...

Try to imagine a member of Deathspell Omega going to the grocery store. Having trouble? I’ll try to make it easier for you. Picture Deathspell Omega having an argument over how long a riff should go on for, or goofing off in the studio by laughing at an isolated vocal take. Imagine them breaking a string or mulling over which crash cymbal to buy. Imagine them tuning.

If this all seems ridiculous or difficult, you should thank your lucky stars. There’s plenty of great music made by completely normal people, and sometimes knowing that art is the product of rather mundane circumstances makes the magic of its creation all the more compelling. But that same understanding, that the people responsible for your favorite records are just as human as you, has a way of sucking the life out of some heavy metal. It’s hard to buy into a band being a conduit for the pernicious energy from beyond our realms when you can find that same band doing shots of Jaeger after their set. Deathspell Omega refuse to be demystified in this manner.

This isn’t just because of their anonymity, although that helps. You could easily picture Ghost being a bunch of boring dudes off stage in a way that you can’t with Deathspell Omega. It isn’t just a matter of their “spooky” orthodox satanist gimmick. Plenty of other bands have aimed for lofty philosophical pretenses and only looked more dorky. No, what sells Deathspell Omega as larger than life is their music, which is why black metal fans across the web fell backwards out of their chairs when the cover art for their new EP The Synarchy of Molten Bones appeared with Beyoncé-esque suddenness on their bandcamp.

The hype was warranted. Molten Bones isn’t necessarily a return to form. If you thought the nearly consonant melodies that started cropping up on Paracletus and Droughts were a problem, you probably won’t have much fun with this EP. But the band’s pace has been ramped back up to black metal speeds instead of the post-hardcore midtempo of their last two albums. The high speeds only heighten the drama. The less human Deathspell Omega’s drummer sounds, the easier it becomes to picture the gooey, distended guitar lines emerging from something other than amplifiers. The woozy end of “Famished For Breath” in particular sounds like someone playing a record backwards and forwards simultaneously.

The EP’s true highlight however is the lengthy “Onward where Most with Ravin I may meet.” The song acts as a summary of Deathspell’s growth thus far, blending mesmerizing black metal with the sound design and knotty time changes of their later work. If we could peek behind the curtain and see the members of Deathspell Omega at work on this track, it would still be an incredible feat of musicianship and composition. But the veil of secrecy allows “Onward” to be much more. The haunting choir that pierces through the noise about half way through the track, along with the distant orchestral instruments that crop up on the rest of the EP, can be more than just inspired musical choices. They can, if you allow them to, paint an image of something ineffable and just out of reach. This requires more participation than your average black metal track. It requires you to shed cynicism and allow yourself to be terrified in a way that would seem extremely corny to anyone looking through your window.

Halloween means different things to different people. For college students it’s a great excuse to drink yourself silly, for kids it’s a way to extort your neighbors for candy. Maybe you make it a family outing and dress up with your kid, maybe you stay inside and watch horror films with your significant other. But there’s a certain age when Halloween can mean just a hair more. It can be a chance to melt away into a costume and step outside of your identity. For one night, the limbs of trees can reach out to you with clawed menace. Once the sun sets the world is allowed, briefly, to be more than itself.

I find it hard to imagine Deathspell Omega standing in line at Guitar Center, or reminiscing about their childhood. But I can imagine them slipping away from their daily lives and writing music that evokes a sense of childlike terror and wonder. And in that moment, I imagine them being deservedly proud of themselves.

...

...

The Synarchy of Molten Bones will be out on November 8 via Norma Evangelium Diaboli. Pre orders available here. Follow Deathspell Oemga on Facebook.

...