Thursday, February 10, 2011

Inquisition: Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (2010)


Black metal has a long history in South America, going all the way back to the first wave with Sarcófago, and of course the highly influential extreme thrash of early Sepultura. Colombia's Inquisition has been around since the first wave, beginning in 1988 as a thrash metal band. They have a fetish for long-winded album names many people may need a thesaurus to figure out, and their fifth full-length--Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm--is no exception. I don't know how anyone could see this album art and not be possessed to immediately buy the album, especially with a mouthful title like that. That's why I got it, and I'm not disappointed I did, either.

Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical MacrocosmInquisition's sound on this album is similar to their close alphabetical analogues in Immortal, especially when you look to the hard-driving and heavier songs like "Crepuscular Battle Hymn". Songs range in tempo from the almost doomy "Desolate Funeral Chant" to the much faster "Upon the Fire Winged Demon", but tend toward the faster with some mid-paced sections in most of the songs. Of course the guitars are usually tremolo picked, but they've included a lot of unmuted guitar chords. Sometimes these chords ring out as whole notes while the rhythm guitar blazes away on a high-speed tremolo riff, but other times the unmuted chords are worked into a riff that alternates between muted and unmuted chords. Both techniques provide effective contrast, as do the occasional dissonant chords. The drums are extremely clever as well, especially when you consider the fact this is intended as straight-forward black metal and not as a high-brow, Profound Lore type release. There are many slower rhythms to be found throughout the album, but even the blast beats seem to be distinctly different from song to song. The bass doesn't stand out at any point on the album.

Dagon's vocals are a big turnoff for many extreme metal fans. They've been described in a number of ways, but most popularly as a frog croak. It's really not that much different from what you'll find from Immortal's Abbath or Dimmu Borgir's Shagrath, so I'm not sure what the problem is. It's been suggested you either love or hate them, but I'm lukewarm.

OK, so that's the description, but what you really want to know is whether or not it's any good. And the answer is a definite "yes". Many of the riffs are exciting and perfectly memorable, especially on opener "Astral Path to Supreme Majesties", which also includes a highly intelligent guitar solo. The album doesn't break any ground, but it's clearly on a higher plane of existence than your average cookie-cutter continental European black metal.

The Verdict: Inquisition are members of the old guard proving that they still know how to do black metal better than any younglings, and they've outlasted most of their Norwegian peers in staying true to the genre's roots. I give Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I have been wanting to check this one out. Definitely now that I have read your review.