American black metal bands tend not to reach mainstream levels or indeed focus on cashing in via carbon copies of their Scandinavian peers, but one thing that is hard to ignore is the somewhat unique take on the traditional sub-genre. From a background which introduced to us the likes of Absu, Nachtmystium and to a considerably lesser extent, Inquisition comes a more or less structurally straightforward attempt at recreating the sort of bleak atmosphere and hellish blastbeats which have plagued the sub-genre ever since its foundation, and Inquisition, since their formation a quarter of a century ago, have progressed within this style.
However, new album “Obscure verses for the multiverse” seems to take on an ambitious approach, utilizing such a thought-provoking concept to control and manipulate which direction the band’s core sound will weave. Essentially what we have here for the most part is cold, wicked blasts of raw, intoxicating black metal, but with an experimental edge and to a greater degree the sort of progressive sensibilities which are nowadays used by Nachtmystium, Enslaved and others in the same circle. That said, half of the album naturally takes influence from Immortal and Immolation, whereby the cold-hearted, miserable vocals of the former flow perfectly well with the insane albeit catchy riffing of the latter. Songs such as the impressively furious opener ‘Force of the floating tomb’ and ‘Spiritual plasma evocation’ give way to the more adventurous likes of the near progressive title track and maniacal ‘Arrival of eons after’. Throughout, you can feel the bitter cold coming out of the stereo yet at the same time the warmth of a more sentimental, thoughtful approach to near flawless songwriting.
Although the album takes its pride in producing simple black metal of the highest quality, there are various moments where odd instrumentation or awkwardly placed sounds appear, which all at first appear confusing to the casual listener. It’s the last minute or so of ‘Infinite interstellar genocide’, the somewhat psychadelic rhythm section of ‘Darkness flows towards unseen horizons’ and certainly the mesmerizing intro to ‘Inversion of ethereal white stars’. All these contribute to a consistent and fluent atmosphere which very rarely fails to impress, and even the most close-minded of extreme metal fans will be able to appreciate what is mostly a display of stellar musicianship.
There are times when a couple of songs do stagnate however, though the likes of the almost completely monotonous ‘Joined by dark matter and repelled by dark energy’ are more than made up for by the excellence of the first half of the album. Yet these few minor flaws never seem to hinder the album’s general progress or direction, and there is indeed a sense of power and ambition growing deep within Inquisition’s soul. Thus the band’s latest album, “Obscure verses for the multiverse”, is certainly their career-defining moment, if only because their musicianship has improved substantially from the last record.
1. Force of the floating tomb
2. Darkness flows towards unseen horizons
3. Obscure verses for the multiverse
4. Spiritual plasma evocation
5. Master of the cosmological black cauldron
6. Joined by dark matter, repelled by dark energy
7. Arrival of eons after
8. Inversion of ethereal white stars
9. Infinite interstellar genocide