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Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces of Palingenesia

Deathspell Omega
The Furnaces of Palingenesia
by Martin Knap at 24 June 2019, 2:35 PM

DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s reputation truly precedes the band, you could call them one of the most infamous Black Metal bands out there. Many “infamous” Black Metal bands are more known for their shocking antics then for going against the grain of common morals and social norms (causing a scandal or making a spectacle isn’t really subversive nowadays I would argue), not DEATHSPELL OMEGA. The band’s association with positions that fall outside the so called Owerton’s Window of acceptable public discourse. Actually, many Metal blogs and sites seem to have a self-imposed ban on writing about them and reviewing their albums. A search on these sites will reveal tens or hundreds of mentions of the band though, which is quite telling.

Many people don’t want to get their hands dirty with writing about DEATHSPELL OMEGA, but at the same time they can’t stop citing them as an influence on today’s extreme Metal music, which goes beyond Black Metal (dissonant Blackened Death Metal bands such as ULCERATE or PORTAL clearly owe a debt to DEATHSPELL OMEGA). I personally count myself among the fans of their music, hearing “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice” or “Paracletus” was a true eye-opener for me, and it’s because of them that I started taking Black Metal more seriously. The conceptual side of their music is also something that I find interesting and provocative: their lyrics deal with doctrines of theistic Satanism but are also full of a Nietzschean scorn for modern society and the mass-man, as well as with themes inspired by the French surrealist Georges Bataille (you won’t find anything overtly bigoted in them as far as I can tell).

The Furnaces of Palingenesia” is the band’s seventh full-length album and like most of their previous albums was released through the legendary – and equally infamous – label Norma Evangelium Diaboli. DEATHSPELL OMEGA are known as the pioneers of dissonant Black Metal, and dissonance is obviously what marks their sound. But beyond that I think the strength of the band is in how focused their music is. Their music is remarkable because of how they manage to take complex riffs and rhythms, that alone sound almost chaotic, and mold them into very concise songs. Their next level musicianship is on full display in “The Furnaces of Palingenesia”, both the riffs and the drumming are intriguing, sometimes the music seems to go in an almost jazz territory – while of course remaining super dark – but at the same time, the songs have a very rich atmosphere which ranges from eerie, to majestic, to deeply sorrowful. The atmosphere is sometimes enhanced by orchestral arrangements, which are very effective and have none of the cheesiness of “Symphonic Metal”.

The songs can be dynamic, but they never meander. The ebb and flow of the individual songs is complemented by ebb and flow of the album as a whole - “The Furnaces of Palingenesia” is one of those albums that feels increasingly more like a unified piece of art the more you listen to it. That’s a hallmark of great musicianship, if you ask me. The album opens with the apocalyptically scornful song “Neither Meaning nor Justice,” and ends with the mournful “You Cannot Even Find the Ruins…” which sounds like it could drag you into the deepest hole of despair. There are moments of fury and moments of sadness and many things in between on this album. It’s complex and multilayered – a musical journey really, form which you emerge richer the deeper you dive into these murky and disquieting waters.

I’m very pleased with this album, it is truly a enchanting piece of dark art. It is mesmerizing and spine-chilling in a way that looking into a snake’s eyes can be. This is not an album that you can listen to casually – at least I refuse to do so. It’s an album that you want to listen to in a dark room alone.

Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Neither Meaning nor Justice
2. The Fires of Frustration
3. Ad Arma! Ad Arma!
4. Splinters from Your Mother's Spine
5. Imitatio Dei
6. 1523
7. Sacrificial Theopathy
8. Standing on the Work of Slaves
9. Renegade Ashes
10. Absolutist Regeneration
11. You Cannot Even Find the Ruins…
 
Lineup:
Mikko Aspa - Vocals
Khaos - Bass
Hasjarl – Guitars
 
Record Label: Norma Evangelium Diaboli
     


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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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