Home > Black Metal > Deathspell Omega – Satan’s Grad Student Theoreticians

Deathspell Omega – Satan’s Grad Student Theoreticians

Deathspell Omega - "Paracletus" (2010)

Deathspell Omega – “Paracletus” (Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2010)

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” This phrase appeared in Dante’s Divine Comedy when he strolled through the gates of H-E-Double-Toothpick but, honestly, it should be nailed above the door of every liberal arts department in graduate schools. Why? Because there are no jobs, no money, no nothing in academia these days unless you want a wheelbarrow full of low paying, long hour adjunct jobs, a circle of hell that Dante never visited. So what are a group of newly-minted Philosophy and Comparative Literature Ph.D.s supposed to do when they can’t find gainful employment commiserate with their educational accomplishments? Turn dark, bitter and resentful, transfer their years of marinating in Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari and Lyotard to an all-consuming obsession with Satan, form a band and release a trilogy of the most ferocious, dense and Satanic Black Metal discs the world has heard. And call their band, Deathspell Omega.

Now, granted, this scenario is pure speculation on my part. I can only guess about them because there is no biographical information about France’s Deathspell Omega – no website, no photographs, and only a few academic, impenetrable interviews. They refuse to play live shows and to tour. Deathspell Omega exists, it appears, only to spew the darkest vitriol.

Let’s get this straight at the start – most of the Satanic stuff in Black Metal is downright stupid. The band Gorgoroth, for example, has a song called “Procreating Satan.” Now, I can’t tell from the title or the lyrics what the song is about but if it is about “procreating” Satan then it should be titled, “Doing Satan’s Mom.” Deathspell Omega are not silly or stupid like Gorgoroth – they are intelligently and intensely serious about their Dark Overlord. They fancy themselves as theologians, theoreticians and ideologues of the Black Metal Satan sweepstakes.

Here is what little I have been able to piece together about Deathspell Omega. They recorded a demo, Disciples of the Ultimate Void, before putting together their first album, Infernal Battles, in 2000. Both of these efforts were supposedly Darkthrone-influenced generic Black Metal. In the years since these early efforts, the band had transformed themselves from an aggregation that survived by churning out derivative work to an experimental, technical and avant-garde, post-rock, dark metal behemoth.

The transformation began with the monumental Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice (Latin for “If You Seek His Monument, Look Around”) in 2004. It was the ferocious first installment of a trilogy of platters exploring the relationship of man and woman with God and Lucifer. The next installment of the trilogy Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum (“Divine Law – Depart from Me, Ye Cursed, into Everlasting Fire”) crawled out of the abyss three years later. The concluding disc, Paracletus, was released last month.

What does it sound like? Aggressive, dissonant, and intense – intense as hell:

Deathspell Omega – “Epiklesis I” and “Wings Of Predation”


Musically, the album is gloriously resplendent in its atonality and seasick rhythmic complexity. It sounds as if Don Van Vliet had captained a Black Metal band when he cut “Ice Cream for Crow” or if Greg Ginn’s band had been called “Black Metal” instead of Black Flag.

The intensity of Paracletus makes it Black Metal’s only truly scary album.

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