Deathspell Omega

Kenose

Norma Evangelion Diaboli 2005

The quality of the underground black metal scene has been bursting forth once again with acts like Leviathan, Xasthur, and of course French gods Deathspell Omega.  Sometimes overshadowed by some of their contemporaries in the Finnish scene like Clandestine Blaze and Horna I feel this will no longer be the case.  To say I was blown away by this release would be an understatement to say the least.  DSO has released what I truly feel is a masterpiece.  Sometimes blasting black metal and sometimes disturbing ambient soundscapes Kenose is as dark as the abyss they have obviously been staring into.  The production is actually quite good for an entity so detached from the more mainstream labels.  I mean the crispness of the cymbals when they make their appearance on the opening of track one stands in stark contrast to the plodding bass line and whispered vocals.  I can't believe how much thought and feeling obviously went into these compositions.  DSO are artists with a clear vision and this is a dark portrait that has me turning in the dead of night with a subconscious filled with distress.  I think these subconscious visions are a result of DSO's masterful ability to create disharmonic riffs that are quite a bit unsettling.  My favorite moments on the album are on the third track when it streams out in a cold harmonic riff that reminds me of some Darkthrone inspired gale force winds.  The packaging on this album is nothing short of amazing.  It is a poetic vision I would expect from a more avantgarde act like Ved Beuns Ende.  And while we are on the topic of VBE I thought I would mention they sometimes use the guitar in the same way as those masters of metal dreams.  A key example of this is the closing minutes of the first track.  For a long while I thought the underground was simply rehashing the prior glories of the second and third waves with varying degrees of conviction and success but new albums by the above mentioned upstarts have completely changed my perspective.  This might just be my favorite album of the year so far.