REVIEW: INQUISITION – “Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith”
Inquisition is arguably one of the greatest black metal bands of recent times, with not a single album below the high bar they have set for themselves. Every one of their musical ventures saw their underground following grow consistently, and poorly researched controversial articles on the band a couple of years ago marked the sign that they has truly arrived in the popular scene. ‘Obscure Verses for the Multiverse’ made evident the band’s ability to create monstrous riffs of supreme yet unique quality. At this point, one wouldn’t expect anything less than phenomenal from Inquisition, and that is not going to change after the latest album comes out as well.
(Taking a deep breath) ‘Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Alter Beyond the Celestial Zenith’ is an offering and tribute to the galactic symbol of Satan, consolidating cosmic violence as part of the ever increasing entropy of the Universe, the eternal law. The music is a close-to-perfect representation of this chaos in aural form, as the riffs transcend tellurian existence. No interludes, no fillers – the album flings a barrage of fiery guitar punches. Dagon’s vocals have got lower from in the previous record, and doesn’t sound like a screeching Kermit the Frog anymore.
The proceedings begin with meditative reverberance engulfing hymnic passages, hinting towards the impending chaos after the intro. “From Chaos They Came” is the first tile of the cosmic domino, as extremely catchy black metal riffs bounce around the immaculate drum work. “Wings of Anu” upholds the momentum from the previous track, with more of the standard Inquisition song structure and tempo changes built around riffs as the backbone. “Vortex From The Celestial Flying Throne Of Storms” accumulates potential energy for a moment, before springing head on into the devouring space with frantic pace. “A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse” and “The Flames of Infinite Blackness before Creation” treads slowly with dread and gloom, patiently swallowing the listener into a celestial phenomenon of absolute darkness.
“Mystical Blood” is a cautious re-emergence of sorts from the void that the tracks before it created, and also acts as a vessel to the more energetic “Through the Divine Spirit of Satan”. The latter track surpasses most of what came before when it comes to creating a stifling atmosphere. The title track takes forward the atmosphere with a more galloping effect. “Power from the Center of the Cosmic Black Spiral” is another catapult the album uses to jump into overdrive with the extremely powerful and fist-pumping track “A Magnificent Crypt of Stars”. The dual outro tracks return to the eerie hypnotic ambience of the intro, signifying a cycle of birth and death of the Universe under the galactic law of Satan – everything coming in and out of existence because of Him.
Inquisition hits the sweet spot of spectacular non-noisy production while holding on to their organic sound with this album, and the resonance out of Dagon’s axe is beautifully fluid. Inquisition does not mess with the formula here, so you don’t see any new experiments on the album. Incubus sets up a perfect playground for Dagon to create riff after riff before they’re stitched together. ‘Bloodshed…’ is exactly what you would want Inquisition to come out with – all killer, no filler, and no surprises.