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Dissonant terror with a dash of beauty - 95%

OmegaMitch, September 24th, 2009

One song. Twenty-two minutes and twelve seconds. And not one second is wasted. Right from the start, Deathspell Omega immerse you in their dissonant terror and never let up until the track ends. This one song, "Chaining The Katechon", is a meaty slab of some of the most sinister Black Metal I have ever heard, crammed into one massive track with not a dull moment.

The passages weaved in this dark epic range from sheer horror and chaos to scarred beauty with an underlying tone of dissonance, not unlike some passages from Mastodon's songs such as Siberian Divide or Quintessence, though dissonance is the only similarity as Deathspell Omega's unique void is undoubtedly Black Metal. From the minor progressions to the precision blast beats to the piercing riffs, this is a Black Metal release at heart.

But please, don't lump this in with the familiar Black Metal formula, whether it be the grim and frostbitten feel of Darkthrone, the atmospheric nature-worship of Wolves In The Throne Room, the breakneck blastbeats of Dark Funeral, the symphonic gloss of Dimmu Borgir... No, Deathspell Omega have something unique that is completely their own, a bold anchor firmly rooted on fresh ground within Black Metal and "Chaining The Kacheton" roots that anchor even deeper by creating something that is bold and striking in refreshing ways. This is twenty-two minutes and eleven seconds of some of the most challenging Metal I've heard in a while, something that will take more than its moneys worth in plays to digest, not because it's incomprehensible, but because there is just so much sheer brilliance and creativity packed in here. Hell, even the lyrics and concept are interesting.

Really, the only fault here lies in a quality vs quantity issue, where the quality is so high that the lack of quantity hurts all the more. Regarding the actual music provided, it can feel like the song has distinct movements, like they could have taken a couple conceptually-similar songs and stuck them together, though this is only apparent because a few pauses are a slightly longer than I felt they should have been, and is quickly forgotten as the music engulfs you.

In the end, Deathspell Omega have something wonderful on their hands, more vile and dissonant than anything I've heard in a long while, yet completely musical and at times, beautiful. The fact that this is an EP hints at what their next full-length album will sound like, and until it arrives to reign its inevitable maelstrom on us, Chaining The Katechon will remain a fascinating piece of Black Metal work for many plays to come.