Black metal scene today is filled with very mysterious bands about which very little to nothing is known about. Of those bands Deathspell Omega almost instantly comes to mind. The band was founded in 1998 in France by Hasjarl, who is presumed to be a certain Christian Bouche. The band started out as a more traditional black metal outfit, who after the release of first two albums and certain line-up changes switched towards much more eclectic and avant-garde variation of said genre. The band has gained a cult status in the underground for their very unique approach to black metal. This also made them one of the most imitated black metal bands today, since many modern black metal bands tend to imitate their sound, but to a less successful extent.
The band is also noted for their anonymity. Even though the line-up is unknown for the most part, the current vocalist is almost universally believed to be Mikko Aspa, best known for his solo project Clandestine Blaze. Based on Mikko’s unique and recognizable vocal style, there is a very high probability that this might be true.
The band’s lyrical themes mostly revolve around theology, philosophy and metaphysical Satanism, but on this album the lyrics serve more as a wake-up call of some sort. The lyrics could be interpreted as a spiritual awakening of individuals, who live in a dystopian society where all freedoms are forbidden. They are very philosophical in nature and they invite the individuals to revolt against the established system to achieve perfection in the name of so-called “Order”. The album title also indicates the album’s theme, since “The Furnaces of Palingenesia” could be interpreted as furnaces of re-creation or rebirth.
The music serves as a backdrop to the lyrics. The album is very fluid and it pretty much works as one entity. Also this time music isn’t as chaotic as it was on the previous albums. The album is filled with slower progressive mid-tempo sections, although there are still some aggressive parts with strong avant-garde tendencies. The dark atmosphere, for which this band is notorious, is still present on this album and it is having a strong build-up with keyboard sections, which resonate perfectly with the rest of the musical backdrop. This album has a very polished production, which really helps in building-up the dark atmosphere of this album with each and every instrument perfectly audible. Franck Hueso, best known for his synthwave project Carpentner Brut, has been mentioned as a producer of at least some of Deathspell Omega’s albums. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if he was a producer on this album as well, since such a clean production is definitely something which could be easily attributed to him.
With this album Deathspell Omega has proved once again that it is one of the greatest black metal bands out there today. They still know how to make a powerful album and deliver its message, even though there are moments where it seems that the band has decided to play it safe. There is still much to look forward from this band and I can’t wait to see what they will come up with to surprise us next time.