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DEATHSPELL OMEGA

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • France


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Deathspell Omega biography
DEATHSPELL OMEGA is a Technical Avant-Garde Black Metal band from France. They are one of the best known bands in the Norma Evangelium Diaboli movement among brethren including Watain, Antaeus, and Funeral Mist. The identities and locations of the band members are currently unknown. Furthermore they have never played any concerts and no pictures exist of the band. It should also be known that DEATHSPELL OMEGA has no official Myspace page, does not intend to have one, and is not in touch with the people who opened the currently existing and absolutely unauthorized pages. Their early records, EP's, splits, and demo were raw and simplistic black metal in the vein of Darkthrone, early Immortal, etc. Since then, their music has greatly progressed to include highly technical, experimental, and even some ambient/post elements into the mixture. They have also adapted to a cleaner and better produced aesthetic.

Though the band members identities are unknown, they have given a small amount of interviews on their beliefs and such. Their lyrical content deals primarily with the concepts of religion on a metaphysical level and more specifically Satan, God, and their relationships with man in everyday life. They are often praised for being lyrically more thorough and 'advanced' than most other black metal bands.

Their two full length releases: Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice (Latin for If you seek His monument, look around you), and Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum (Latin for Divine law - Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire) are the first two serials in a conceptual trilogy. Though the two albums are linked by concept, they are both musically unique. The trilogy proclaims the relationships of God, Satan, and man. The first installment 'Circumspice was focused on the concept of Satan, Fas' was conceptually based around man, and the third yet unreleased installment will theoretically be based around God. Because of their religious groundings in their lyrics, they are often referred to as 'Orthodox', 'Puritanical', or 'Religious Black Metal'.

- Bio information provided by Jake Kobrin, edited by HughesJB4.

WHY THIS BAND MUST BE LISTED IN PROGARCHIVES:
The band uses long and complex compositions with a good dose of Avant Garde thrown in, backed up with technical playing from the band members to create a unique progressive black metal sound.

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DEATHSPELL OMEGA Videos (YouTube and more)


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The Synarchy of Molten BonesThe Synarchy of Molten Bones
Season of Mist 2016
Audio CD$11.99
Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice (reissue)Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice (reissue)
Season of Mist 2012
Audio CD$9.35
$9.34 (used)
DroughtDrought
Season of Mist 2012
Audio CD$6.62
$6.61 (used)
ParacletusParacletus
Season of Mist 2012
Audio CD$11.87
$34.16 (used)
Diabolus AbsconditusDiabolus Absconditus
Import
Noevidia 2011
Audio CD$8.96
$12.70 (used)
Mass Grave AestheticsMass Grave Aesthetics
Import
Noevidia 2009
Audio CD$10.37
$10.24 (used)
KenoseKenose
Import
Noevidia 2007
Audio CD$16.36
$12.99 (used)
ParacletusParacletus
SEASON MIST AMERICA 2011
Audio CD$32.48
$16.00 (used)
Chaining The KatechonChaining The Katechon
AJNA OFFENSIVE 2009
Audio CD$74.51
$23.58 (used)
Infernal BattlesInfernal Battles
Import
Eal Productions 2010
Audio CD$35.85
$74.63 (used)
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DEATHSPELL OMEGA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEATHSPELL OMEGA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.20 | 19 ratings
Infernal Battles
2000
2.64 | 21 ratings
Inquisitors of Satan
2002
3.73 | 50 ratings
Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice
2004
4.10 | 85 ratings
Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum
2007
3.83 | 62 ratings
Paracletus
2010
4.86 | 9 ratings
The Synarchy of Molten Bones
2016

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.40 | 6 ratings
Sob A Lua Do Bode / Demoniac Vengeance
2001
3.04 | 7 ratings
Clandestine Blaze / Deathspell Omega
2001
2.16 | 6 ratings
Mütiilation / Deathspell Omega
2002
3.54 | 13 ratings
Crushing the Holy Trinity (Father)
2005
4.33 | 6 ratings
From the Entrails to the Dirt
2005
1.42 | 7 ratings
Manifestations 2000-2001
2008
2.27 | 7 ratings
Manifestations 2002
2008
4.80 | 10 ratings
Deathspell Omega/S.V.E.S.T.
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Untitled Vinyl Box
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Untitled Vinyl Box
2012

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.38 | 8 ratings
Disciples of the Ultimate Void (Demo)
1999
4.45 | 30 ratings
Kénôse
2005
4.76 | 22 ratings
Veritas Diaboli Manet In Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon
2008
4.60 | 15 ratings
Mass Grave Aesthetics
2008
4.90 | 10 ratings
Diablous Absconditus
2011
4.45 | 19 ratings
Drought
2012

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Synarchy of Molten Bones by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.86 | 9 ratings

BUY
The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'The Synarchy of Molten Bones' - Deathspell Omega (90/100)

When Deathspell Omega at last completed their definitive trilogy with Paracletus in 2010, it wasn't clear what direction the band would take. They were finally in the wake of their great Work, after all; black metal met its logical pinnacle a decade ago with the perfect Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum, and the following album had justified itself based on the fact that it had managed to rein in that swirling perfection with restraint and melody. Now that they had not only touched madness but now harnessed it as well, it could constitute hubris to believe that their sound further.

The following EP Drought amazingly proved that prediction wrong with its slightly reinvented style, now a greater part Dillinger Escape Plan than Darkthrone than ever. Even 21 minutes it not only demonstrated potential beyond the trilogy, but acted as a perfect epilogue to the genre's greatest undertaking. Their exploration of God, Man and Satan was characterized by the image of Lucifer's descent to Hell from Heaven; just as Lucifer fell, it was easy to infer the fall of Man as well from the apocalyptic resolution Paracletus ended on with "Apokatastasis Pantôn", a resignation to the "pit of silence" and (translating the term) restoration of all to its primordial or original state. Where Paracletus might have ended with Apocalypse, Drought offered a glimpse of its result; a spiritual drought as much as a physical one, the annihilation of the sacred, dogs and cats living together; total [%*!#]ing darkness in other words, with all semblance of hope a bygone afterthought, "like Adam and Eve at the end of time..." With Drought DSO essentially achieved for their theological explorations what they had previously done for the music from on Paracletus after Fas, drawing their arc past the point of climax as a sort of denouement. And all that with a refreshed , mathier take on that last album's style without losing the melodic heft.

Because Drought left the irredeemable fate of Man fairly cut and dried, I think it could have been a perfect place for Deathspell Omega to have called it quits. Of course I wanted nothing more for my favourite band to boldly return, I just don't think there was a clear path for them to progress; whether musically or lyrically, DSO pushed it further than anyone ever has (and likely ever will) in black metal. As such, the only places for the concept and music to go were, respectively, rebirth and regression. Those two terms arguably describe the Synarchy of Molten Bones more effectively than all else I could say about it. Deathspell Omega has, in 2016, drawn themselves back to the brink of annihilation and chaos. The album (arguably an EP at 29 minutes) more closely recalls the brutal calculated noise of Fas than anything before or since, to the point where it might be called its spiritual sequel. While there's part of me that bemoans Deathspell Omega not having kept up their innovative streak, or that a four year wait and supposed "full-length" status aren't justified by its runtime, all of it pales in comparison to the awe of hearing these masters in action again.

The Synarchy of Molten Bones isn't a game-changer the way Fas, Paracletus, or even some of the EPs were for me, but there hasn't been a doubt in my mind that the album well-deserves its instant acclaim as a masterpiece. I think if you've felt even slightly underwhelmed by the album, take a look at the competition. In addition to a quarter of my own life having come and gone, the time between Paracletus and now has seen a notorious surge of DSO clones. Some have been brilliant and most have been good (few have thankfully been flat-out bad) but I can't think of a single acolyte of theirs that comes close to capturing the technical insanity and atmosphere here. Even if it's 29 minutes long, it never feels that length. Cutting out a lot of the ambient and "mellower" sections from Fas, this is indisputably the most brutal and punishing Deathspell Omega have ever sounded. Nods to Fas are fast and frequent. With "The Synarchy of Molten Bones", the music opens up with discordant symphonic overtones, closely echoing the "Obombration" pair. The odd chord choices, tone, hell-- everything felt instantly familiar to my ears from the first listen, with ominously terrifying guitar screeches tossing a bit of a curveball early on. It doesn't take long for Deathspell Omega to fire up to full speed from there. I think some of the unhinged twang from Drought has found its way into the formula here -- some of the less byzantine moments even recall Paracletus -- but there is little doubt where Synarchy's true loyalties lie.

Conceptually, the album preaches a spirit of rebirth and renewal, though you shouldn't think hope has found a place in that equation. It's like Man has been brought up once more only to writhe in a world made now in Satan's image, rather than God whom He usurped in the last trilogy. Amid numerous references to Greek mythology (an idea I hope they continue to stick with), it feels as if DSO are taking the narrative voice of Satan Himself. There is a common reference to Iatros, that is a healer, likely referring to the continued struggle of God in this cosmic mess. The frequent idea of healing ties in well with the idea that the Synarchy of Molten Bones means to continue the exploration they left off with Paracletus. However, in truly Satanic fashion, even the Godly idea of healing here is twisted. The title "Internecine Iatrogenesis" says everything about DSO's theological concept of rebirth. With iatrogenesis literally meaning "brought forth by the healer" and internecine describing something as "mutually destructive", you can probably come to your own conclusions on Deathspell Omega's theology. Much like Fas, it's often difficult to tell where one song begins and another ends. I laud the return of this unrelenting chaos. There's barely a second for a listener (especially those with weak constitutions) to catch a breath. If you're coming as a returning DSO fan, you know the drill. The sound is constantly rife with blastbeats and frantic drum patterns that defy human understanding. The guitars are immaculately cold and are only sometimes decipherable under the drums and daemonic vocal articulations. Although the guitars and drums are roughly on par with albums past, Mikko's vocals might actually outshine his past collaborations with DSO. Given that the lyrics this time speak directly as Satan, it fits the album's style that his vocals would somehow become even more terrifying inhuman and bold. I do miss the stronger vocal integration on Paracletus, but the disconnect between the vocal phrasing and the frantic instrumentation beneath lends the impression of a Satanic sermon more than a pre-calculated performance purely for music's sake.

It's hard to express in words how powerful the atmosphere in Deathspell Omega's music really is. So many of their core traits have been elevated to the point of being near-clichés, whether by the orthodox black metal scene or the burgeoning wave of experimental metal from the current decade. It is fair to feel disappointed by the fact that the Synarchy of Molten Bones has fallen back on familiar ideas, as opposed to building a new framework for the current generation like I'd hoped, but it's ultimately asinine to criticize a band for sounding like themselves. For everything its worth, the apparent flaws of Synarchy are smoothed out by its depth and repeated listens. I might still consider the new album more as an EP, but for its length it works perfectly; layer upon layer of instrumentation and detail will keep any attentive listener rapt far longer than most albums twice its length. Only the production, which feels a step down from Fas, and a few lower than Paracletus, really stands out as a shortcoming, although it only seems that way in the context of their other masterpieces.

One question remains on my mind: Would people have lost themselves over the Synarchy of Molten Bones if it hadn't been released alongside under the fabled DSO name? I didn't think so, at least at first. But as I threw myself further into the album, listening to it, reading lyrics, pondering its concepts, there is no doubt it can stand on the weight of its own merits. This is the kind of crippling composition and musicianship only they of any are worthy to conjure.

As Deathspell Omega conduct their own rebirth, all others shall pale and kneel.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical.

 The Synarchy of Molten Bones by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.86 | 9 ratings

BUY
The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars A staggering six years after their last full length album and four since their EP "Drought," the ominous and mysterious DEATHSPELL OMEGA has decided to play peek-a-boo with their admiring public by leaving the shrouded mists of their Luciferian whereabouts purportedly to be in their native France in order to drop their newest musical expressions of horror metal that psychoanalyzes the human condition and delves into the deepest recesses of the human mind to unleash their unique brand of sonic terrorism that brashly rips through the soul and extinguishes hope, slays unicorns and obscures light-filled rooms with impending doom and darkness

The title track begins with a short classically oriented soundtrack symphony before the full DEATHSPELL OMEGA fury is unleashed just after a minute cutting to the chase of the better most chaotic and dissonant aspects of "Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum." Chaotic eddies of sound circle like sharks around the wounded blood-dripping frenetic wretched shrieks that pontificate Satanic litanies and intellectual quandaries of humankind's relationship to the greater cosmos. The many aspects of the previous decade's "Si Momvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice" to "Paracletus" seem to have been unleashed simultaneously and are now battling it out to see who will conquer Hades itself and become the new dark master.

"Famished For Breath" continues the brutal chaotic buzz saw guitar churning out oblique and angular chops at breakneck speed with no apparent song structure other than tortured screaming chants of anguish as the beam of light in the sonic tornado. This track picks up even more steam as well as more bantering bedlam. While on previous releases DSO would unleash dissonant cleaner jangle chords separately from the buzz saw fury distortion of the guitar and bass combo, here they all continue their mosh pit glissade.

After a short respite of simply jangle guitar dissonance "Onward Where Most With Ravin I Meet" continues in full pandemonium by suddenly erupting into tumultuous instrument abuse and anarchic oscillations that churn on for indefinite amounts of time and then suddenly transmogrify into a new form of horror metal yet never simmering down into a digestible orderly fashion. This is chaos but chaos on a leash where the leash appears to be the vocals centering the swarm of sonic madness around its core however the ending of this one surprisingly calms down as if the eye of the hurricane has offered a brief glimpse of placidity between the destructive pummeling tentacles of sound.

"Internecine Iatrogenesis" jumps back into the chaotic frenzy with Herculean percussive pyrotechnics, even more sinuous angular rhythms and a sense of the strongest part of the storm hitting like a category 5 hurricane that parked itself over the village only to obliterate it to smithereens. This "Iatrogenesis" is more than an adverse effect from a medical complication but rather the full wrath of the gods delivering every available lightning bolt and power allowed them for complete and utter annihilation of the helpless masses below.

Whew! This sounds like a Satanic inspired "greatest hits" of sort that takes all the elements of the band's career and throws them at the listener like a juggler pummeling a passerby with chainsaws. While ferocity is common in the heavier arenas of black metal, only DSO juxtaposes intensity with tonal dissonance and a nerve racking jitteriness like no other. Rarely does black metal have a genuine feel that it was directly channeled from the Dark Lord. This is "music" that is guaranteed to stimulate those already indoctrinated into the cult but for the rest who dare not trespass into these arenas, stay far away and if this comes near you, run and hide. A true soundtrack for Mordor here.

 The Synarchy of Molten Bones by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.86 | 9 ratings

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The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars After four years of silence, Deathspell Omega dropped their sixth full-length album pretty much out of nowhere. Stylistically, this album serves in many ways as an effective summation of their styles from 2004 to 2012; it's already been compared by listeners to "a more focused Fas", but one can find elements of Si monumentum, Kénôse, Paracletus, and plenty of other Deathspell releases, as well. However, unsurprisingly, the band also explores some new territory here. It's not as big a difference as Fas was from Si monumentum; it might be about comparable to the difference between Paracletus and Fas. The band remains as terrifying as ever; I once described their music as "controlled chaos", a paradox that seems as accurate as it's ever been. Their music manages to be dissonant while still containing a strange kind of beauty at the same time; a great example comes at the end of "Famished for Breath"

Lyrically, the band remains as intellectual and inscrutable as ever. (Your guess as to what the third song title means is as good as mine; however, the final song title is worth analysing. "Internecine" means mutually destructive, and "iatrogenesis" is an act of attempted healing that proves harmful; thus, "internecine iatrogenesis" is an act of attempted healing that proves destructive to both the healer and the healed.) Early analysis of the lyrics suggests that they've begun incorporating elements of Greek mythology into their world view. The album artwork is currently believed to depict Apollo. Their view of the cosmos remains unflinchingly dark, which perfectly suits their music.

I've been quite enthralled with Deathspell Omega's past work. After about ten listens, I have already concluded that this may be their finest musical work to date, and of course, it's one of the finest albums of the year. If you enjoyed any of the band's previous material, you will need this in your collection. I can't unconditionally recommend this, because their style will not be to everyone's liking. However, if you are attuned to their musical vision, then I can certainly unconditionally recommend this for you. Works this good don't come out too often, and we're incredibly lucky that this band is still making music. If we have to wait another four years for their next work, it'll be worth it as long as they continue putting out records this good. Five stars.

 Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 85 ratings

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Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by GentleGenerator

5 stars Picture the most extreme music you have ever heard, multiply it by Gorguts and you have Deathspell Omega. I have been a fan of Deathspell Omega for almost a decade now. Until recently I was only familiar with Si Momventm Reqvires, Circvmspice, a fantastic album in its own right but altogether different from the experience presented in this album. Beginning with the ominous Obombration, this album generates a uniquely dark and extreme experience. It is as progressive as any black metal album I have heard, and this is coming from a huge fan of the genre. No time is wasted on pandering atmospheric melodic passages. Instead the focus is on creating the most intense and fulfilling metal experience, with dissonance at its heart. Insanely technical and chaotic verses give way to incredibly satisfying passages of brooding melody and groove, while interludes of silence separate these themes. Bread of Bitterness serves as the highlight of the album, beginning with a groovy riff that is repeated throughout the beginning of the song, between passages of the utmost chaos and dissonance. Ultimately the song gives way to a despairing middle section of King Crimsony groove, while the bass guitar brings in a melodious and ominous presence. Things wind up, only to fall back into the groove, but only briefly before the massive crescendo. It is unlike anything I have ever heard, a monument of heaviness and nuance. I haven't even mentioned the lyrics, which deal with the metaphysical casting of Satan from the heavens. In fact, the lyrics are of the utmost importance, as they are written first and the music is structured around them according to an interview given by the band. As a whole this album offers arguably the most progressive metal experience out there. There's a reason Luc Lemay of Gorguts and Josh Elmore of Cattle Decapitation cite this band as a massive influence. They are at the forefront of progressive metal and this album is among the best they have to offer.
 Untitled Vinyl Box by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Untitled Vinyl Box
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

— First review of this album —
4 stars Not to be confused with the later box set collecting the band's Mikko Aspa-era "trilogy" material, this vinyl box set collects Deathspell Omega's earlier Shaxul-era material, from before they evolved towards orthodox Satanism and also before they introduced the degree of complexity into their music for which they are now known. It's become a cliché to dismiss Deathspell's earlier works as primitive Darkthrone worship, but this is unfair. The band certainly adhered to the primitive recording quality associated with the genre at this stage in their career, and their songs were certainly less complex during this era than they are now, but there are still plenty of head-spinning time signature changes and lengthy compositions here (discs 3 and 5 in particular average around seven minutes per song).

Infernal Battles is the band's first album, collecting four new songs on side one with the band's earlier demo on side two. The cheaply recorded demo is the only material in this set that truly sounds like nothing more than Darkthrone worship, and even this uses unconventional time signatures starting with the first song. The recording quality is very low, however, with most frequencies over 10 kHz being inaudible. However, the band makes up for this with some truly magnificent riffs. This isn't likely to appeal to progheads, but it's good stuff nonetheless. The other side of the album has better recording quality, and already showcases a growth in musicianship and composition from the demo tracks. The band later re-recorded "Drink the Devil's Blood" for Si monumentum requires, circumspice, but the song is already impressive here. The other songs are of a similar calibre.

I'm going to review this material in rough chronological order rather than in the order the box set presents it, so next up we have Manifestations 2000-2001 (which collects material from splits with Moonblood and Mütiilation and the Black Metal Blitzkrieg sampler) and the material from the Clandestine Blaze split. (Note to interested parties: Clandestine Blaze is a solo project of Mikko Aspa, who is generally assumed to be Deathspell's second vocalist; however, none of the band's material is presented here, as only the Deathspell Omega sides of their splits are presented). The band stretches out at length here, and explores styles not commonly associated with Deathspell Omega; "The Suicide Curse", for example, could be considered an example of depressive/suicidal black metal. The riffs here are even more solid than those on their début, and the band is actually shockingly melodic here for people only familiar with the band's later material. This is still fairly primitive stuff, but a growth in musicianship is clearly observable here, and for people who enjoy old-school black metal on its own terms like I do, much of it will prove to be a slice of musical heaven.

Inquisitors of Satan dials back the song lengths slightly, but the band's growth in musicianship is further evident here. The riffs remain killer throughout the record and the audio quality is a step up from earlier material. The lyrical subject matter remains fairly standard-issue black metal fare, with little of the philosophical sophistication found on later releases, but that's fine for what this is. This album is generally regarded as the best of the band's Shaxul-era full lengths, and I can't disagree with the conventional wisdom here.

Manifestations 2002 collects material recorded in 2002 intended for splits but not released until 2008. It provides a missing link between the more primitive black metal the band recorded earlier in its career and the more complex Mikko Aspa-era material that would make them famous. It's easy to see why Shaxul, who has favoured more primitive material in his solo career, got disillusioned with the band's direction here and left; the band was unquestionably moving towards progressive black metal here. This may be the strongest material in this collection, although my personal favourites are Manifestations 2000-2001 and the Clandestine Blaze split.

Now, the obligatory audio quality note: The first disc appears to have been remastered for vinyl, without the "loudness war" problems of the CD version (which, to begin with, were the least severe of any of the albums in this collection). The album is, however, the most primitively recorded of Deathspell's material, with the demo side being truly lo-fi. Unfortunately, none of the other discs appear to have undergone similar remastering, and it's worth noting that the mastering of the Manifestations collections, in particular, was very bad, with audible clipping on every song. This is honestly the only demerit I can give this set from a technical standpoint (it would have been nice to have black or clear vinyl available, but the audio fidelity here isn't really of the level where it makes much of a difference).

In summation, whether you enjoy this collection will mostly come down to whether you enjoy black metal for its own sake or whether you only enjoy the more progressive strains of the genre. This set clearly depicts a band evolving from primitive black metal to progressive black metal, but most of the actual progressive material is left out. If Deathspell Omega had only recorded this material, they almost certainly wouldn't have an entry on Prog Archives. However, for interested listeners, this set will prove to be a goldmine. It's also an instructive listen for people who want to hear a band evolve from more primitive material to more complex material. I can't recommend this set for everyone, and you'll probably know from reading this review whether you'll be likely to enjoy it or not. For the people who enjoy this kind of music, though, this collection is difficult to pass up.

 Untitled Vinyl Box by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Untitled Vinyl Box
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

— First review of this album —
5 stars One of the most essential black metal bands of the 2000s and 2010s gets a vinyl box set treatment of its finest works to date. While the fidelity of picture discs is frequently lambasted, much of the material here (namely, the contents of the first four discs) has been separately mastered for vinyl, and sounds substantially better than the typically brickwalled CD versions.

The band's Mikko Aspa era started with the double album Si monumentum requires, circumspice (Latin for If You Seek a Monument, Look Around You), which serves as a mission statement for everything the band has done since. It unveiled the band's trademark blend of dissonance, unusual time signatures (though these had been present on previous works as well), complex arrangements, orthodox Satanism, and experimentalism. Much of the album is given over to furious blasting, but the band proves to do this in a much more musically sophisticated fashion than most of its peers. The production is also a major step up from that of the band's previous work; it still sounds filthy and savage, but the album is recorded and mixed clearly enough that every musical detail is clearly audible. This proves all to the better on the departures from the band's black metal sound, such as the three "prayers" and the Old Church Slavonic chant section in the album's centrepiece "Carnal Malefactor". SMRC is a landmark album in the field of black metal whose stature has only grown with time.

The band quickly followed this up in 2005 with an additional two LPs' worth of material between the EP Kénôse (French for Kenosis, a doctrine in Christian theology referring to Jesus' "emptying himself") and two side-length pieces that were released at the time on split albums. Kénôse is even more dissonant and complex than SMRC, and shows the band's growing musical maturity. It's also philosophically more sophisticated than the band's previous works, showcasing a thorough examination of Christian redemption. From the same era, the twenty-two-minute "Diabolus absconditus" (Latin for "The Devil Is Hiding") lyrically examines existentialism while musically it alternates between blasting dissonance and, strangely, a lengthy acoustic guitar segment accompanied by whispered vocals. "Mass Grave Aesthetics" is the piece on this box set that does the least for me lyrically, but it makes up with it for a musical tour de force that may be the band's finest hour to date.

Fas - ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum (Latin for Divine Law - Depart, Ye Cursed, into Everlasting Fire) dials up the band's dissonance and complexity even further. With only four proper songs averaging about ten minutes each, the band packs in as many complex riffs as possible and mixes them with head-spinning philosophical lyrics that examine the band's exceedingly pessimistic view of the cosmos. Both God and Satan are presented as essentially incomprehensible to humanity, while man is doomed to suffering. While most of the album is given over to frenetic blasting, the album is also underpinned with creepy pianos and an orchestra, and several passages of the album are nearly silent, which makes the returns to blasting only all the more terrifying. The album climaxes with an utterly gorgeous guitar solo at the end of "A Chore for the Lost", which proves to be one of the album's only concessions to melody. The album is a harrowing listen but remains a landmark of the genre all the same. It's essentially black metal's answer to Gorguts.

The band followed this up with the EP "Chaining the Katechon" (included on disc 7 so as not to break up Paracletus onto two discs, also released as a split with fellow travellers S.V.E.S.T. entitled Veritas diaboli manet in aeternum, Latin for The Devil's Truth Remains in Eternity). Once again the band contributes a twenty-two minute slab of head-spinning black metal, and this time around they waste no time in getting started from the gate. The album largely maintains the style of Fas without the gaps this time around, though it is slightly less dissonant. The album also closes with clean singing, a rarity for Deathspell. Another strong work from reliable black metal stalwarts.

The band's most recent full-length album to date, Paracletus (Latin for Paraclete, meaning comforter), looks from the track list like it simplifies the band's sound somewhat, and to a certain extent this is true when compared to Fas, but appearances can also be somewhat deceiving, as it is essentially two slabs of continuous music averaging roughly twenty-one minutes each. The album is slightly more melodic than Fas, and the riffs are slightly simpler, but this is no primitive Darkthrone worship here. You're still getting musically and intellectually sophisticated music of the highest order. Pointing out track highlights is essentially pointless, though the closing track "Apokatastasis pantôn" (ancient Greek for "Rebirth of Everything") bears mention for its substantially more melodic, almost post-rock take on black metal. A career highlight for sure.

The band's most recent EP Drought closes out the set. Like Paracletus this one consists mostly of continuous music (there are brief gaps between a few sets of tracks here) and this may be the lightest material on this set from a musical standpoint. The band's music barely has anything left in common with traditional black metal by this point, but that's hardly anything worth complaining about when what's here is so good. The band fills every proper song with truly mind-boggling riffs and the album's intro and outro are unique in their catalogue, with the former sounding like a mix between Led Zeppelin and Earth, while the latter includes a particularly nice groove on the bass guitar. The only thing to regret here is that it remains Deathspell's latest work (although the launch of their Bandcamp in December 2015 may herald upcoming new material).

I can't recommend this box set enough. The music is flawless, and my only complaints with its presentation are that it wasn't pressed on black or clear vinyl, and that the last three discs aren't remastered for vinyl. Still, those are minor complaints, especially since the price tag of the box when it was released was startlingly low given how much music is on it ($111 + shipping for nearly five hours of music on vinyl is a hard price to beat). This band's work has been a landmark in the field of black metal, and this box set collects the best of it. Unconditionally recommended.

 Inquisitors of Satan by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.64 | 21 ratings

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Inquisitors of Satan
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars While DEATHSPELL OMEGA's second album INQUISITORS OF SATAN has been totally overshadowed by the releases that follow for good reason, it is by no means a waste of time checking out this album. While the debut showed an extremely talented band doing their best second wave lo-fi version of Darkthrone from the decade prior, this second release shows a major step up in the evolution of their sound. Far from the formidable behemoths of black metal beginning with the very next album, but hints of what's to come.

The music itself is that good old school, raw and nasty mix of distorted buzz saw guitar riffing that becomes one with the bass to render the two indistinguishable, a frenetic drum workout complete with blastbeats and high quality raspy vocals to die for. This is a transition album between the primitive debut and the highly developed follow-ups. This album shows the debut of DEATHSPELL OMEGA's propensity of alternating styles. While most of the tracks would feel at home on Darkthrone's "Transylvanian Hunger," there are many departures into purely black rock 'n roll where it feels like hell has gone to the 50s prom and just wanted some good time music from the past. The distortion and overall sound is the same but the contrast between the black metal sound and the old time feel is stark.

I guess i like this one a bit more than most. It hosts their long time fascination with Satanic metaphysics and shows a leap closer to the jangly dissonant progressive workouts they would hone into perfect. While not as spastic and unpredictable as the famous trilogy beginning with "Si Momvmentvm Reqvires, Cicvmspice" the seeds have been sown in an unholy place for them to fester into the great beast that would come. An enjoyable slice of lo-fi brutality if i do say. While hardly essential, i do not find this to be banished to the collector's only bin because i actually really dig listening to this one for the amazing performances on board.

 Infernal Battles by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.20 | 19 ratings

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Infernal Battles
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars INFERNAL BATTLES is the first full release by DEATHSPELL OMEGA, well sort of. The fact is that the last four tracks are actually those from the previous demo release "Disciples Of The Ultimate Void." Not even re-recorded but merely available on CD. The first four tracks are new but I would probably deem this to be classified as an EP. At this early stage the band was far from its experimental and progressive brilliance that fully developed a few short years later. On this album we hear an anachronistic old school black metal sound that is almost a decade too late. While the demo tracks are extremely lo-fi in the vein of Darkthrone with Summoning screams and wails, the new tracks are clearly better produced and sound more like an early Darkthrone album both instrumentally and vocally and although they are still dirty filthy black metal it at least it doesn't sound like it was recorded in someone's garage.

I'm really not sure why a band that obviously plays so very well musically would offer up so little in the terms of creativity. Are they showing us here what their intents are for the future? That meaning they wish to capture the spirit of the early Satanic black metal from the past by offering this lo-fi by the numbers offering only to dazzle us with a huge leap in a short time later? Who knows but I have to say this is not a bad album. If this HAD come out 10 years prior it would be well respected. While there is nothing on this album that would interest non-harcore fans of aggressive and highly distorted old school black metal, it is true that if that is a style you really, really love then this release is something you will probably find appealing, however.... this really is derivative to the point that they should have just called themselves "Darkclone."

 Disciples of the Ultimate Void (Demo) by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
1.38 | 8 ratings

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Disciples of the Ultimate Void (Demo)
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars DISCIPLES OF THE ULTIMATE VOID is the debut demo by DEATHSPELL OMEGA before they blossomed into the great metaphysical Satanic black metal force that would unfold in a few short years. Nothing on this debut suggests the ability to reinvent themselves to such heights for on this lo-fi indie release it all about trying to reinvent the wheel with absolutely nothing as far as innovating. With an obvious fetish for worshiping Darkthrone on this demo I actually feel like the raspy vocals and their chaotic delivery remind me more of early Summoning. This is really one of those hard core fan things. If you can stand lo-fi dirty and brutal old school black metal that is by the numbers you might like this one (as I do) but the lack of creativity on this one means you may enjoy the excellent musicianship on board but at the same time feel underwhelmed. This was only released on cassette in 1999 on a total of 66 copies but was included on their debut album "Infernal Battles."
 Paracletus by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.83 | 62 ratings

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Paracletus
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Imagine a black metal band hijacked an orchestra's tour bus and forced the musicians to play whilst they were driving over a bridge - that's the sort of dense, multilayered cacophony which greets the listener when you put on Deathspell Omega's Paracletus. Using a wide range of instrumentation, careful production and the techniques of genres ranging from post-rock to noise rock as well as their avant-black metal roots, the band create something which at first listen sounds like typical black metal chaos, before you realise that in fact it's a richer, denser mass than first appears. There's always a bit more going on with Deathspell Omega than meets the eye, and nowhere is that more true than on Paracletus.
Thanks to HughesJB4 for the artist addition.

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