Deathspell Omega - Paracletus (2010)Release ID: 851
Being quite a literal-minded person I have historically had a bit of a problem with particularly avant-garde or experimental releases and it is only in the last few years that I have started to come to grips with the more outre black metal exponents, such as Deathspell Omega, and started to appreciate them for their skill and originality.
To my ears Paracletus is a very dense, yet abstract release, the aural equivalent of a fistful of metal shards or splinters of glass. It is musically jagged with the various instruments at times sounding like they are playing in opposition to each other, but then suddenly coalescing into a pummelling, throbbing entity as the various members come together with a unified purpose before darting off again in their own directions. This is one of those albums that if someone asks what your favourite track is, it is impossible to answer because the work really has to be considered as a single whole, the integration of the tracks within it and the album's development throughout it's runtime is key to it's success. This is obviously a more cerebral style of black metal than, say, Immortal or Marduk, but it still taps into some deeply-seated dark instinct within the human psyche and is every bit as primal as any number of lo-fi blast-a-thons or satanistic rituals and is arguably even more seditious than those more obvious attempts at portraying that deeply buried essence of humankind's darkest emotions.
Sure, some of the more avant-garde sounding sections are still a bit of a struggle for me, but the payoff when the band do hit that sweet spot and come together in black metal nirvana are even more effective emerging from the twisted, jagged wreckage of those more abstract passages. I'm sure those of you who do enjoy more challenging and technically adept metal will probably gain even more out of it than I, but it still conveys more than enough emotion and passion to satisfy my demands in this respect. It is obviously an album that appeals to a huge cross-section of BM devotees as at time of writing this it is sitting on RYM with almost a 4/5 average from almost 6000 ratings, testament indeed to DsO's skillful execution and powerful songwriting.