Review: Inquisition, “Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm”

We often say a band is “derivative” of another artist with the automatic assumption that being derivative is always a bad thing. If a band, album or song is not completely new or original, we discount it as less-than-worthy.

It would be fair to say U.S. black metallers Inquisition build on musical ground that has been thoroughly ploughed by Immortal. But Inquisition, the U.S. black metal duo of vocalist/guitarist Dagon and drummer Incubus, aren’t simply parroting Immortal’s style – rather, the band takes the trappings of Immortal’s sound (the relentless drumming and buzz-saw guitars, the croaked vocals) and expands them with unexpected moments of melody.

 Inquisition’s new album “Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm,” is aggressive as Immortal or Mayhem, but is quite full of surprises. Dagon weaves multiple layers of melody and waves of guitar noise into the songs, creating a sound that contains the freezing roar of Immortal while blending in the atmospherics of Burzum or Blut Aus Nord.

“Astral Path to Supreme Majesties” opens the album with a blazing two-note black metal riff … but Dagon layers the song with waves of acoustic strums for extra texture. A completely unexpected folk melody is blended into the “chorus, adding yet more depth.” Dagon doesn’t lay on the solos, but he knows when to pile on the extra noise. After a slower interlude, the song flies into a gallop.

I’ve read people complain that Dagon sings with the froggy croak of a man with an extremely bad cold. Well, that’s not inaccurate … but c’mon, if you’re complaining about the vocals in black metal, you really wanna be listening to something else. It’s not supposed to be pretty, kids.

Time-changes abound throughout “Ominous Doctrines,” which is a tiny bit unusual for black metal. I’m reluctant to call Inquisition “progressive,” but the band isn’t afraid to step out beyond the boundaries of Immortal-style black metal.

In short – and I’m trying very hard to keep this review concise, for once – Inquisition doesn’t trailblaze on “Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm,” but they do take the “traditional” black metal sound and incorporate enough of the own ideas into it that the sound remains fresh. The result is not experimental, but rather, the sound of musicians who are confident enough to build on the black metal template and create their own style. Highly melodic and furiously angry and biting, “Ominous Doctrines” could well be the best “traditional” black metal album of 2011.

1 Comment

  1. I wonder if Dagon sang like all other BM screamers would people say the music sounds like immortal.Ive been cross referencing the 2 bands music and other than both being BM i dont hear many if any similarity.Immortal is one dimensional and boring.Inquisition are good musicians and create actual compositions.Great album and im not a BM fan(at all)

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