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Deathspell Omega - Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice CD (album) cover

SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRES, CIRCUMSPICE

Deathspell Omega

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.76 | 60 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The term "black metal" was simply born as a title of the 1982 Venom album who was one of metal's first bands to venture into a more ambitious extreme new world but like Rosemary's baby was just a mere sprout that morbid and fertile imaginations would transmogrify into the harsh and ugly wave of extreme metal that began in Scandinavia. While bands like Hellhammer and Celtic Frost nurtured this evil spawn through the toddler years, it was a fast learner and soon the Swedish band Bathory would unleash the first true black metal with its trademark fast tempos, shrieking vocals, heavily distorted buzzsaw guitars and tremolo picking. Originally the style began as more as a Pagan based rebellion against religious intolerance but soon it would attract a second wave of followers who would take it to absolute extremes.

Once the floodgates were opened, a whole legion of imitators followed and this extreme form of metal splintered into myriad directions. Atmospheric with ambient keyboard use, industrial black, war black, Viking, blackgaze and even hybrids with death metal and many other non-metal genres. The great evolutionary diversification splintered with subject matter ranging from hostile misanthropy, anti-Christian sentiments, Pagan folklore, romantic Gothic tales and depressive hopelessness. While bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Emperor and Gorgoroth frightened the masses with their cacophonous din with some even having burned down a few churches in their wake, these face painted miscreants were more focused on adolescent angst and shocking appearances as the rebellious antithesis of Christianity rather than delving into the philosophical theology of true Satanism.

DEATHSPELL OMEGA were a part of this legion of imitators with two albums that sounded like countless others based in the second wave of black metal with their second album "Inquisitors Of Satan" sounding like it easily could've been slipped into the Darkthrone canon and no one would've thought twice about it. As if Satan himself had selected this mysterious and anonymous French ensemble, the band emerged from a rather generic epigone to one of the most experimental and intellectually developed outfits within the entire black metal universe. On their third album SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES, CIRCVMSPICE (Latin for "If You Seek His Monument, Look Around You,) DEATHSPELL OMEGA launched the first of a trilogy of albums that focused on the Theistic Satanist's perspective and one that ostentated that Satan is pervading every aspect of the physical and metaphysical universe and that Man's relationship with Him should be one of reverence and devotion.

While lyrically entranced in Satanic metaphysics in a liturgical presentation, stylistically the works are heavily influenced by the 20th century French philosopher Georges Bataille. Musically DOS evolved significantly beyond the second wave tritone dissonance into a sophisticated progressive black metal band that utilized wide varieties of stylistic shifts interspersed with unpredictable time signature changes and even incorporated complete deviations from metal altogether into Gregorian chants that take references from the Christian Bible and fully invert them as heard on the beginning "First Prayer" that finds backmasking wrapped around the liturgical sermon. The album, like true Satanic ideologies, is rife with symbolism both visually in the album cover and liner notes but also with the juxtaposition of Christian philosophies with dark arts metaphysics. This is the real deal. A musical experience so dark and heavy that it makes Anton LaVey's Church Of Satan look like a skit with the Church Lady on 80s Saturday Night Live.

SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES, CIRCVMSPICE is a very long album. At 77 minutes and 47 seconds it was intentionally designed to mimic the structure of progressive rock double albums from the 70s with each fictitious side opening with a prayer with an additional lengthy devotion occurring with the eleven minute plus "Carnal Malefactor." While the album doesn't let up in its intensity for one second, the diverse elements that flow through manage to keep even the most attention span deprived metalhead from bouts of ennui. While segments flow and find repetitive segments of structure, the band's approach is to change the instrumentation subtlety and also at time startlingly abrupt, by offering up new riffs, new drumming patterns or vocal rants. At times the band plays together as a cohesive unit in traditional black metal fashion but more often offers up the most avant-garde and mind bending displays of angular dissonance and progressive bombast. The overall impression of this album is that of a black mass from a fly on the wall perspective.

DEATHSPELL OMEGA took the entire metal world by storm with SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES, CIRCVMSPICE, having created one of the most thought provoking and musically mysterious metal albums of the ages. This is the kind of blackened art album with the sophistication of great classical composers with every composition, production value and lyrical utterance casting a darkened cloud over the world and twisted into an unholy irreverence in an antithetically aligned manner that goes far beyond a flaming vitriol for Christianity but rather ups the game to become its equal. While DEATHSPELL OMEGA could be viewed as a pseudo-intellectual cauldron of mumbo jumbo, there is no denying that their craft has mastered the art of Christian inversion to its logical conclusion and utilized its own contradictory Biblical passages against it with a thoughtful and peremptory authority. While cleverly presented, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, the newfound masters of the great Satanic theological soundtracks hadn't quite attained perfection as it would on the follow-up "Fas ? Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum," but it's pretty damn close.

4.5 but rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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