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Pots and pans. - 35%

Empyreal, February 19th, 2017

I always hate the old generalization of 'metal is just pots and pans banging together,' but that's actually kinda what this Deathspell Omega album sounds like. Not that it's non-musical or amelodic – there are clearly structures to these songs and they're not just random noise, but their only effect is that they're extremely raucous and abrasive but without really accomplishing much musically. This is an album where every second is full of jangly guitars, twisted riffs, technical drumming and screeching vocals, but it all sounds weirdly static, and the songs don't seem to go anywhere from the beginning to the end. I never get any atmosphere from this and there are never any grooves to latch onto in the music – it's just kind of a nothing-album.

Most of this reminds me slightly of Gorguts' Obscura in terms of style – it's a similarly raucous, weird, abrasive work that never lets up or gives you space to breathe for the whole runtime, and the songwriting is similarly busy and chaotic. But unlike Obscura, there aren't any interesting melodies and the songs just don't gel together for me, instead just kind of going by in a faceless blur for the blissfully short 30-minute runtime. This just feels far too clinical, planned and calculated to have the kind of oceanic, unpredictable feel Obscura gave me. It's like if you gave Obscura to a group of trained music students and told them to just whip up something in that general style in a week or so - there needs to be more spontaneity and surprise to music like this.

Thus, the 'pots and pans' thing. This is unsettling and nerve-wracking music, which should be the goal for a lot of extreme metal. But it's really not scary or foreboding – I just get a general and minor irritation from this music, similar to if I heard my roommate banging pots and pans together in the middle of the night.

In that case, I would wake up and demand that he just cut it the fuck out.

Likewise, in the case of this album, I just wait for it to finally be over.