Release DetailsLABEL Season of Mist
RELEASED ON 10/25/2013
...deviations from the norm result in some of the most altogether irresistible material on the album.
Obscure Verses for the Multiverse
2011’s Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm was a milestone of sorts for long running black metallers Inquisition, if only because it gained them a wider audience than ever before in their history, not to mention a deal with Season of Mist. So, now 25 years into their career, the band may actually be releasing their most widely anticipated album to date in Obscure Verses for The Multiverse, and friends, 'tis a doozy. The well of riffs is as deep and magical as ever, Dagon is still acting like lazy Abbath with a wad of ooze in his throat (although to a lesser extent than in the past), and the band is still writing sneakily clever songs. However, this album succeeds not only for the reasons one would expect, but also by adding subtle changes to the formula, without for an instant confusing exactly who wrote and performed it.
The most recognizable of these slight changes is a shift in production, and while there’s nothing crazy or unique going on here, it is a shift from the previous album. Rubbery, warbling riffs create a sound as if Ominous Doctrines is being reflected on some thin, vibrating sheet of metal. When played at high speeds, it creates the feel that Inquisition’s music is fighting to not be drawn into some unnamed abyss, as if the devil’s vacuum cleaner desperately wants to capture them. The effect works like gangbusters, as Obscure Verses might possess the ultimate production for this band and their cornucopia of riffs.
And hooooooboy those riffs… If a single band in black metal is more likely to inspire the loitering Guitar Center youths, I haven’t heard them. Dagon flutters, pulls, pinches, trills, bends, and generally shows an Olympic gymnast’s ability to contort all over his chosen apparatus, all without ever feeling wanky or failing to serve the song. The music is at its best when things get downright smartass with the listener, as if daring them to try to come up with something cooler. (You are hereby dared to beat the “answer” riff in “Infinite Interstellar Genocide.” You will not.) Half of the time it sounds as if Dagon’s guitar tones are moving across a lubricated surface like some black metal Slip ‘N Slide. Even when things do start to sound a tad familiar – typically during some of the blasting, dense passages – Inquisition has some songwriting trick up their sleeves to keep it moving.
For all of the material on Obscure Verses that sounds naturally black metal, it is when the band weaves some new threads into their standard repertoire that things become really interesting. There are more than a few riffs and passages here that could be taken as foreign to the astute listener, as if '90s alt rock emigrated from its native land and assimilated as much as possible, or maybe a dose of big time was transplanted to the frozen tundra. Regardless of the source, these deviations from the norm result in some of the most altogether irresistible material on the album. The mid-tempo “Spiritual Plasma Evocation” is instantly appealing with its grooving, slippery main theme, and is solidified by a nice injection of triumph that comes later. “Joined by Dark Matter Repelled by Dark Energy” likewise begins quirkily with something that is almost cheerful – drummer Incubus could be Stewart Copeland during that intro – before showing a fair amount of dynamic breadth.
As hinted at above, there is also a slight defrogging of Dagon’s vocals. Slight. Fear not, he hasn’t suddenly turned into a standard blackened rasper, and maintains plenty of amphibian tendencies. In fact, by dulling the edge of his regular attack achieved anything, it gives greater emphasis to the moments when he just nerds the fuck out. If Dagon dragging one line way out during the chorus of the aforementioned “Joined by Dark Matter Repelled by Dark Energy” doesn’t put a smile on your face, well, I guess you might just be a black metal fan.
But even the most painted, cold-hearted, and antisocial among us must occasionally have some fun, right? A select few will surely scoff at that, saying that this is dark, mysterious metal that must be taken super seriously, but come on… With those vocals, all of the mystic-and-cosmic lyrics, and that fucking album title, it’s pretty clear that Inquisition is in on their own joke. And somehow, with tunes of this quality, that just makes it all the more fun. Maybe they’re trying to show that the term “black’n’roll” can mean more than just “Molly Hatchet with harsh vocals and raw production,” or maybe not, as Obscure Verses for The Multiverse is still very much a black metal album. It’s more likely that Inquisition is just gathering their inspiration from as many decidedly unmetal sources as they are those that we would expect. The key word there is “inspiration,” and this album sees the band sounding as inspired as ever.
The Inquisition. What a show.
Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm
Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer