors of Satan but of higher quality IMO. Only a notch that is.

The musicianship is generally very good in Deathspell Omega but guitarist Hasjarl does stand out as being the creative force in the band. His playing conjures up images in my mind of cold baren wastelands with cripled trees and nothing but utter despair. No sun will ever shine.

The production is lo-fi but better than the early releases from the band and I can enjoy the music without being too distracted by bad sound quality.

Inquisitors of Satan is another release from Deathspell Omega that speaks only to hardcore fans of old school black metal and if I had to choose one album from the early period from the band it wouldn´t be this one. As I said above I find Manifestations 2002 to be the best release from the early period and I would purchase that one before purchasing anything else from that period. Inquisitors of Satan is a 2 star album IMO.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#204852)
Posted Monday, March 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars If this was my first introduction to Deathspell Omega after reading about them on this website, I would have to wonder why on Earth they are listed in the Prog Archives. But, knowing their later output, there is no doubt this band fits the tech/extreme label to the utmost.

I'll give this band's early days credit; they wore their foul hearts on their sleeves, pumping out primitive raw black metal with a clear aim of capturing that sound Darkthrone achieved back in the early 90s. Unfortunately it's strangely easier said than done. A mistake a lot of these raw black metal bands make involves their attempts to channel a bitter cold and vast atmosphere by compromising their production values. Unlike the pioneers of early 90s Norway, instead of capturing that 'freezing forest' vibe, these later young upstarts are only able to conjure up images of tool benches, dartboards and half empty paint cans, with this album being no exception. The playing is relatively sloppy and treble-heavy which is par for the course, and the cymbals are too loud and distracting while the bass player was most likely passed out on a nearby wicker chair during the recording. The vocals are your standard "goblin who stubbed his toe" delivery, screaming out incoherant evil stuff.

Those who do like their black metal raw and grim would probably dig this effort more than I, but I have to admit I did like some of the riffs here and there, particularly the cool opening rockin' stomp of "Desecration Master" and the last track actually has a hint of that complexity and experimentation with atonal harmonies that would soon mark a complete change in direction of the band into something that barely even qualifies as black metal in the stereotypical 'true' sense of the word.

So yeah, I don't flat out hate this sort of music, but in an overall sense it simply just sounded way too derivative of the thousands of similar sounding groups while offering little to stand out from the legions of mediocre black metal releases by 2002. Deliberately regressive as opposed to progressive in this case...

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#431450)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Inquisitors Of Satan' - Deathspell Omega (6/10)

Nowadays, France's Deathspell Omega are widely held to be one of the most cataclysmic and inventive bands in black metal. As their two first albums indicate however, they were not always so adventurous with their style. As one might be able to derive from the title 'Inquisitors Of Satan', Deathspell Omega's second record falls into the category of lo-fi, old school black metal. Much in the style that dominated the Scandinavian underground a decade before, this band's work at this point is fueled by blastbeats, fast, reverb-riddled guitars, and high pitched screams. While much less of an artistic statement than the albums that would follow this, Deathspell Omega were still an above-average act for black metal, although they weren't treading any new ground here.

Contrary to 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice' and just about everything else that the band would release after this, there is not a great deal to be said about the band's music on 'Inquisitors Of Satan'. I should not need to mention that the band's satanic lyricism was already in full-force at this point, but musically, this is a band that's simply building upon the legacy of the bands that were defining black metal a full ten years before. Had Deathspell Omega stayed like this, it is unlikely that they would have received much recognition, despite the music here being a cut above your run-of-the-mill old school black metal. Deathspell generally sticks with a fast-paced, atmospheric black metal style. The guitars here could sometimes even be said to be dabbling with ambient, or depressive black metal, but there is almost always a great speed to the music.

The production is considerably lo-fi, and those less initiated into the genre may even consider it to be unlistenable. The mixing of 'Inquisitors' is actually quite well done though, relative to the genre. The bass is virtually inaudible, but the drums, guitars, and vocals all balance off quite nicely. The guitars have a great resonance to them, and are easily the best thing about this album. The drums sound tinny and thin, but I would not expect much more from a lo-fi production. Being someone who is already very familiar with the band's later catalog, one thing that surprised me here are the vocals. Shaxul's high pitched rasp is very generic, but it has a good range to it, unlike the latter era vocals of Mikko Aspa, which would usually stay fairly monotone. I may still prefer Aspa's vocals for the fact that they are distinctive, but hearing a more conventional approach in this band's music is surprising, if not pleasantly so.

'Inquisitors Of Satan' is mostly forgotten in the shadow of Deathspell Omega's distinctive set of masterpieces. I would say that this is a record for fans of the band only, but while generic, this is an above average album for old school black metal. This band's early material is not a disappointment, as long as you're not expecting the same depth and intelligence as their later work.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#554235)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Deathspell Omega: Inquisitors of Satan [2002]

Rating: 2/10

Inquisitors of Satan is the second full-length album from the mysterious black metal band Deathspell Omega. While I am not normally a fan of black metal, this bizarre French group's later releases have impressed me with their experimental and unorthodox interpretation of the style. Unfortunately, however, Deathspell Omega were not always the creative unit that they are now. Before pushing the progressive envelope, the band created music that was the precise opposite of progressive. Their debut album Infernal Battles is one of the most horrifyingly boring pieces of muddy refuse that I have ever heard. This sophomore release doesn't fair much better.

To be fair, Deathspell Omega have fixed many of the glaring problems that were present on the debut. The production has improved by a significant margin. This is still a lo-fi album, but it is at least possible to discern what the musicians are actually doing. Unfortunately, what they're doing is terribly uninteresting. Like its predecessor, Inquisitors of Satan drones on with unceasing tremolo picking, blast beats, and screeching. This is a mind-numbingly monotonous 40 minutes of music. I feel relieved when it's over, not because it's loud or heavy, but because it's so interminably dull.

There are a few acceptable moments here, such as an occasional decent riff or vocal technique. However, these tiny things are not nearly enough to save this album from total mediocrity. Anything with a title like "Inquisitors of Satan" is difficult to take seriously, so it's not surprising how lame of an album this is. Everybody but the most hardcore fan of "kvlt" black metal should avoid this at all costs.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#612130)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | Review Permalink

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