Norma Evangelium Diaboli
“…Deathspell Omega have entered a stage where they’ve become peerless and enigmatic, finding home under the title of ‘heavy metal’ as all other genres would either abort them or send them to a Latvian orphanage to die of vodka and sodomy.”
Norma Evangelium Diaboli
The Synarchy of Molten Bone
Famished for Breath
Onward Where Most with Ravin I Meet
Where bands like Havohej and Beherit excelled in deconstructing black metal, stripping the music down to the most basic and raw principles, and projecting primitive bursts of information to the listener, Deathspell Omega attack from the opposite end of the spectrum. In the case of their sixth studio album, The Synarchy of Molten Bone, Deathspell Omega build layers of manic and rapidly moving textures to create an abrasive and cacophonous atmosphere. Constant shifts in speed, mood, and composition create panic and tension and are counterbalanced with the occasional reduction in aggression and the use of cleaner, less cluttered musicality.
The constant churn of percussion is violently forced into assimilation with measure upon measure of grating riff, one after the other. The structure is devoid of common convention, dependent mostly on tension, perversion of melody, and atonality to exist. There forms brief images and flashes of despair out of this chaos, but never substantiating itself, never presenting the consumer with the ability to grasp or gain hold of the music as it whips around itself.
‘Internecine Iatrogenesis’ begins with a puzzling discordant riff, and only continues to evolve and abominate further. Elongated fills punctuating already ugly guitar lines shows off the refined sense of chaos Deathspell Omega has evolved into, with descending patterns of sickly chords, constantly engaged percussion and suspenseful orchestration.
The production job on The Synarchy of Molten Bone is clear and adequate, taking into consideration how abrasive the actual written music is. It is not the damp, bleak, ugliness on 2000’s Infernal Battles or 2002’s Inquisitors of Satan, but rather a refined whole treatment to the sound. At times, during full force, the drums get eclipsed while fighting for space in the mix against the chaos of the guitars and low end thunder of the vocals.
A separate focus of attention needs to be given towards the lyrics. This is worthy, if not entirely essential, for a listener to pursue as it enhances the album immensely.
The Synarchy of Molten Bone is difficult to place as a black metal album. Very few present-day bands will attempt the songwriting displayed here, and older bands will very rarely evolve in a manner that Deathspell Omega has. The conventional traits of traditional black metal are all cast away save for emphasis on atmosphere and utilization of tension and release. Attitude is scaled back to create a musical entity as opposed to a nihilistic message. Common technique, especially simplified phrase-based musical composition, is obliterated.
With the points outlined in the previous paragraph in the open, The Synarchy of Molten Bone cannot be considered a black metal album, not within reasonable convention. Much like considering Sunn O))) a heavy metal band when scoped under the parameters, conventions and history of extreme music, Deathspell Omega have entered a stage where they’ve become peerless and enigmatic, finding home under the title of ‘heavy metal’ as all other genres would either abort them or send them to a Latvian orphanage to die of vodka and sodomy. The Synarchy of Molten Bone is an interesting listen but perhaps burns too rapidly due to the wild chaos it attempts to portray. Deathspell Omega have moved on to an isolated musical plane, all their own creation. While The Synarchy of Molten Bone is a powerful release, it walks a fine line between novelty and serious artistic attack.