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Inquisition – Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm

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Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (hereinafter ODOTPMM) (No Colours, 2010 / Hells Headbangers, 2011) isn’t that different from previous Inquisition records. Its title is longer, and it’s better. That’s about it. I don’t know why it’s generated a buzz that’s had many of you emailing me about it. Inquisition make good records. This is another one.

ODOTPMM does have a sense of “clicking” to it. The ambition that Inquisition has exhibited before is fulfilled here consistently. Every song, save for the instrumental interlude, goes “epic.” The riffs are melodic, and the melodies are big. I’m suspicious of this huge sound, since Inquisition are a duo. There’s no way they could sound this big live (or pull off the overdubbed guitars). But as a studio creation, ODOTPMM goes down a treat.

The sticking point for me is the vocals. Among fans, the company line is “acquired taste that’s great when acquired”. I’ve tried to acquire the taste for years, and it hasn’t happened. I get the aim of the robotic croak: a spooky “flat affect”. And while it’s sort of unique (Abbath got there first), it doesn’t fit the music, especially now. The songs have gotten too rich and melodic. Some of them might do better with power metal-style singing. For black metal, I prefer expressive vocalists like Attila Csihar and Mortuus. This sort of flat delivery might fit a monolithic band like Khold. But for Satanic, Wacken-sized anthems, Kermit the Robot shouldn’t be singing.

So, as with other Inquisition records, I appreciate parts but not the package. It’s hard not to notice the artifice involved. I prefer records that are organic wholes, in which the actors channel larger forces. Here, they’re stacked in professional but obvious ways.

— Cosmo Lee

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“Astral Path to Supreme Majesties”

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“Desolate Funeral Chant”

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No Colours (CD, A5 digi CD, black LP, white LP)

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