The comforter ain't so comforting after all.
À mon avis, orthodox black metal howls for an unorthodox crispness, the buzz of dead leaves & bones under marching feet. The past efforts of said genre's favorite sons were pierced by high frequency peaks in a chain of trebly chaos; that self-requisite remains, but Paracletus glares out from the choking, Stygian smoke of oxidizing souls & audible bass. Re: structure, see Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice: sides split into four; this time, two, the choirs of First, et al Prayers (mostly) silenced, the spaces twixt tracks obliterated until left with a suite of noise canalized towards the approaching end point.
Doom-n-gloomers of all stripes, believers or no (hi there fellow Cthulhuians! punch & cookies after the show), short of a field recording of Ragnarok, you'd be hard pressed to spin a more appropriate soundtrack to worldwide fuckery.
The invocation, Epiklesis I, chords bubble, tap in the blood, recalling Matthew 12:32: 'Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.' Bubble, bubble, toil in the rumble. Tap, tap, tap.
On Wings of Predation, though more so elsewhere, inchoate violence is, given the album's subject matter, surprisingly lessened the merest of a smidgen. But consider, taking into account the folly of a strict chronology of mythic time, whether all this is pre- or post-Antichrist (going by the last EP's commentary, I subscribe to the latter), a vision of the future, or Armageddon at your door. In either case, 'It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.' Witness our Abscission, the bait-n-bludgeon blisters subsisting for a deftly placed handful of classic metal measures, the vine split in a pressurized denouement.
'Et la solitude du jardin de Gethsémani en partage!' Everyone share in the hypnotic suffering, a Dearth of escape routes. 'Thy pomp is brought down to the grave.' Hark, the trance goes black, in the blinding Phosphene, spitting venom, celebratory mocking of the vine's failure; & a messenger: 'He breathed on them and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,' as the film of voices from works past play a gorgeous fin du premier acte.
Where there was once abscission, there is now recession, the second fall in another boiling Epiklesis, the end beginning with the Chaining the Katechon-esque riffwork of Malconfort, 'in fire and hail, in fire and hail,' a grinding, serpentine second death. Have You Beheld the Fevers? I've beheld its bursting, neo-death metal chop & its lyrical anticipation of Devouring Famine, all points swallowed by shadow, a kernel of the band's orthodoxy found amidst the musical detritus of apocalypse: 'I am an accomplice and my disheveled laughters and moans/Are of the same essence as the fervour of a Saint/It is senseless to fight against this infinite stream.'
'L’exclusion inconcevable d’une seule âme serait un danger pour l’Harmonie éternelle.' Thus, the final restoration, Apokatastasis Pantôn, the sound up above (lit. & fig.) the source of the grace of salvation in the form of Origen & Gregory of Nyssa's cleansing fires, a now famously Dantean notion (but not that lovable little scamp & (ex?)perv, Augustine), turned on their heads. Whom you leave behind leads to what you find; not what you thought: 'You were seeking strength, justice, splendour! You were seeking love!/Here is the pit, here is your pit! Its name is silence.' Good times.
Building, but rarely climaxing, the edifice, Deathspell Omega's trademark sprawling harmonies of discontinuity flower tension, tension, tension, yet, whereas past works (for the better in Si & Kénôse, for the worse in the at-times brilliant, at-times forced Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum) skewed their time- & lyric-signature tendrils like an acid-saturated octopus, the groaning textures of Paracletus are built upon a more unbroken path, the final thrust of creation into the fires of the end. Though here, there's no return to paradise, only ash. Perhaps Augie was right about the punishment, but fell short on just how many get to burn.