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A 21st Century Black Metal Classic - 95%

Per_Ignem_Ad_Lucem, September 7th, 2007

Like the first reviewer of this album, on the first couple of listens I did not think much to "Inquisitors...". Indeed their previous "Infernal Battles" release did not move me to think there would be much else than pedestrain black metal moves with too much leaning toward ubiquitous 'second wave' monotony. However, I was willing to give it a chance....

On the initial few plays, I did not note anything remarkable. Everything appeared to be order for a two-a-penny standard black metal release. Fast no frills drumming, furious dark sounding guitar riffs played over again and again, the non guttural controlled raspy-screech-scream vocals. All the elements to move me to think that this was no more than black metal background music album, albeit with a very competent execution. Something to wash the stainless black steel cutlery to.

So after initiating myself in a non-committal manner to "Inquisitors of Satan" I found myself inquiring upon the disc again and again. I will not go into every minute detail of this album i.e. 'listen to this outstanding riff at 3.21 on this track' etc. as I believe this would detract from the fact that this is a 'from start to finish' listen. There is something unquantifiable about this album, something about the way that just when you thought no one would be able to make a solid, furious, unrelenting and fresh sounding black metal album ever again, it unfurls infront of you subtly and surely. There is no need to dissect this album as it contains that special ingredient that makes all great music, the language that can only be understood through experience.

I mention the word 'fresh' which is one of the key factors to understanding the greatness of this album. Although all the common elements of a standard black metal album are present, it's the execution here which really creates something special. I believe it's especially admirable to succeed in sounding both traditional and new at once which is what happens here. Wether it's the crushing consistency of the riffs, the unusual way the vocalist fashions every line as if it's every last line of the last song, the way that every track opens as if you've never been away, the way 'From Unknown Lands of Desolation' unleashes itself upon you and the riffs start to slide, no intros, no basement retrograde grimmness, no redundant pompus progressive flourishes, just straight up quality relentless essential black metal.