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Deathspell Omega - Knse CD (album) cover


Deathspell Omega

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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5 stars "Knse" signifies the act of Jesus Christ degrading from his divine traits to a simple, mortal being by having the mission to rejoice with humanity. For this, he has to obey faith and live until his death by crucifixion.

Deathspell Omega's recent extended play record, with the same name, portrays this in an astonishing way. However, they have reinvented this with luciferian and metaphysical principles. It is the man trying to establish a relationship between God and Satan. A balance, an equilibrium between the two deities if I can put it this way. The three tracks of this album are not ordinary songs. In fact, they are citations that Deathspell Omega might have invented. I am unsure if the lyrical content is either pure ingeniosity or simply taken from historic books about Lucifer. None-the-less, it is simply incredible. Here are examples from each tracks :

"Kenosis, O theory of great peril! Blinded, sanguineous eyes and with a trembling hand..." (Taken from the first song.) "Instigating manifold quadrants of industrialised death, an avid Moloch, never satiated, an endless Feast..." (Taken from the second song.) "The fruit that is forbidden holds the greatest potential for providing infinite knowledge..." (Taken from the final song.)

On a musical and professional aspect, the members are unknown. They refuse almost all interviews, which is surprising for a brilliant band such as Deathspell Omega. The music, simply put, is not your ordinary type of black metal. Hailing from Paris, France, this black metal outfit modernizes black metal and makes it more mysterious and enigmatic, which where the artwork displayed in the booklet comes in. The painter is clearly a talented one. Truely bizarre and sinister, you can have a small clue to what he is referring to. The 40- page booklet displays citations, quotes from the Bible, famous authors and even existential quotes.

Back to the musical aspect, the first track begins with the cymbals reflecting slowly, beat by beat and then, the guitar riffs appear on a frightening, slow pace, which reminisce the works of Neurosis and Cult Of Luna but in Deathspell Omega's own twisted, blackened version. Four minutes after this, you can hear an opera sample and then, this is where things get tense. Pure raw black metal making its way in the track, making Darkthrone proud. The second track is more psychedelic and technical than the precedent one. The final track is what black metal is about. Violent, sinister and decadent but a little bit more melodic. At the end of the track, the sound gets more of an ambient touch, almost transforming into doom metal with Sunn O))) as the background musicians.

Overall, Deathspell Omega have proven to be the most unpredictable and the most mysterious black metal band to have ever walked this planet. At this moment, I would consider this band to be on the top of the mountain in black metal. Why? Three reasons, their musicianship is undeniable, the sound is more intense than usual black metal and the main theme displayed both in the album and in the artwork, all credits sent to the painter and creator of the booklet by the way, is more developed than before. Deathspell Omega might be a "religious" band. However, do not waste your money on Satyricon's new record, with all due respect to this band. They might be and will be a good run for your money.

Report this review (#227577)
Posted Sunday, July 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Knse is an EP release by French experimental black metal act Deathspell Omega. The total playing time is 36:19 minutes distributed over 3 long tracks called I, II and III. While the bands early releases dont interest me much with their old school black metal aesthetics, my interest in Deathspell Omega was really ignited with the release of the Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice album from 2004. That album show an adventurous and experimental approach to black metal that I really appreciate.

The music on Knse futher expand upon the experimental approach to songwriting and playing that was initiated on Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice. While the atmosphere on the EP still reeks of old school black metal aesthetics, the music that Deathspell Omega have composed for this EP goes far beyond what you usually associate with that style. While the band would probably cringe if they read this, Ill risk my neck and call the music on Knse progressive in the true sense of the word. Deathspell Omega twist the conventions and bring in elements from other genres to create a very unique and experimental form of black metal. While there are loads of fierce blasting parts and raspy vocals in the songs, there are as many unconventional elements in the music such as twisted and adventurous guitar riffs, tempo and what sounds like time signature changes too, industrial elements and some atmospheric dreamy sections. The EP even starts with what I would characterize as a couple of minutes of post metal. It almost sounds like Deathspell Omega invited Neurosis into the studio to compose and play the first couple of minutes. It works wonders IMO. The air is thick with harsh and dark atmosphere and with the twists and turns in the songs Im kept on my toes at all times. Just the way I like my music. The three songs are very long ranging from 9 to almost 16 minutes which means that the songs are allowed to develop and change direction several times. Theres not a second on this EP thats not entertaining.

The production needs a special mention here as it really works well and gives the music even more character. While everything is perfect in the mix and theres absolutely nothing lo-fi about the sound, its still organic and creates the right atmosphere for the songs. Its not one of those modern digital productions with triggered drums which by the way would probably have ruined music like this.

Knse is not an easy listening EP and I know it took me many listens to fully grasp the bands vision with the music. But if you enjoy demanding ( progressive) music that doesnt sacrifice power and dark atmosphere for technical playing or awkward shifts in musical style and direction, Knse could be your poison. Dont get me wrong here though, because the playing on Knse certainly is technical and there are shift in musical direction on the EP too as mentioned earlier, but it works so well and natural and never feels forced that its possible that you wont even notice. An achivement like this deserves at least a 4.5 star rating from me. I have the deepest respect for artists who are able to make experiments like this and make it work.

Report this review (#294726)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This EP (if you want to call an album that's almost 37 minutes long an EP) is quite an interesting release as far as tech/extreme genre goes. Structure-wise, these three pieces tend to follow no rules but their own, although they are linked by their similar usage of dissonant chord progressions which enhances an unnerving quality to a style of music already rife with a dark and oppresive aura.

The production is perfect for this kind of music; angry and up-front guitar tone, strong low end, and an organic drum sound (as opposed to a sterile & triggered quality) blend together to create a frenzied dynamic while each instrument remains audible on its own. The vocals are mixed in perfectly to add to the chaotic feeling and add to the ferocity with a mid-ranged hateful delivery.

The first track begins with a long slow passage of quiet but unsettling music that sets a tense mood, and what surprised me right away was the strong heavy bass, definately not something I would hear in their early material. This section eventually leads to what sounds like an immense choir of the damned. Then, the effect of kicking a hornets' nest erupts as the first of numerous bizarre chord proggresions that actually do sound like a swarm of bees attacks the senses. It's frenetic and powerful, yet skillfully controlled and even memorable. These fast passages are interlinked with slower and quite progressive moments with interesting guitar harmonies that sort of wander between consonance and dissonance over unorthadox tempos. The song ends as it begins, and slowly fades out with that tribal and ritualistic vibe.

The next track has some chord progressions that, as ugly as they sometimes sound, are actually pretty catchy and linger in my head afterwards. There's some great dynamics going on here between slow and fast moments, which are often jarring but well composed. It should be noted that there are no guitar solos to be found here, but they are hardly missed as the constant melodies and chord patterns offer little room for that sort of thing and there can be little doubt that the guitar playing as quite stellar and creative as well.

The last song at first gives the impression that it's going to be more of a standard black metal-ish track, but after a couple of minutes that perception gets tossed away as an ominous ambient section arrives to add some real creepiness to the album's aura. This is followed by a slow doomy passage with duel vocalwork that's truly unsettling before launching into an almost groove moment. It's quite a strange and inventive track that toys with typical expectations of black metal.

In fact, I barely consider Kenose black metal at all in a musical sense, as there are a lot of deviations from what usually constitutes the genre, particularly concerning the techically skilled and difficult rhythms and progressions throughout these songs. It is most certainly progressive though, and quite unique in overall sound, while remaining surprisingly fresh and imaginative for the entire duration.

Kenose remains my favorite by this band, as I feel the album length is perfect for this sort of music, and while their later era full length offerings possess similar attributes, for some reason after listening to them for a bit I want to stop and put on one of these three numbers instead...a matter of familiarity perhaps, but I find these songs stand well on their own and don't completely blend into eachother to eventually become redundant like a lot of other extreme metal albums. As far as this genre is concerned, I consider this absolutely essential.

Report this review (#432688)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Knse EP' - Deathspell Omega (8/10)

Like almost all of my favourite bands, the enigmatic French black metallers Deathspell Omega have witnessed a great change in their sound from the early days. Arguably beginning in earnest with their third record 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice', Deathspell Omega set themselves very far apart from the typical black metal act through an avant-garde and distinctly progressive direction. Considered by the band to be an 'appendix' to that album, Deathspell's 'Knse' EP stands its own ground as yet another fantastic addition to this band's discography. Although it may certainly scare away most of black metal's puritanical elements, 'Knse' is a considerable chunk of thinking man's metal that exemplifies Deathspell Omega's inhuman grasp of controlled madness.

The most memorable aspect of this EP takes place at the very beginning, which may very well be considered 'satanic classical music'. A slow build-up uses a recurring theme, which eerie far eastern percussion in the background to create an ominous feeling long before the black metal instrumentation comes in. The build-up is done in such a way where it leads the listener to become very tense, wondering just when the band will break out into the inevitable metal slaughter. Then, using a dissonant and pleasantly horrific classical choral section as a segue, things erupt into a half hour surge of blast beats, oddly timed grooves, malefic snarls and highly unconventional composition.

One thing about Deathspell Omega is that much of their heavier music may be construed as noise to some, and this is no different with 'Knse'. The riffs are often so technical and fast, most black metal listeners will not be accustomed to such high intensity musicianship. However, the band remains uncompromising, letting their frightening and demonic sound mellow out only for some dissonant and chromatic pluckings here and there to create dynamic. It's actually in the less heavy sections here that Deathspell shines the best. Although they are masters of technical black metal and have a very unique sound, it often feels like there is too much being thrown at the listener at once, making it very difficult to make out any particular riff or musical idea without concentrating very steadily. Still, the extended five minute introduction to the world of 'Knse' is among the most powerful I have ever heard, and rivals any classical music I can think of in terms of its class and razor sharp intention.

A very challenging listen, but this EP is greatly rewarding to those that manage to hear through the seemingly muffled noise and into the wealth of grooves and bone-chilling atmosphere that Deathspell Omega enjoys here. Not recommended for the faint of heart.

Report this review (#454960)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars Starting with their third album 'Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice,' the French black metal band DEATHSPELL OMEGA went from a rather run-of-the-mill second wave clone going through 90s Darkthrone inspired motions and undertook a major leap of sophistication with their Satanic liturgical distortionfests with hitherto unthinkable experimentalism and progressiveness that catapulted the entire black metal world to a completely new level.This was also the beginning of the trilogy of albums that tackled metaphysical theology from a Satanic perspective with lyrics inspired by the French philosopher Georges Bataille.

Sandwiched in between the three albums 'Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice,' 'Fas ' Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum' and 'Paracletus' were many EPs and splits. KNSE emerged as the first 'in-between' release and although technically classified as an EP, runs slightly over 36 minutes. During this period DEATHSPELL OMEGA, while black metal in menacing sonic demeanor, structured their albums more like progressive rock albums of the 70s. The official trilogy albums themselves mimicked the structure of vinyl double albums whereas some EPs such as this could count as fully fledged albums within their own right.

KNSE was intended to be supplemental material to accompany the 'Si Momvmentvm' album. The term KNSE is French for 'kenosis' which itself emerged from the Greek language (κένωσις, k'nōsis), refers to the self-emptying of Jesus' will and becoming receptive to the God's divine will which refers to the Biblical passage in Philippians 2:7. This release pretty much perfectly fits between the newly adapted 'Si Monvmentvm' and the even more challenging and experimental 'Fas - Ite.' While similar, KNSE exists in its own universe and delivers one of the most terrifying banterfests of DOS' avant-garde black metal career.

This EP consists of a mere three tracks simply titled 'I' 'II' and 'III' with the opener serving as the longest and casting an ominous spell with a four minute death march that slowly ratchets up the tension before bursting into the more famous jangle black metal dissonance that DOS have made their frightening signature sound. 'II' continues the indecipherable vocal litanies with ever changing mixes of guitar riffs, time signature changes and hypnotic percussive bantering until it reaches a frightening angularity of complete rhythmic breakdown by the end. 'III' calms down a bit with a Gregorian chant type of vibe dressed up in a dissonant blackened doom metal wrap. The track hypnotically lollygags in a near nine minute rant that ends the EP leaving a feeling of despair and sadistic sacrifice of the soul.

KNSE ups the ante manyfold. The musicianship is off the chart with the guitar and bass mostly existing as a single super instrument and the drumming all interacting in staggering complexity like the aural specter of the entire jazz, classical and metal universe unleashing the darkest forces of the underworld in unison. The production is perfect as it allows the more subdued build- ups to hypnotically seduce complacence before the full metal fury unleashes the full Satanic theological rage about esoteric theological rants about hypostasis and philosophical quandaries. In short, this is the absolute perfect example of an authentic progressive black metal album.

Report this review (#1977939)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars A display of sheer terror.

Take it as a statement that this is for sure one of the most ambitious albums in Deathspell Omega's Discography and Black Metal in general. Being one of their first proper masterpieces, Knse finds Deathspell Omega discovering their signature technical black metal sound and revolutionizing the genre by pushing it into undiscovered ground.

The entire album is one song, however due to its length and density it was divided in three tracks. This is quite possibly the heaviest album the band has made to date, so approach it carefully. If you don't like growls you definitely won't enjoy this thirty-five minute stream of brutality.

As I stated before, this was the album where Deathspell Omega found their signature sound. That sound is shredding, atonal, often syncopated guitars, technical and light-speed drums and very creative and moody bass. The entire song is raw black metal nonstop. Some moments like the end of "II" have the band at its absolute technical peak.

Combine this technical prowess with inspiration from avant-garde metal and you get a flurry of chaos that is somehow incredibly well structured and precise. It's one of the band's best records to date and it's for sure essential in their discography. Five Stars!

Report this review (#2698686)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | Review Permalink

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