Deathspell Omega - _Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum_
(Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2007)
by: Andreas Marouchos (9.5 out of 10)
Deathspell Omega's latest offering has finally hit the shelves. At first, the almost mandatory eerie intro finds me with a smile of welcome familiarity; but after that, things get serious. It's not that DsO produce the most convoluted of musical pieces -- although the complexity here is of quite a high caliber -- but rather that the deep and erudite nature of their ideology demands our undivided attention in order to be appreciated at its fullest.

Since _Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice_, DsO have gone on an intellectual endeavor that black metal has rarely ever seen before, which might explain that ineluctable religious fervor that enwraps each effort of theirs ever since. Yet DsO's theodicy is a bleak and twisted one; to come closer to such a God is a Fall rather than an ascent. This makes the inherent frustration of the album more lucid, more understandable in a sense; since God, much like Bataille's "L'Impossible", is "what can't be grasped in any way, what we can't reach without dissolving ourselves". Likewise, with the transgressional qualities of their work post-_SMR,C_ in mind, DsO can be seen as a modern musical rendering of the decadent fin-de-siècle literary movement: harsh, rueful musicianship fashioned by a lyrical monologue of a mind trying to transcend its intrinsic boundaries.

Regardless, _Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum_ is one amazing piece of black metal. The intense qualities of erstwhile offerings are once again present; chaotically fast passages of blistering guitar work seemingly only one measure away from breaking into complete disarray before they segue abruptly into those characteristic eldritch arrangements of slow yet nervously calm instrumentation.

Each part is well orchestrated: the mystifying choirs, the slow-paced disharmonic passages and that ever-present feeling of unease at each twist and turn of the album's multi-layered musicianship. Contorted riffs once again, in their dissonant complexity, leave no room for trite repetition. It carries well on the tradition taken since their _SMR,C_ album, yet the alarming, surreal guitar parts at times seemingly borrow more from the song present on their split with Stabat Mater.

DsO do not settle with formulaic self-imposed templates; their sound has progressed in various ways, especially with regards to the multi-faceted aspect of the compositions. With that said however, I believe it is important to note that in view of DsO's approach in producing a collective trilogy of their spiritual quest, it would seem redundant to compare any album of theirs with each other. Each is a well thought piece of a puzzle that has its own unique place, and as comparisons between the latest offering and its predecessor will undoubtedly arise, it would be best to appreciate both as supplements to something greater than its mere sum of its parts.

So, do DsO really deserve the veneration they're enjoying these days? The answer lies in their latest album, and it would certainly be a surprise if it were anything but a loud and clear "Yes!". Like any other album of its caliber, there are multiple levels of appreciation: for some it will be dismissed as nothing more than elaborate musical wankery, and they'll return to their much-esteemed, more familiar records; for others it will justify their adolescent excitement for the ever-so "dark" world of black metal, and a few glasses might even clink in DsO's name; and for a certain few, it could be nothing less than a musical catharsis.


(article published 4/8/2007)

1/27/2011 K Sarampalis 10 Deathspell Omega - Paracletus
9/19/2005 J Montague 10 Deathspell Omega - Kénôse
7/12/2004 M Noll 3 Deathspell Omega - Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice
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