One of the aspects that shape Deathspell Omega's fame is the inimitable style that they have shaped musically, lyrically or philosophically speaking. For the casual metal listener the ideal band is the one that makes him want to grab his guitar and form his own band. It is tough to listen to one of Deathspell Omega's second phase records yet to know that when you hold your guitar the best you can come up with, would be sub Darkthrone mimickery. The only consolation then is that you can always hope to get featured on fenriz’s blog. More often issues like these lead to the awakening of all the complex syndromes possible and furthermore to dismissing Deathspell Omega as pretentious, false and sell outs that ruined what they had achieved with their early bunch of splits and full lengths - which of course ‘happen’ to be sub Darkthrone mimickery, only better than the average.
Metal fans don’t like clever and complicated music or individuals. They need a clear target, that’s why they are suckers for ‘anti-whatever’ lyrics. DsO’s music is a maze that confuses them, the lyrics are mind blowing and their non image policy doesn’t fit the metal book of rules. The same applies at everything the band does. Plus how can one listen to Deathspell Omega while have a couple of beers?
There has been a period in my life that I stayed away from the underground after being completely burned out by my heavy involvement for a dozen of years. So from 1998 until 2006 I didn’t listen to a single note of black or death metal (which is the only metal for me). Then in the summer of 2006, as I was waiting for my flight from Athens to Glasgow, I happened to browse some cds at a record store at the airport. Much to my surprise I noticed the dark and terrifying cover of Monotheist. I didn’t even know that Celtic Frost where active again, I only knew that I had to buy this new record from my favourite band ever. Thus my abstention from music ended in the cruelest of ways, with the best record I heard in my entire life. A couple of months later I discovered Deathspell Omega’s Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice and immediately ordered the cd. I still remember the day that I found the LP version of the album at an underground record store in Thessaloniki and the surprise on the clerk’s face when I bought it as he thought that no one in town would know of DsO. It might seem like an exaggeration but keep in mind that greece’s metal fans are among the most conservative imbeciles in the whole world. Here, Iron Maiden are still the most important band in the universe, Kreator are considered the epitome of thrash (old or modern) and power metal is all the average metal ape cares about.
Fast forward six years later and things are like this…Celtic Frost are no more but there is Triptykon that have recorded a monster that marks the new era and until now I thought it would be the best work of the year and possibly the new decade. Then there are Deathspell Omega that in the past years have seen the hype about them reach feverish levels. But the charisma of that band is that they have the ability to stand above and away such meaningless stuff and overcome their hype with their talent. Having perfected their uniqueness they come raging with the closing of a mammoth project and arguably the best record of the year and for me, possibly the best black metal record of all time.
Those that Satan hath blessed …
…have the talent to create monumental art in the era of shallowness and spiritual sterility. Paracletus stays along the lines of the madness and calculated chaos of Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum adding the musicality of Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice. It is always strange using terms as ‘musicality’ when referring to DsO as their art is largely based on destroying and re-synthesizing any widely known and used form of keys or tones or whatever musical norm. Then again this is a band full of contrasts and so is Paracletus. A-musical yet musical, free yet disciplined, bizarrely beautiful yet ultimately ugly this is a record where a myriad opposites collapse and create the black metal of the future.
Above all Deathspell Omega are messengers of the Truth and this is what they present. The Truth they bear comes naked, plain and raw. In a similar manner the band present an art form that is so pure that doesn’t need to hide behind tones of fuzz or distortion or whatever. There are times that the guitars sound like a piano, the bass comes on the front more often than ever and the drums are both creator and destroyer of rhythms.
On top of all those comes the inverse chanting of the Devil’s preacher. The words are more mumbled than properly pronounced. The french language has never sounded so threatening before…and there are many parts chanted or spoken in french.
To dive deep into the madness of Paracletus is an unsettling and disturbing experience. No one can save you from the sudden fall that comes after its crescendos.
A record of 42 minutes seems like a brief one for Deathspell Omega…but these are 42 minutes of uneasiness and utter disturbance, 42 minutes of spiritual liberation, 42 minutes that pour salt on open wounds. I doubt there would be anyone that can live this experience in full, yet could stand even one minute more.
This is the evolution of black metal that I expected to happen but I couldn’t envision. What’s more remarkable is that I expected such a turn out of things, after maybe a decade or so. Yet it is here today.
All in all, Paracletus is the living and horrible (for some) proof that black metal is first and foremost a term that defines the distillation of dark feelings into music and stands above mere genre categorization.
As for the lyrical-theosophical-philosophical aspect of the band, I hope to elaborate in the future if I ever have the courage to do so.
The circle is complete…Silence