Not long ago, I once had nothing positive to say of Colombia’s Inquisition, who are now based in sleepless Seattle. Upon first hearing ‘Those of the Night’, I was admittedly turned off by the aesthetic of it all; croaking that reminded me of Popeye with throat cancer, the overly fuzzy and plodding guitars, and drumming I can barely remember, it must have been so unremarkable. They got better. Hop on over to the next paragraph and maybe you’ll find an explanation as to why Obscure Verses for the Multiverse (Season of Mist) hasn’t ended up in the archive hell of the Department of Redundancy Department.
This outfit has predictably got limitations to overcome musically when tasked with writing inspired black metal that is listenable, unique, and not far too clean, being a two-man band in a modern land of imitation. The trick here is not Satan, but rather inventiveness. While they’re in a similar place musically to (insert album with blue cover), this is by no means something to hold against it. Front man Dagon’s vocals are still that eldritch semi-amphibious rasp with some cavernous bellows sprinkled throughout, though with reverb to give the atmosphere of colloquy with Azathoth himself, it sounds palatable to the ear rather than chisels at your patience. Guitar lines: slowly unfolding, melodic fractal riffs not unlike specimens of modern black metal, but may, when needed, join with cannonading drums to besiege fabulous hyaline castles in the cosmos of fabled multiverse. Inquisition make no pretense of being avant-garde wizards; they find a good sound and go with it. End of story. Or album?
The sound in this case is best exemplified by the intense yet subtle balance of melody and bestiality, but not in the shagging sheep way. The opening minute of ‘Joined By Dark Matter Repelled By Dark Energy’, for instance: starting as a gently rushing river of galloping drums accompanied by guitar waxing poetically sensible before the swirling waterfall of blastbeats kick in and reminds you that this isn’t your dad’s normal ear-pleasing rock’n’roll, though he could appreciate some of the harmonies. The only true downside I can find is that the tracks do follow a (well-written) formula, with ‘When Darkness Is Lord And Death’ sounding scarily like the track I just yammered about. The fact that “dark” or some variant of it is in three different songs should tell you all you need to know. Don’t get me started on this piece’s title itself, eh?
In closing, I liked this album, and you might too. For every three oddly cheery sounding bands under the tag “melodic black metal”, there’s a group like Vinterland, Sacramentum, or Inquisition that doesn’t like sunshine. Good night.