Despite the fact that I clearly love Death Metal I do have a great admiration for Extreme Metals more Satanic cousin Black Metal. In fact Darkthrone were very much responsible for getting me into what could be described as ‘Trve Metal’. Often on a cold blustery day I like to wind down by listening to the likes of Mayhem, Burzum, Beherit, Dodsferd and a plethora of other grim and frostbitten artists. I find the genre to be very evocative in its delivery almost unlike any other genre of Metal. In fact the ritualistic edge often portrayed by Black Metal is synergistic with its tones and overall sound.
Aiming to bring that occult fury come the now rather revered Deathspell Omega. This band has taken the underground by storm, having formed in 1998 the band have gone on to make quite the name for themselves especially through the 2010 album Paracletus which was met with much acclaim. The follow up to this modern classic was The Synarchy Of Molten Bones which somewhat failed to live up to expectations. However we are now in 2019 and at the release of the bands seventh full length studio album The Furnaces Of Palingenesia which is put out through Norma Evangelium Diaboli. Yet the question remains will this album top the bands greatest efforts or will it become just another iron in the fire?
As some of you may be aware Deathspell Omega have become a bit of an Avant-garde Black Metal outfit, combining unconventional song structures with elements of atmosphere and more traditional Black Metal ethics. Needless to say The Furnaces Of Palingenesia is no different, from its outset the riffs and drums become non-linear and dare I say even Jazz infused in that they have a tendency to go off in a sort of Free Form manner. Naturally this may not be to everyone’s taste and admittedly at times the album has a penchant for the chaotic, but then again isn’t that what experimentation is all about? The Fires Of Frustration is a track which whilst not totally devoid of structure does still play with unconventional themes, namely via its repetitive but hook heavy riffs, the gruff vocals of Mikko Aspa are a welcome addition also, bringing in an air of the occult in their oppressive demonic delivery.
Splinters From Your Mothers Spine gives more life to the maniacal riff work, particularly at its closure. The guitars for me are what really make the album, their memorable patterns are repetitive to the point of hypnosis, if you enjoy disjointed eclectic music then this will certainly be for you. It is pretty fair to say however that whilst this album is very mind boggling it isn’t fragmented to the point of it becoming illegible, you could even look at this release as a sort of gateway into more experimental Black Metal, a Black Metal equivalent to The Dillinger Escape Plan perhaps. It is also an album that offers up the full album experience, something which I often attest to be so important, especially in the digital age where music is diluted into singles and mere filler. Renegade Ashes and You Cannot Even Find The Ruins… offer up suitable climactic numbers which aid the second half of the album to a stunning conclusion.
Overall I would state that The Furnaces Of Palingenesia is a devilishly strong output from Deathspell Omega and one that should be taken seriously. If you like intricate yet totally bombastic Black Metal then this album has you covered. There are points where I can see the less eclectic listeners being lost in the records oddity but as someone who goes for a fairly healthy diet of the weird and abnormal in music I found the facets of this crazy tome to be most pleasing. Upon my first listen I was unsure about how I felt in regards to the dysfunctional nature of the instrumentation but upon closer inspection I grew to love it more and more with each listen, see if it’s the same for you too.
(8/10 George Caley)