Release DetailsLABEL No Colours Records
RELEASED ON 3/3/2005
Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer
posted on 5/2005 By:
Here’s a memo from yours truly: black metal bands, take notes from Inquisition. This is what black metal SHOULD sound like now, and always. Cold, disaffected, unearthly, trancelike, ritualistic, totally dislocated from mortal experience and existing in some nightmarish, intangible dimension. While their earliest demo and EP material was competently played and well-executed blackened death metal with thrashy overtones, their modern classic debut Into The Infernal Regions… was an entirely different proposition altogether, harnessing the enveloping, transcendental darkness of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas while forging it with the stirring, militaristic feel of mid-period Bathory, the ritualistic ethereality of Samael and the darkly melodic, quasi-folk feel of Root. Strikingly, Inquisition sounded like all and none of these bands, aesthetically drawing from black metal’s very finest moments to sculpt a brooding, subterranean monstrosity all their own. The reverberations of that landmark release are still felt, at least in my own household, where the disc graces my stereo with astounding regularity. Here was the torchbearer for a new era in darkness, the most prodigious of the new breed of disciples, blessed with enough songwriting panache to rival even their enshrined forefathers.
There are very, very, VERY few modern black metal bands that I hold in high regard, and amongst that minuscule crop Inquisition surely rank amongst the top three. While their 2002 sophomore effort Invoking The Majestic Throne Of Satan wasn’t quite on par with the infernal majesty of their momentous debut, it was still fiercely on par with the very finest of the year (Morrigan’s Enter The Sea Of Flames was out that year!). While it pains me to report that this disc is still a far sight from the revelatory nefariousness of the first, it will surely find itself into many black metal types’ top 10 lists at the conclusion of the year, another astoundingly hypnotic statement from what must surely be considered one of the most fascinatingly distinctive bands in today’s underground.
If you are new to this Seattle-by-way-of-California-by-way-of-Colombia duo, what will strike you upon first listen of this glorious disc is the remarkable dynamism that is latent in each and every track. Beginning with an all-out Mayhem-esque blasting section complete with dissonant, distorted and rhythmic chords, the band shifts into a pronouncedly stark, doomy section where a more coherent, semi-melodic riff gels with an entrancing percussive pattern to yield for truly chilling results.
Another thing that will seize you on first listen are the OTHER WORLDLY vocals of one Dagon, undoubtedly one of THE foremost vocalists in metal history. I have never heard a vocalist sound more disaffected or removed from the recording experience, Dagon’s croaks resembling a keenly programmed android’s more than that of a living sentient being. The closest comparison one might draw is perhaps Attila Csihar, but while Dagon is certainly reminiscent of Herr Csihar, he successfully manages to sound several times more demonic and infernal. Dagon’s considerable talents are most prominently showcased on “Under The Black Inverted Pentagram”, where he alternates between his standard croak and an almost subsonic cybernetic drone that is simply inhuman. Unlike the first record, this vocal style is used a little more sparingly than before, adding emphasis and dimension when it is.
To longstanding Inquisition fans, one may notice that the songs are more consistently active than anything that has bore the Inquisition name to date. There are more tempo shifts, more discernible, pronounced riffs - Inquisition have clearly grown as musicians over time and aren’t bashful about flaunting their musical proficiency with more elaborate song structures, breakneck blast passages and flawless tempo switches. This isn’t to say that Inquisition employ complexity for complexity’s sake, because this couldn’t be further from the truth - the emphasis of Inquisition is perpetually on atmosphere and feeling. Riffing is largely monochromatic and repetitious, serving more of a rhythmic than melodic quality, which truly makes the moments where they gel into a coherent melody all the more affecting.
Of further interest is Incubus, who remains perhaps my FAVORITE drummer in metal today. It is blatantly obvious throughout the disc that the man can play - the blasting sections are executed with little difficulty, after all. What makes Incubus so special is the innate musicality that he exhibits throughout the disc - he plays EXCLUSIVELY for the sake of the song, not to flaunt his own virtuosity or to overcomplicate the songs with busy fills. There are so many memorable beats on here that I can’t even begin to convey the effect of his work- this is a drummer who is more concerned with constructing a FEELING with his work than merely providing a rhythmic backbone for the music, his work BREATHES with a vibrant vitality and actively adds depth to the work. Just pay attention to the hi-hat work throughout the record, and you’ll notice the subtle differences that make Incubus one of the most remarkably creative drummers in metal today. BRILLIANT stuff as usual.
My SOLE complaint about this record lies in the 13 minute outro, which appears to be frogs croaking for a minute and a half, 6 minutes of utter silence, then 7 minutes of rather silly drone and white noise. Otherwise, this is a typically flawless record from a band that couldn’t miss. It is my sincere hope that this record on über-kvlt No Colours will finally afford Inquisition the respect they so sorely deserve. No other band has ever sounded like this and it is quite likely that no band ever will. With the impending senility of ancient cults like Necromantia and Varathron, as well as the drastic u-turns taken by Samael, Rotting Christ and Root, Inquisition single-handedly affirm that black metal is far from dead, and that its vitality will always be renewed by Inquisition’s existence. If you like black metal at all, this has something for you. Reéncarnacíon and Parabellum would be so proud!
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