Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm" - Inquisition: The Best Album of 2010

I've been meaning to write about Inquisition's latest album "Omininous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm" for quite some time now, but after seeing this album pop up all over metal critics' "Best of 2011" lists within the past couple of weeks, I feel like now is the perfect time for me to weigh in on this album with my own thoughts. Before I begin, however, I would like to say that without a doubt this would be my favorite album of 2011, except since it technically originally came out in 2010 I'm not going to include it in my own "Best of 2011" list. Yeah, yeah, it wasn't on my "Best of 2010" list last year, but I hadn't heard it until this year and I don't feel like going back and editing that old post, so whatever.

Anyway, I'm really happy to see this album getting such high praise because I feel like it's easily one of the best black metal albums to come out in a long time. I know some people are turned-off by Dagon's Immortal-esque croaky vocals and the lack of a bass (I definitely can't hear any bass whatsoever on this album, pretty sure it's just guitars), but besides that, there's nothing else to dislike! Inquisition somehow come up with pretty simplistic riffs, but MAN are they bitchin'. Whether they're fast and pummeling ("Astral Path to Supreme Majesties") or slow, groove-laden, and hypnotic as fuck ("Desolate Funeral Chant"), or a combination of both ("Crepuscular Battle Hymn"), it's been over a year and I'm still not over them. However, what really drives Inquisition's "sound" are the vaguely psychedelic lyrics and occult themes that layer the album with a very strong mystical atmosphere, to borrow from the title of the album. If you've read any Inquisition interviews, it's pretty safe to say that Dagon actually seems pretty serious about his shit. Viewing space as the physical embodiment of the anti-cosmic Satanic spirit, mysterious pagan rites, mythical beasts, astral projection, inter-dimensional travel, it's all in there, and Inquisition's lyrical themes and mystique definitely contribute positively to their overall sound.

I don't want to go on for too long blabbing away about how cool I think this album is, just check it out for yourself! I'm pretty sure you'll dig it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Defense of Liturgy

Obviously, I'm sticking myself out here for tons of ridicule by white knighting for notorious post-BM upstarts Liturgy, but before I stick up for these guys I'd like to catch everyone up on all the basic drama via some embedded videos and links because I'm lazy:

The Video That Started It All:

HHH's Manifesto (most of it):

Obviously, it's these two things that have really caused the internet to take the piss out of Liturgy. As far as I know, it all seemed to come to a head when Chris Grigg of the USBM band Woe:
Without Logic - An Open Letter to Hunter Hunt-Hendrix - Metal Review Features and Editorials - Metal Review Community

You can find more interesting reviews, videos, and blog posts about Liturgy on your own, I'm definitely not trying to be exhaustive here.

Last, if you haven't heard Liturgy and you're too lazy to go on youtube or myspace or whatever to listen to them, I'm gonna embed one last video so you can hear them for yourself:

Obviously, for internet metal nerds like myself, this is very controversial stuff! These guys don't look or act very black metal!!

The reason why I feel bad for Liturgy and have some respect for them is because what they're doing is much more ballsy than most other metal bands out there attempting to be "controversial" by being anti-Christian, evil, or even racist! At this point, I feel like the whole "is it OK to listen to Burzum even though he's racist and a murderer?" is fairly played-out, and no one really gives a shit that Nokturnal Mortum or Graveland have strong NSBM tendencies. In 2011, if you really want to stir the pot, bring up Liturgy (or even better, Krallice, Wolves in the Throne Room, Nachtmystium, Deafheaven, etc.) to a bunch of internet metal nerds and watch the fireworks.
Anyway, another strength of Liturgy's is their originality. Obviously, these guys are competent musicians, and their style is unique both musically and lyrically. If you listen to their songs, you'll notice that their sound is very "high" compared to the typical grim, "low" sounds of BM's heavy distortion and thundering drums. Of course, something else to point out is Liturgy's lyrical themes. Sure, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's "manifesto" is pretentious and a slightly arrogant, but aren't those characteristics that are usually embraced by the metal community? Read any interview with Peste Noire, Judas Iscariot, Deathspell Omega, it doesn't appears as if all this backlash truly stems from so-called post-black metallers' fashion sense, not music.