It is time to put to rest any of the grumbling you might have heard in regard to the new Inquisition. Some people were more than likely already in a bad mood after hearing the new Metallica or only had a marginal intrest in Inquisition to begin with. The truth is, their new album sounds just like them, right when Dagon lets the chords ring out with such eerie dissonance.
They are not out to win over any new fans. This is not to say they are just dialing it in, as drummer Incubus brings some sinister grooves and really lays into his high hat. In the car my wife complained the crash was a little tinny, but I didn’t hear that, and overall the mix has the dense sound that I want from them.
Vocally… well, it is what it is. The croaked vocals sound a little more relaxed on the opener while everything else is amped up. “Wings of Anu” feels like it carries a similar throb as the opener. The riff coming out of the chorus has some teeth to it. Lyrically, if it’s not about some version of Satan, it’s about a planet of reptiles.
The beginning of the third song finds them getting much more melodic, only to have that false sense of security run over by another bleak, bulldozing attack. This is where we can begin to detect the subtle signs of growth. It’s not all just blast beats, and when they are used, said blast beats tend to come in the form of quick outbursts rather than the glue holding the songs together.
The chug to “A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse” slows down to gain power. This brings them relatively closer to a more mainstream metal sound, aside from the deadpan croak of Dagon’s narrative. The slithering riff brings subtle time changes, as the deliberate pacing of this song proves to be very effective.
There is more of a black metal tremolo in “The Flames of Infinite Blackness”. The guitar melody in this song is yet another sign of growth for the band. I can hear where some of the band’s following might be ready to lament over them selling out or evolving too far away from their earlier work as their sonic spectrum expands, but they need to get over themselves because this meets all the expectations of an Inquisition album. It feels like this was a very natural progression.
Satan is muttered about throughout the album, but his infernal majesty is addressed the most directly on “Through the Divine Spirit of Satan”. The vocals work more in conjunction with the guitars, which lock into a verse riff that is almost catchy. A rare guitar solo also surfaces here.
“Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar” shows they can grow without sacrificing the magnitude of their heaviness. There is a more deliberate classic metal drum beat to this song, which a certain portion of their fan base who are blast-beats-or-bust might resist, but fuck ’em, they are idiots anyway. Inquisition hold off until almost three minutes into the song to converge into something resembling a conventional song and summon up some pretty fucking crazy guitar tones along the way.
A big metal guitar crunch kicks off “Power From the Center of the Cosmic”. Two and a half minutes in, it really builds into a solid groove. They fire into a more standard black metal speed for “A Magnificent Crypt of Stars”. At this point it is clear that the guitar is the focal point of the album, even though there is some solid drumming on it.
I am impressed by this album, as it strikes me as some of Inquisition’s best work to date. After having had a week to sit on it, repeat listens are very comfortable, and it proves to be one of those albums I can leave on and let play throughout the day.