Deathspell Omega: Paracletus

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Deathspell Omega: Paracletus
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Deathspell Omega: Paracletus
Avante-Garde Black Metal
Season of Mist Records
November 9th, 2010
Release length: 53:38
Website

Deathspell Omega is an Avante-Garde Black Metal act that has enjoyed success thanks to their more off the wall musical compositions for many years. The group formed back in 1996 in France, which wasn’t necessarily a country known for Black Metal back then as it is today. Over the years, Deathspell Omega has issued a good number of releases, counting only five full-length albums, however. Paracletus Marks the band’s sixth full-length effort, and it’s just as strong a recording as any of their previous albums.

While the band does focus on incorporating a very Avante-Garde sound on all their material, there isn’t a huge fixation on it this time around as some of their previous recordings, which actually works out for the band. Deathspell Omega concentrate on creating an album that often treads into a lighter Black Metal territory as far as the atmosphere goes, but it’s mostly due to the more technical guitar chords utilized here and there, showing some influence from Math Metal structuring, but going nowhere near an over the top approach, keeping the use of those stand out chords to a minimum to primarily weave a lighter, almost relaxing layer to the music that accompanies a very spasmic approach to the drumming that often goes fast and clashes against the guitars being played, but in a good way since the two wind up weaving a nice mixture of haunting and chaotic atmospheres. Of course, this isn’t every song, but some of the opening tracks. It’s primarily effective during the song “Abscissi”. After that, however, things vary greatly, and sometimes just really stick to the same concept, though the songs do often bleed into one another.

For instance, “Dearth” is a very slower paced song that has a gloomy atmosphere to it through the entire song, though the very end starts to build up the tension of the music prior to blindsiding the listener with the chaos that is “Phosphen”. Of course, that track varies in speed from the start, featuring enough musical changes to keep every sounding fresh the entire eight plus minutes it goes on. While the transitions are somewhat jumpy and abrupt, so is the music on many tracks. While songs like “Epiklesi” and “Abscissi” go at a normal pace with a little Avante-Garde guitar structuring to make the slower or mid-tempos sound fluid and erry, yet oddly relaxing and even beautiful, some of these tracks just erupt into pure chaos as soon as they start. However, the chaos is just that: Chaos. While the band dabbles in some Avante-Garde approaches to the music, that approach to their sound becomes normal in the fast paced madness that is their take on Black Metal, and it actually sounds appropriate, and in no way like the definition for the term.

There isn’t a single track on this release that doesn’t entertain the listener. Some of the slower songs are just so well done and have fantastic guitar work that will make the listener’s jaw drop, though the faster paced material on Paracletus really weaves some fantastic insanity to this twisted musical adventure. The only complaint that could possibly be had about this release is the introduction. There is none. While introduction tracks generally hold albums back from a great start, or are absolutely useless and just come off tacked on for the sake of having an opening, this release starts off abruptly, and it just sounds like there was an introduction planned for it, but never saw the light of day. Instead, Paracletus starts off with “Epiklesis”, and it sounds like a song that’s already a few seconds in when you come along, The thing is this song is actually the introduction to the album, which is pretty obvious with the ringing out but not fully done build up near the end of the song that slows things down before bleeding into the next track that booms to life right away. Of all the material, this track is the most confusing and out of place.

Paracletus makes for a fantastic Black Metal release that fully embraces the Avante-Garde style in a way that not many bands can. The recording seems almost natural for the random, spasmic ideas incorporated, and it often makes some of the slower songs carry a hint of beauty to them. It’s very rare to find a band that can genuinely capture the essence of this style and weave an album that is catchy, yet off the wall with intensity and the sometimes clashing or math-like guitars and drumming that adorn the recording. Fans of Deathspell Omega probably already expected great things with Paracletus, and rightly so given the band’s track record on previous albums and never letting their fans down. with such solid music on the album, and a clear talent from the band members to create such a dark, twisted release that is solid on just about every aspect, it makes a perfect welcoming release to anyone who may not have experienced this band yet, or perhaps found previous albums to be a bit too much.

01. Epiklesis I – 1:42
02. Wings of Predation – 3:43
03. Abscission – 6:07
04. Dearth – 3:47
05. Phosphene – 7:03
06. Epiklesis II – 3:06
07. Malconfort – 4:57
08. Have you Beheld the Fevers? – 2:59
09. Devouring Famine – 5:09
10. Apokatastasis Pant̫n Р4:01
Overall Score: 9/10
Deathspell Omega
Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.