- Darkthrone, Ved Buens Ende, Gorguts, John Coltrane, Black Sabbath, Diamanda Galás, King Crimson, Judas Priest, Dead Can Dance, Celtic Frost, Kreator, Napalm Death, Carcass, Magma, Yacøpsæ, Immolation, Oxbow, Amebix, Giacinto Scelsi, Autopsy, Genocide Organ, Brighter Death Now, In Slaughter Natives, Portishead, Allan Holdsworth, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Scott Walker, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gyorgy Ligeti, Joy Division, Elend, Abigor, Samael
and bless this sacrifice prepared for the glory of Thy Holy Name
Deathspell Omega are an avant garde Black Metal band founded in Poitiers, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France, in 1998. This is very nearly the only thing that is known for certain about them, as we will discuss shortly. Alongside Blut aus Nord and Alcest, they are probably that country's most famous black metal export. They are notable for their unconventional approach to the genre, eschewing black metal's traditional Three Chords and the Truth philosophy in favor of a far more complex approach that makes use of incredibly intricate, difficult music and erudite, philosophical lyrics that usually deal with metaphysical Satanism (the band has stated that "all other interpretations of Satan are intellectually invalid"). But let's not get too ahead of ourselves just yet. They are also considered part of the "orthodox black metal" movement, which does not refer to their highly unorthodox musical style but rather to their theistic Satanism (in contrast with atheistic satanists like King Diamond and Akercocke; other orthodox black metal artists include Ondskapt, Funeral Mist, Watain, and S.V.E.S.T.).
They are also notable for their extreme reclusiveness, even by Black Metal standards; only one of the current band members' identities is confirmed by any official source, and they did not give a single interview between 2004 (with Ajna Offensive) and 2019 (with Bardo Methodology). Their most recent interview was conducted in 2020 with the webzine Cult Never Dies. The bulk of the information that is known about their membership is apparently sourced from email interviews with their first vocalist, Shaxul. The band was evidently founded by guitarist Hasjarl (real name Christian Bouché) along with Shaxul, a bassist known only as Khaos, and a drummer by the name of Yohann Pasquier, originally intended as a side project to the band Hirilorn, which all except Khaos were members of. Yohann is The Pete Best and appears only on the band's demo. No one outside the band knows who plays drums on their subsequent recordings; it's been suggested that Hasjarl's brother (no known name or pseudonym) is the drummer, but no one knows for certain. This is another recurring theme for the band; their last recording to credit individual performers was in 2002. (The band has denied speculations that most of their recordings use a drum machine, indicating that only the first four tracks on Infernal Battles employed one.) From 2004 to 2019, none of their releases listed songwriters, either; however, some releases of 2022's The Long Defeat on streaming services have evidently credited Bouché as songwriter (perhaps due to the band concluding that his identity is by now an open secret).
Shaxul left the band in 2002 because of his distaste for their evolving direction towards orthodox Satanism, which became their primary lyrical theme from 2004 through 2012. A common speculation is that Finnish metal musician Mikko Aspa (of Clandestine Blaze, Stabat Mater, and numerous other projects) replaced him, initially as the band's sole vocalist, but neither Aspa nor the band have ever explicitly confirmed this. Recordings starting around 2008's Chaining the Katechon seem to have a second vocalist with a very different style; fan speculation has suggested this might be Spica of S.V.E.S.T. ("Chaining the Katechon" was in fact part of a split LP with S.V.E.S.T.), but again, neither Spica nor Deathspell Omega have confirmed this.
Particularly after Shaxul's departure, they evolved from a fairly Three Chords and the Truth style inspired primarily by Darkthrone on their earliest recordings to some of the most musically and lyrically sophisticated and erudite output in a genre frequently noted for Straw Nihilist and Hollywood Satanist lyrical stances. Their music frequently incorporates influences not commonly found in black metal, including church chants, twentieth-century classical music, and free jazz.note The lyrics commonly incorporate obscure bits of scripture and theological commentary, as well as numerous (mostly French) literary sources, most notably the surrealist Georges Bataille.
Deathspell Omega's primary works during the 2004-2012 era were a series of three Concept Albums dealing with God, Satan, and humanity's relationship with the above, respectively 2004's Si monumentum requires, circumspice (Latin for If You Will Seek a Monument, Look Around You), 2007's Fas - ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum (Latin for Divine Law - Depart, Ye Accursed, into Everlasting Flame), and 2010's Paracletus (Latin for Comforter, a word commonly used to refer to the Holy Ghost). During this time they also released a series of EPs and split albums totalling up to about two additional hours of music on their part. In 2012, they released a box set of seven LPs containing all their recordings during this period.
After a four-year silence, the band unexpectedly announced the release of their sixth full-length album, 2016's The Synarchy of Molten Bones, a few weeks before it was to drop. Musically, it served as something of a synthesis and refinement of their work since 2004; lyrically, it described an apocalypse, which was hardly unexpected from them, but it incorporated a massive influence from Greek mythology, which was.
Two and a half years later, they once again unexpectedly announced their seventh full-length album, 2019's The Furnaces of Palingenesia, which was recorded live in the studio. Lyrically, this album has proved an even bigger surprise; they have left the world of metaphysics behind in favour of a terrifying political dystopia, presented from the perspective of a would-be dictator, that has earned comparisons to George Orwell's classic novel 1984. The band's intended message is fiercely anti-authoritarian, as confirmed in their June 2019 interview with Bardo Methodology (link above). This is the subject of no small irony, as we will discuss shortly, but the Bardo interview confirms that the "French core of the collective... is the creative core and source of music and lyrics", and they are firmly opposed to authoritarianism of all stripes. The band states:
- "[A] lot of our narrative is based on the quintessence of actual historical writings: first and foremost, the voice of the utopians-turned-murderers and of their countless passive accomplices. Academic literature which coldly and scientifically dissected and deconstructed the mental patterns at work. The testimony of the victims, eventually, ghastly voices whose screams are todays world whether you want to hear them or not."
The album attracted no small degree of controversy, however, because the band's presumed vocalist, Mikko Aspa, has ties to authoritarian politics. The Needle Drop, for instance, originally gave the album a favourable review, but evidently pulled the video after becoming aware of Aspa's political associations. The band themselves comment on the ideological chasm within the band (and, more implicitly, the controversy surrounding the album) in the Bardo interview, without explicitly referring to any of their members by name:
- "A minority of the collectives contributors shall we say, parts of the second circle whove been invited to partake because of their incredible talents as musicians are involved with earthly politics, but stand on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum and are therefore irreconcilable political foes. Were it not for dialogue on the grounds of transgressive art, theyd be shooting each other. That tension is what interests us. Its also an echo of more complex days times when childhood friends Aragon the communist, Malraux the Gaullist and Drieu La Rochelle the fascist, while never reneging on their respective irreconcilable combats, for years lost neither the ability for sincere and profound dialogue nor their admiration for each others unique talents."
The likeliest reading is that Aspa is involved with the band as a session vocalist, and that they strongly oppose each other's political stances but are nonetheless willing to work with one another for the sake of their music. It is also speculated that Aspa may no longer even be the band's only vocalist (if indeed he ever was a member of the band - again, all information on the band membership after 2002 is purely a matter of conjecture, since it has never been confirmed by any official sources); since at least Paracletus, there have been several passages in many of their songs that seemingly contain two vocalists using substantially different styles, and Furnaces being a live release would certainly suggest that there must be at least two vocalists. The most common hypotheses for the second vocalist are Spica of S.V.E.S.T., a band with whom Deathspell has released a split albumnote ; and Franck Hueso of Carpenter Brut, a fellow Poitiers musician whom Tobias Forge of Ghost has cited as having produced several of Deathspell's albums.
Deathspell Omega's eighth album, The Long Defeat, appeared in March 2022, heralded in a press release as the start of the band's "third era". The most immediately obvious change is that Aspa no longer seems to be the band's sole lead vocalist (assuming that he ever was one); given the band's proud tradition of anonymity, speculation will undoubtedly rage as to who now performs the band's vocals, although there are almost certainly multiple vocalists on the album; several individual tracks even seem to have multiple lead vocalists. (A common conjecture is that most if not all of the vocals on the first track are performed by Mortuus/Arioch of Marduk and Funeral Mist, but there is of course no official confirmation of this.) Apart from that, the most obvious sonic difference is the presence of several more conventionally melodic segments in between the expected dissonance. The album itself is something of a triptych: in addition to the lyrics, it is accompanied by a fable and a two-metre-long mural that complement the lyrics.
A further note should be made on the subject of Mind Screw and Viewers Are Geniuses. Their lyrics frequently contain phrases in several languages, and they are written in grammatically correct Antiquated Linguistics with Purple Prose and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness aplenty. They are a textbook example of Tropes Are Tools on this count: their employment of these devices is commonly considered to make their lyrics all the more effective. On the musical count, it should be noted that while they possess immense and obvious musical skill, their music is most assuredly not for everyone. It is incredibly dark both musically and lyrically, and it is some of the heaviest music in a genre known for being musically uncompromising. You have been warned.
While they don't have an official website, they did have a Bandcamp where you can stream and purchase their music. (As of April 16, 2022, it's been removed; it's not yet clear if this is temporary, but their label issued a short statement on May 5 indicating that it was not their decision.) It's a good way to sample their music if you're not sure whether you're ready to dive in. Some good tracks for newcomers to get their feet wet are the prayers, "Carnal Malefactor", and "Malign Paradigm" from Si monumentum requires, circumspice; "Apokatastasis pantôn" from Paracletus; "Salowe Vision" and "The Crackled Book of Life" from Drought; and probably all of The Long Defeat. If these are too heavy for you, you're not ready for the rest of their discography yet.
- Infernal Battles (2000)
- Inquisitors of Satan (2002)
- Si monumentum requires, circumspice (2004)
- Fas - Ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum (2007)
- Paracletus (2010)
- The Synarchy of Molten Bones (2016)note
- The Furnaces of Palingenesia (2019)note
- The Long Defeat (2022)note
- Kénôse (2005)
- Veritas diaboli manet in aeternum: Chaining the Katechon (2008)note
- Mass Grave Aesthetics (2008)note
- Diabolus absconditus (2011)note
- Drought (2012)
- Disciples of the Ultimate Void (1999, demo)
- Demoniac Vengeance (2000, split with Sob a lua do bode by Moonblood)
- Split with Clandestine Blaze (2001)
- Split with Mütiilation (2002)
- From the Entrails to the Dirt (2005, split with Malicious Secrets, Antaeus, and Mütiilation)
- Crushing the Holy Trinity (2005, split with Stabat Mater, Musta Surma, Clandestine Blaze, Mgła, and Exordium)
- Manifestations 2000-2001 (2008, compilation)note
- Manifestations 2002 (2008, previously unreleased material)
- First picture disc box (2009, 5-LP compilation of the band's 1999-2002 material, including both Manifestations releases and their side of the split with Clandestine Blaze)
- Second picture disc box (2012, 7-LP compilation of the band's 2004-2012 material)
Tropes specifically applicable to The Furnaces of Palingenesia can be found on the page for that album. Tropes applicable to other albums in their discography, to their discography as a whole, or to the band themselves can be found below.
- Above Good and Evil: To some extent, this seems to be a core component of their philosophy in the Bardo interview, as they argue that things are more complicated than the Black-and-White Morality that many stories try to reduce ethics to (see Black-and-White Insanity below). The band also uses the phrase "beyond good and evil" verbatim, which doubles as a Shout-Out to a work by Friedrich Nietzsche. However, it's downplayed, since they still express a clear ethical stance (in direct contrast to their earlier interviews, we might note), explicitly condemning numerous aspects of human society such as mankind's pillage of the environment and the preying of the powerful on the weak. Their stance in the interview comes across as something of a case of Black-and-Grey Morality, or perhaps A Lighter Shade of Black. This trope was arguably played completely straight on their earlier work, however.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Almost every paragraph of the fable for The Long Defeat contains at least one example.
- Album Intro Track: "First Prayer" for Si monumentum, "Obombration" for Fas - Ite, "Epiklesis I" for Paracletus, "Salowe Vision" for Drought, and "Neither Meaning Nor Justice" for The Furnaces of Palingenesia.
- Album Title Drop: The Long Defeat has one in both its fable:
- One would have to imagine that Sisyphus is happy belches the monstrous poodle with palpable disdain. Sisyphus is fighting a very long defeat, and since when do we like the defeated? Honour goes to victors only!
- And in its Title Track:
- To the veil between divinity and man: the Devil! Yes! To the abhorrent lord of this earth, hearken to the long defeat.
- Anachronic Order: The Long Defeat's songs, if the fable is any indication. In particular, though "Enantiodromia" is the first song on the album, it corresponds to the end of the fable. The title track also doesn't seem to have any counterpart in the fable.
- Anonymous Band: Probably one of the most effective examples of this in metal. In the Age of Information, there's nothing concrete about the band members' identities; there are no promotional photos of the band, they have no official website, and after their first two albums, they stopped even crediting themselves under pseudonyms (or indeed, listing any credits for their albums at all). There is speculation, though:
- Metal Archives claims that the band was formed by Hirilorn ex-members Hasjarl (guitars) and Shaxul (vocals), plus ex-Barbatos live bassist Khaos. The vocalist from Si monumentum onwards is likely Finnish black metaller Mikko Aspa, of Clandestine Blaze and a ton of other bands, and the drummer may be Hasjarl's brother or a well-disguised drum machine.* A few others say they have no fixed lineup, with members from other bands collaborating for each release; S.V.E.S.T. and Abigor have been named as possible guests. A related hypothesis is that S.V.E.S.T. has been absorbed into Deathspell Omega, given that S.V.E.S.T. hasn't released anything since their split, and that Deathspell Omega now seems to have two vocalists, one of whom sounds quite like S.V.E.S.T.'s Spica.
- At least one name has been confirmed: Ghost vocalist Tobias Forge stated that French Synthwave musician Franck Hueso of Carpenter Brut is Deathspell Omega's producer.
- Their recent interviews make this arguably a Justified Trope, interestingly enough. They have commented that surveillance is one of the core components of fascism, and that electronic surveillance is one of the major issues facing humanity in the twenty-first century. Their anonymity can thus be interpreted as a deliberate choice to resist this as much as possible. See Sinister Surveillance below for more on this.
- The Long Defeat may be their first album in decades to avert this trope in any sense: several streaming sites apparently credit the songwriting to Christian Bouché (Hasjarl's real name, as listed on Metal Archives, Rate Your Music, Discogs, Metal Storm, and several other sites). This may simply be a case of the band deciding that it was no longer really a secret. The performers on the album, however, remain a matter of conjecture (though we can assume Hasjarl played guitars as usual). The fact that their drummer and bassist's identities remain matters of conjecture after more than twenty years (there are pictures of Khaos performing with Barbatos, but his real name remains unknown, and while it's suspected that Hasjarl's brother is the drummer, no one really knows for sure) is an impressive accomplishment.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Almost all their English-language lyrics are written in the Early Modern English dialect typical of William Shakespeare and the King James Version Bible. Unlike a lot of bands that use this trope, though, they're actually good at it.
- Apocalypse How: Lyrically, The Synarchy of Molten Bones largely describes an apocalypse. This is also one interpretation of the ending of The Furnaces of Palingenesia, and "Chaining the Katechon" is also themed around this trope.
- Arc Words: The phrase "God of terror, very low dost thou bring us, very low hast thou brought us" (a quote from Georges Bataille's My Mother) is the first sentence of "The Shrine of Mad Laughter" and the final sentence of "A Chore for the Lost".
- The Assimilator: One common fan hypothesis is that the reason that S.V.E.S.T. hasn't released anything since their split with Deathspell Omega is because both members of S.V.E.S.T. have since joined Deathspell Omega permanently. The Furnaces of Palingenesia was recorded live in the studio, and there are two vocal parts on many segments of the album (as well as Paracletus and other releases); one vocalist sounds fairly similar to S.V.E.S.T.'s Spica. Neither S.V.E.S.T. nor Deathspell Omega have confirmed this, though, so no one outside those two bands knows for certain. Nonetheless, S.V.E.S.T. is still listed as active on Metal Archives. (Mikko Aspa's bands Clandestine Blaze and Stabat Mater also released splits with Deathspell Omega before he is assumed to have joined, though those projects continue to release new music.)
- As the Good Book Says...: The English Biblical quotes in their music are usually from the King James Version. There are some in classical Greek or Latin, too. Naturally, they're generally used ironically, with the references to God often inverted to refer to Satan.
- Author Avatar: The Devil effectively acts as this in The Long Defeat's fable, which will hardly surprise anyone remotely familiar with this band. Equally unsurprisingly, he's also commonly sarcastic. However, anyone who's read their 2019 or 2020 interviews (and probably many people who haven't) will be able to parse which parts are sarcasm and which are sincere without trouble.
- Avant-Garde Metal: Became this as of Si monumentum requires, circumspice. Interestingly, this seems to have made them more commercially successful, even if their music is nowhere close to being mainstream.
- Badass Baritone: All of the spoken word parts on Paracletus, notably the lengthy monologue in "Dearth." Also, the sung passages that show up occasionally (the end of "Chaining the Katechon" has one good example).
- Band of Relatives: As indicated under Anonymous Band, it's rumoured that the guitarist and the drummer are brothers.
- Beast Fable: The parable that acts as a preamble for The Long Defeat consists of several birds, a horse, and the Devil in the form of a diseased poodle debating the sins of mankind to a human who has fled the city.
- Bilingual Bonus: Many of their lyrics are in Latin and French (most of the band members, it should be noted, are French. Probably). They also throw in other languages, including Aramaic, Greek, and German.
- In particular, the title track of The Long Defeat is sung entirely in French, even though the lyrics are printed in English. A transcription of most of what is actually sung can be found here.
- Black-and-White Insanity: The band themselves, surprisingly, condemn Black-and-White Morality in the Bardo Methodology interview as being destructive to artistic creation and to society itself. They argue that humans should be honest with themselves about their flaws, in a manner that could be read as advocating a conception of the world in terms of Black-and-Grey Morality:If you make art safe, no matter your concerns moral, aesthetic or otherwise you sterilise it and, in the long run, with utmost certainty, kill it. If, on the contrary, you allow and even invite conflict and chaos at the core of the matrix, you enhance the possibilities infinitely. Ironically, by taking this approach which in many ways mimics life itself we espouse a Nietzschean life-affirming stance whilst potential detractors to our method stand within the ranks of those slowly choking the human mind, paving the way for the aforementioned last man. If only things were as simple as good and evil!
As an artist, you ought to be obsessed by cruelty. Cruelty towards yourself, as you ruthlessly discard works which dont live up to your standards standards which must be devoid of any complacency and in a constant and strenuous process of self-betterment, killing the mediocre material over and over again. Cruelty in the implacable execution of your art. Cruelty in the themes you consider unworthy and those you choose to convey.
- And, more broadly:It acts like a mirror and some may, predictably, not like what they see if they see anything at all because it contributes to shatter a myth thats so central to stability both on an individual and civilisational level: the impervious necessity to believe that what we do is just, that we are just, that good and evil in intent and deed are as distinct as night and day. That what we do is condoned either by God or whatever man-made order thats taken precedence whose exceptionalism is of course indisputable and acts like a secular religion. Those who missed the religious nature of the ideology of progress, nationalism, Marxism, basically any discourse based on a human collective from an essentialist point of view, up to Milton Friedmans approach to capitalism and the potential of a good narrative to befuddle the masses, Pied Piper of Hamelin-style havent been paying much attention to their surroundings. In short, one of the questions emerging at the end of the process reads as follows: how much have YOU already surrendered to the Devil? How many of the depicted mechanisms have YOU unconsciously made your own, thus how infected and corrupt are YOU? People often greatly overestimate their innocence the louder the virtue signalling, the higher the odds but it takes a frank and courageous character to admit to that.
- And, more broadly:
- Black Metal: A very dark and noisy variant, though their early material is more conventional.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Most of their work often comes across as a Real Life example. Considering that they're heavily inspired by French decadent art and esoteric studies of obscure aspects of Christianity, this is par for the course. As of The Furnaces of Palingenesia, however, this is probably an Averted Trope.
- Boléro Effect: The first five minutes of Kénôse are a steadily building instrumental section with some spoken word that transitions via Ominous Latin Chanting into the band's typical black metal assault.
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Laurent Tailhade, an infamous Real Life example of this trope (with whom most modern anarchists probably won't agree), is quoted in the epigram to "Mass Grave Aesthetics":"What matter the victims, provided the gesture is beautiful? What matters the death of vague human beings, if thereby the individual affirms himself?"
- The band themselves (or at least their French members) may actually, surprisingly, avert or even invert this trope. Their exact political stance is difficult to pin down, but in the Bardo Methodology interview, they are quite negative about humanity's propensity for violence and the corruption of human political systems in a manner that would be consistent with pacifist or non-violent anarchism. The Cult Never Dies interview reads similarly. The Long Defeat's fable explicitly condemns humanity's violence (see Green Aesop below) and imposition of order through hierarchy (see Capitalism Is Bad below), which lends further credence to this reading.
- Bookends: Fas - Ite begins and ends with different versions of the song "Obombration." In addition, "A Chore for the Lost", the last full song on the album, reprises the lines "God of terror, very low dost thou bring us, very low hast thou brought us", which were the first lines of "The Shrine of Mad Laughter", the first full song on the album.
- Breather Episode:
- The prayers on Si monumentum and the midsection of "Carnal Malefactor", compared to the rest of the album - the prayers are really heavy and experimental Nightmare Fuel in their own right, and the middle of "Carnal Malefactor" (which has had a Nothing Is Scarier feeling throughout) subverts the trope by ending with a Scare Chord.
- The acoustic midsection of "Diabolus absconditus", though again, it's downplayed - it's still pretty creepy.
- Fas also has several, though yet again, it's downplayed or Zig-Zagged. Several passages are almost inaudible, but again, this simply creates a feeling of Nothing Is Scarier. There are, however, more clearly audible passages that are fairly gentle and aren't quite as paranoia-inducing - for instance, both "The Repellent Scars of Abandon & Election" and "A Chore for the Lost" begin this way.
- On Paracletus, "Epiklesis II" serves this purpose (though - are you noticing a pattern yet? - it's downplayed). There are also a few other shorter passages within other tracks that aren't as heavy as the rest of the album.
- The Synarchy of Molten Bones is a largely unrelenting assault, but even here, the end of "Famished for Breath" is legitimately beautiful and serves as something of a case of this trope.
- Two downplayed cases on The Furnaces of Palingenesia are "1523" and "You Cannot Even Find the Ruins...", which are just as bleak musically and lyrically as the surrounding material and still have the band's trademark Harsh Vocals, but turn down the distortion and blasting for few minutes each.
- Capitalism Is Bad: Capitalism is criticized in The Furnaces of Palingenesia. Also, from the Bardo Methodology interview, mixed with a Green Aesop:
- "Lucid in some regards Saint-Simon, Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, Auguste Comte all knew that there had to be a derivative to mans innate aggressive impulses and promoted industry as a means of channelling it and transforming this sinister energy into material progress for the collective. Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, author of La Marseillaise, wrote a chant to the glory of industry and productivism. Instead of conquering other people or other nations, man ought to conquer nature to subjugate the natural world under his yoke. These murderous impulses were neither amended nor negated, simply directed at another target."
- The Long Defeat has quite a lot of this as well:You revel in inequity. Inequity is your womb! How dare you even speak? Your hand has been too busy casting stones when, all the while, it shouldve covered your shameful face. Yes, I saw you! What you call civilisation is merely a fleeting attempt at taming the primordial beast. As you cannot fend off that ageless urge, how sly you are to channel it instead! He pauses. And even so, your entire species is a miser when it comes to mercy. It extends no further than what you have within your immediate sight. You are the direct descendant of perpetual discord. When your kind tries to impose sense upon the absurd, it is carried out through hierarchy. And since your hierarchies are ironclad, it must be enforced with arms. Tribe, class, caste, creed words worth their weight in gold to whomever acquires a taste for blood and tears. Golden keys to swing wide open the very gates of Hell.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The band themselves were arguably examples in earlier interviews, but they seem to have undergone a slight HeelFace Turn as of the Bardo Methodology interview.
- Childless Dystopia: Alluded to in "Malign Paradigm" and "Chaining the Katechon". The band's overall philosophical stance has sometimes been described as anti-natalist (i.e., they are philosophically in opposition to human reproduction).Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est.translation
- Classical Mythology: A major lyrical theme of Synarchy. Furnaces touches on it some as well, though it's not a major focus there.
- Concept Album: Si monumentum through Paracletus forms a trilogy of concept albums based around God, Satan, and man, with Drought serving as a sort of appendix (Kénôse, "Diabolus absconditus", "Mass Grave Aesthetics", and Chaining the Katechon are also sometimes considered related works, including, according to Norma Evangelium Diaboli, by the band themselves). The Synarchy of Molten Bones also has a concept dealing with the apocalypse. The Furnaces of Palingenesia focuses on a heavy deconstruction of a fascist society to the point of full blown satire. There's heavy comparisons of it to even 1984. The Long Defeat centres around a Beast Fable printed in the album liner notes (and in the lyrics to the first track on Bandcamp), which ends with a To Be Continued. The lyrics are an alternate take on the same concepts.
- The Corruption: Their view of Satan seems to be something like this. Rather than being a distinct entity, they seem to interpret Satan as being the metaphysical force of corruption in the universe. This would seem to be supported in the Bardo Methodology interview, where they explicitly refer to Satan as an egregore in a manner consistent with this trope:"One ought to distinguish between that which is the Divine which on one hand is and shall remain, by definition, unknowable to man and how this principle manifests. The means, if you will. At the core of it, discussions regarding the existence or non-existence of divinity are about as irrelevant as Byzantine debates on the gender of angels. What matters is the conduit, man, and his biotope: this planet. At the very end of a superfluous process of vulgarisation, Satan is as undoubtedly real as man makes Him; an egregore, if you will, and its denomination is perfectly irrelevant so long as after peeling layers and layers of dissimulation the Accuser and the Adversary stare you in the eyes. The sceptic may want to keep in mind that it took the Red Khmers only a few years to give birth to an egregore, an entity called the Angkar, which possessed, at least in appearance, most traits of what we Westerners could call divinity. People lived and a fourth of all Cambodians died under the rule of the partys spiritual emanation a golden calf, perhaps, though no doubt deadly and real enough, should you ask the victims."
- Cosmic Horror Story: They arguably apply this mindset to Biblical scripture.
- Crapsack Cosmos: Their cosmology seems to have a large element of this. It's difficult to tell for certain underneath all the layers of Mind Screw, but given their portrayal of both God and Satan as nigh-Eldritch Abominations, the inevitable conclusion seems to be that humans are doomed to suffering. The reason they side with Satanism appears to be primarily due to At Least I Admit It.
- The Furnaces of Palingenesia turns this approach to politics: since Humans Are Bastards, every political system is doomed to corruption and suffering. The album is sung from the perspective of a would-be dictator, and it's been repeatedly compared to 1984 because it paints such a bleak picture. The Bardo interview explicitly confirms that the album is a denunciation of authoritarianism and humanity's self-destructiveness.
- Creator Thumbprint: From Si monumentum requires, circumspice onwards, there's usually a deliberate, careful structure to their otherwise chaotic material.
- In their interview with The Ajna Offensive, they commented that Si monumentum's structure was influenced by rock double albums from The '70s: the first three sides open with Lighter and Softer "prayers"; side D's "Carnal Malefactor", though somewhat breaking the pattern, is still lighter than the album's other metal songs even at its heaviest and is also broken up by a church chant midsection; and the album closes as a whole with a mellow instrumental.
- Fas is bookended by two different variations of "Obombration" (though they're not closely related musically) and some shared lyrics.
- Paracletus opens each side with an "Epiklesis" (Greek for "Invocation", though again, they have little in common musically), and side B is bookended by a Recurring Riff.
- Drought is bookended by Lighter and Softer instrumentals, and The Synarchy of Molten Bones by similar orchestral stings.
- There are mild Breather Episodes in The Furnaces of Palingenesia: the Album Intro Track, "1523" (track number six, the exact midpoint of the album), and "You Cannot Even Find the Ruins..." (the eleventh and final track). This gives the album a sort of 1-4-1-4-1 structure, and it's also rather reminiscent of Paracletus' structure, particularly since most of the songs on both albums fade into each other.
- Dark Reprise: The second "Obombration", which closes out Fas with a hellish orchestral swell and screamed vocals in Latin.
- Darker and Edgier: Along with Anaal Nathrakh and (more recently) Jute Gyte, they (somehow) manage to be this for Black Metal.
- Also, Fas and Synarchy somehow manage to be examples of this when compared to the rest of their work. Furthermore, everything recorded after 2002 probably counts when compared to the Shaxul-era material.
- To some extent, The Furnaces of Palingenesia falls into this category as well. It's not as chaotic as Fas and Synarchy, but it has fewer let-ups in intensity than most of the band's discography. Lyrically, the album arguably also qualifies, since by turning its attention to real-world politics, the band has arguably emerged with an even more pessimistic viewpoint.
- Deadpan Snarker:
An Irminsul, really? Have we ever worked with the Norse tradition?
- They show some hints of this in the Bardo Methodology interview.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "Ad Arma! Ad Arma!" The final scene has some splashes of blood, though.
- Design Student's Orgasm: They tend to have very detailed and ornate album covers, often inspired by classical Christian artwork. Si monumentum, Paracletus, Drought, and Synarchy are good examples (though the last of these is inspired by literature instead; see Shout-Out below).
- Devil, but No God: Earth is depicted in their lyrics as "a frenetic psalmody for His venue", with God either having left it behind due to its inherently sinful nature, or actively destroying man for the very same reason. Meanwhile, their song title "Diabolus absconditus" ("hidden devil") is derived from the theological concept of Deus absconditus ("hidden God"), which basically postulates that this trope has happened (and which is referenced by name in the song). It's made explicitly clear in Drought, where God has officially relinquished any hold he once had over humanity, leaving the world to Satan to Mercy Kill the human race. In The Long Defeat's fable, meanwhile, God does not actually appear, but if we can trust the Devil, he at least still exists; the Devil claims, "God himself is none too happy. His heavenly highness has grown somewhat sullen since you proclaimed him dead." See God is Dead below for more on this.
- Double Entendre: A possible non-sexual version. In Latin, no less. The phrase "Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est", which appears in the packaging for Si monumentum requires, circumspice, appears to contain either a slight grammatical error or a slight misspelling, but this may be intentional, because it's one letter off from two phrases with substantially different meanings: "Dei nostri templum terrarum orbum est" would mean something like "The temple of the lands of our Lord is childless," while "Dei nostri templum terrarum orbis est" would mean "The temple of our Lord is Earth." (This is discussed in further detail under Gratuitous Latin below.) Judging from their interviews, the core band members would probably agree with both of these sentiments.
- Downer Ending:
- Drought concludes the trilogy with God having finally surrendered, giving Satan full control over the earth to do as he wants with it. Inevitably, the world becomes a barren desert with no life forms left but scorpions.
- "You Cannot Even Find the Ruins..." serves a similar purpose for The Furnaces of Palingenesia; it's actually one of the lighter songs on the album in terms of guitar distortion, but it sounds like a funeral dirge, and lyrically it suggests that the outcome of human civilisation won't even rise to the level of Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!. In context, though, one might take grim satisfaction in the song showing how the dystopian society of the Order is ultimately doomed to collapse and be forgotten. Of course, another interpretation of the ending is that the Order leads to the collapse of all of human civilisation, which would be a much darker ending. The band themselves seem to suggest that such an outcome is likely in the real world in the Bardo interview, displaying a strong pessimism about humanity's future.
- Drone of Dread: Used a couple of times, notably in the intro to "Diabolus absconditus," both versions of "Obombration", the opening of "Kénôse Part 1", and the intro and outro to Synarchy.
- Early Installment Weirdness/Later Installment Weirdness: Somehow they manage to play both tropes straight at the same time: their early work is an outlier in the context of their discography because it's relatively conventional black metal. Starting around The Furnaces of Palingenesia, the band's musical approach shifted again. We can also identify three discrete eras in the band's lyrical approach, which correspond exactly to their shifts in musical approach; this is almost certainly not coincidence, as they write their lyrics before their music.
- Most of their material before Si monumentum sounds more like conventional black metal in the vein of Darkthrone and Burzum, occasionally exploring subgenres not often associated with them (like depressive black metal in "The Suicide Curse"). They started experimenting in earnest on Manifestations 2002, and got even weirder from there.
- Infernal Battles is also an outlier because the first four tracks used a drum machine, the only time the band did so - as they comment, "Isn't that obvious?" - and the last four are a demo with really awful recording quality and featuring the band's original drummer, Yohann Pasquier (the only drummer confirmed to have been a member of the band, and his only appearance on one of their recordings). Although some of the band's later works also have sound quality issues, that's for an entirely different reason.
- Their earlier works are also much less sophisticated lyrically, almost reading like the work of a completely different author (which, for all we know, they might be).
- With The Furnaces of Palingenesia, they began using a more organic recording process, recording the main instrument tracks live, mixing it on analogue gear, and not Loudness Warring it as badly as usual. The Long Defeat continues the trend and brings the more melodic and slower moments of the last several albums (which had always been there, but hadn't been emphasised as much) to the forefront.
- The Furnaces of Palingenesia's lyrics also focus much more explicitly on earthly concerns, which were present in some of the band's previous work (i.e., "Diabolus absconditus" quoted one of Auschwitz' victims and Drought was a metaphor for climate change), but were not the primary concern as they are on Furnaces, which only incorporates theology to the extent that it reflects earthly politics. While The Long Defeat once again features Satan and God in its parable, its primary focus remains the condition of our own world.
- Eldritch Abomination: More or less how both God and Satan are portrayed in their lyrics. In "Chaining the Katechon":
- Enfant Terrible: The cover of Si monumentum features a bloated, decaying cherub.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: Many of their recent albums start with one, like "First Prayer" in Si monumentum... and "Obombration" in Fas - not to mention the build-up in "I" from Kénôse.
- "Enantiodromia" kicks off The Long Defeat with a melodic jam lasting 4 minutes before the lyrics appear. While there are technically vocals, they're wordless throat singing.
- Epic Rocking: Frequently - in fact, it's really the rule rather than the exception.
- "Diabolus absconditus" and "Chaining the Katechon" both exceed twenty-two minutes, with "Mass Grave Aesthetics" following at nineteen minutes.
- Kénôse (all songs above nine minutes, with the longest reaching almost sixteen) and Fas - Ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum (all actual songs above seven minutes, with the longest approaching twelve) both consist entirely of this as well (excluding the intro and outro of Fas).
- Depending on whether you consider continuous song suites to be this trope, Paracletus (with both album sides above twenty minutes; the CD and digital versions have no gaps at all and run for about forty-two minutes) and Drought (which runs for almost twenty-one minutes, although there are gaps of a couple of beats between certain tracks) could also be considered examples of this; if not, the latter is Miniscule Rocking instead (at least by this band's standards), though Paracletus would still have examples with "Abscission" and "Dearth".
- Lesser examples include about half of Si monumentum, with "Carnal Malefactor" (11:44) being the standout on that album, and all of Manifestations 2000-2001 and their side of their split with Clandestine Blaze (yep, even before the band abandoned their Three Chords and the Truth sound, they were doing this). One song on Manifestations 2002 and two on Inquisitors of Satan also break the six-minute threshold for this trope.
- They're still at it on The Synarchy of Molten Bones; the shortest track is just under six minutes long while the longest is just over ten.
- The Furnaces of Palingenesia is their first album in awhile not to feature any examples, though given that most of them are connected with Fading into the Next Song, this is arguably a Double Subversion. It's very difficult to tell where many of the songs begin and end, so they can perhaps be considered movements of a longer piece rather than separate songs.
- The Long Defeat contains five tracks that collectively run for just over forty-four minutes; the shortest, "Our Life Is Your Death", is 7:15, and the longest, "Enantiodromia", runs for 11:57.
- Evil Is Hammy: The narrator of The Furnaces of Palingenesia certainly has a way with words, as does Satan in The Long Defeat. For that matter, most of their work arguably fits under this trope.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Their second singer's vocals employ this, being a sort of guttural, death metal rasp. Also pops up with some of their spoken word passages, which are performed in a deep baritone voice.
- Excited Show Title!: "Ad Arma! Ad Arma!" from The Furnaces of Palingenesia as well as "Alleluia!" from Manifestations 2002.
- Existential Horror: Human autonomy (or rather, the lack thereof) is a recurring lyrical theme. DsO insinuate that by accepting free will from Satan, man has no other choice but to sin. The Furnaces of Palingenesia turns this mindset to politics, suggesting that because humanity is innately corrupt, any system of politics will be likewise.
- Fading into the Next Song: Most of their albums starting with Si monumentum do this at least occasionally. On Paracletus and Drought it rises to the level of Siamese Twin Songs. There are actually no gaps at all on the CD and digital versions of several albums (Fas, Paracletus, and Drought, most notably, though you'll need the volume up fairly high to notice in the case of Fas). The Furnaces of Palingenesia also uses this a lot, with only a few songs fading out to silence (mostly the last few).
- Fanservice: The liner notes for Si monumentum contain digitally altered vintage erotica (it's an old photograph of two nude women with one of them altered to have angel wings). The band commented in one of their rare published interviews that it was included due to its transgressive nature. There's also Fan Disservice though; see Gorn below.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: The opening of Synarchy employs this alongside orchestral Drone of Dread.
- For the Evulz: Invoked by the band in interviews. Evil for its own sake is also a recurring lyrical theme, summed up well in "The Repellent Scars of Abandon and Election"."I was beyond withstanding my own ignominy. I invoked it and blessed it. I progressed ever further into vileness and degradation."
- A God Am I: At the climax of "Diabolus absconditus" (taken from Georges Bataille's Madame Edwarda):"'You can see for yourself,' she said. 'I am God.'"
- God and Satan Are Both Jerks: To put it lightly.
- God is Dead: According to Satan in The Long Defeat's fable, God wasn't too thrilled when humanity declared this. If He weren't also so fond of gambling, He might have wiped us out already.
- As it happens, he adds with a secretive tone, God himself is none too happy. His heavenly highness has grown somewhat sullen since you proclaimed him dead. He was just on the verge of discontinuing this entire debacle - again. But fear not, his love for gallows humour is as great as mine; hes also a bit of a gambler. We have a running bet as to just how low you will sink this time around. After all, you are masterful at regression.
- God Is Evil: A core part of their philosophy, though it may also be interpreted as "God is impotent" or "God is apathetic". (In the lyrics to Drought, He comes across more as having simply given up hope on the world.) It should be noted that this does not mean that they think Satan Is Good.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: If we can trust Satan's word in The Long Defeat, he and God seem to have this kind of relationship: they have a running bet (see God is Dead above) over how low humanity's depravity will sink. They may also regard each other as Worthy Opponents if they haven't outright become Vitriolic Best Buds. In any case, Satan seemingly relays a message to the story's protagonist from God Himself.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Comes up from time to time in their lyrics. A notable example is "Chaining the Katechon", especially the lyrics quoted under Eldritch Abomination.
- Gorn: And not just in the way expected of a metal band. The liner notes for Si monuentum contain actual archival photos of murder victims.
- Grand Finale: "Apokatastasis pantôn" concludes the band's trinity of concept albums in a fittingly epic manner.
- Gratuitous German: In context, the song title "Sie sind gerichtet!" means "You are judged!", though out of context, it has several other possible meanings, including "You are directed," "You are rectified," "You are straightened," or (a dated usage) "You are executed." Because German is that kind of language, it could also mean "They are (judged/directed/rectified/straightened/executed)," but context makes it clear that it means you. German grammar notes The band may be ironically referring to a Nazi propaganda poster to suggest (alongside "Eadem, sed aliter", meaning "Again, but differently") that humanity is bound to repeat the mistakes of World War II. (The propaganda poster, we should note, meant "They are judged.")
- Gratuitous Greek:
- Song/album titles:
- "Hétoïmasia" ("Ἑτοιμασία") means "Preparation" (often used in reference to the throne of Jesus Christ for the Second Coming).
- Kénôse is the French version of the term Κένωσης (Kénosis), referring to a doctrine of Jesus' "emptying himself" by becoming human (incidentally, Blut aus Nord used this term's exact antonym, "Henosis" or "Ἕνωσις", meaning "Union", for a song title on Memoria vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry).
- Paracletus is a Latinised form of the Greek word Παράκλητος ("Paraklitos"), meaning comforter or advocate and commonly used to refer to the Holy Spirit.
- An epiklesis (Ἐπίκλησης) is an invocation.
- Apokatastasis pantôn (in Greek script, "Ἀποκατάστᾰσις πάντων") is ancient Greek for recreation of everything.
- "Enantiodromia" (from the Greek Ἐναντιοδρομίας, enantiodromias) is a compound of ἐνάντιος (enantios, opposite) and δρόμος (dromos, running course). It was evidently coined by Johannes Stobaeus in his Eclogarum physicarum et ethicarum (Latin meaning roughly Of Excerpts of Natural and Moral Philosophynote ), but as the concept is central in Heraclitus' philosophy, which influences the entire album, it almost certainly refers to him. The psychiatrist Carl Jung popularised the idea in more recent times, describing it as "the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time". It can be compared to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world. Jung adds, "This characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control." Jung in turn was most likely influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, who discusses the idea in Human, All Too Human Aphorisms 1-3 and Beyond Good and Evil Aphorism 2.
- Lyrically, the first "Obombration" is a mixture of ancient Greek and Latin (the second is all Latin).
- "Standing on the Work of Slaves" uses the phrase "kléos áphthiton" ("κλέος ἄφθιτον"), which means "immortal glory" (helpfully translated by the band immediately beforehand). This is a recurring phrase throughout the works of Homer, especially The Iliad, which the band also references in the same stanza. Strangely, the same phrase also appears in Sanskrit works (as "श्रवो अक्षितम्", "śrávo ákṣitam"), suggesting an origin in Proto-Indo-European.
- The Long Defeat contains several references to arkhè (ᾰ̓ρχή, often transliterated as arche by other sources), in this context meaning beginning. In philosophy, arche refers to a first principle of existing things before the material world as we know it came into existence. The philosopher Heraclitus, whose ideas heavily influenced the entire album, believed that "the arkhè of this world is fire".
- And of course, the bands name itself is also an example.
- Song/album titles:
- Gratuitous Latin: They use lots of (surprisingly good) Latin. From their album and song titles (macrons added in this section where applicable, though they are not used in the official titles):
- Sī monumentum requīrēs, circumspice is one letter off from the inscription of Sir Christopher Wren's tomb, which reads Sī monumentum requīris, circumspice. Deathspell's version technically means "If You Will Seek a Monument, Look Around You", but it is common to see it translated using the present indicative tense ("If You Seek a Monument, Look Around You"). Wren's tomb is written in the present indicative.
- "Sōla fidē" means "By Faith Alone"note , referring to (and mocking) a doctrine in some sects of Christianity that it is possible to earn salvation through faith alone. The song itself contains the line, "Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?", a direct quote from James 2:20 (KJV).note
- "Odium nostrum" means "Our Hatred".
- "Jūbilāte Deō" has the subtitle "O Be Joyful in the Lord", which is a fairly accurate English translation (the exact translation of the verb iūbilāre is "to sing or shout joyfully; to cheer").
- "Diabolus absconditus" means "Concealed Devil". This is a reference to the theological concept of "Deus absconditus" ("Concealed God"), which espouses the idea that God has essentially abandoned the world and cannot be known or accessed by humankind.
- Fās - īte, maledictī, in īgnem aeternum means "Divine Law - Depart, Ye Accursed, into Eternal Flame". The bulk of the title (apart from the first word) comes from the Vulgate translation of Matthew 25:41.
- Vēritās diabolī manet in aeternum means "The Devil's Truth Remains in Eternity".
- "Ad arma! Ad arma!" means "To Arms! To Arms!"
- "Imitātiō Deī" means "Imitation of God".
- "Eādem, sed aliter", in this context, most likely means "Again, but differently"; it's a direct quotation from Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation. Eādem could also translate as By the same means, at the same time, or likewise; and aliter could also mean wrongly, poorly, badly, or negatively.
- There are also an awful lot of Latin phrases in the band's lyrics. A mostly complete list of the band's Latin phrases (along with commentary on the grammatical correctness thereof - there seem to be at most a handful of mistakes, which is quite impressive given how much they use) can be found here.
- One minor (possible) grammatical mistake not mentioned in this blog appears in "Deī nostrī templum terrārum orbus est", a phrase commonly associated with the band's instrumental "Malign Paradigm" that translates roughly along the lines, "The temple of the lands of our Lord is childless" (though owing to its unusual word order, there are a number of other possible interpretationsnote ). If orbus (which is in the nominative case, as it should be in a statement with est linking a noun and an adjective) is meant to describe templum (the only nominative-case noun in the sentence), then it should be orbum to match templum, which is neuter-gender. However, it may also be a slight misspelling of terrārum orbis, a common phrasenote meaning the world or Earthnote , in which case it would mean "The temple of our God is Earth." Given how often they seem to like their works to have multiple plausible interpretations, it is of course entirely possible (if not outright likely) that they intended a pun between both.
- In their interviews (e.g., with Cult Never Dies), they speak of the Rādīx Malōrum, which is Latin for "root of evils". The band is most certainly aware of, and most likely intends to allude to, the common quote from 1 Timothy 6:10, which the Latin Vulgate translation renders as "Rādīx enim omnium malōrum est cupiditās," literally meaning something like, "Truly, the root of all evils is greed," though the more commonly seen KJV translation is "The love of money is the root of all evil." The original ancient Greek of this passage is "ῥίζα γὰρ πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἐστιν ἡ φιλαργυρία", which, per That Other Wiki, translates more literally as "A root of all the evils is the fond love of money" (note the different article - the Greek version can be interpreted as saying all evils can be caused by greed, not that they always are). In any case, though Deathspell Omega have hardly shied from criticising our species' greed, they also seem to think the Rādīx Malōrum is more complicated or extends deeper, and may in fact be an innate biological flaw with humanity.
- Green Aesop: In the Bardo Methodology interview (and later, in The Long Defeat), they argue that humanity is an intrinsically violent species, but has often simply channelled its violence against nature rather than against itself (in a manner dovetailing with Capitalism Is Bad, incidentally). Ironically, the band suggests, by turning its violence against nature, humanity is still likely to destroy itself in the end:"Twice, man committed the highest of crimes: by waging an absolutist war against nature and, therefore, against life itself. And, secondly, by severing the bond to nature and forging an anthropocentric worldview that places man above everything else and, therefore, can be used to justify just about anything no matter how short-sighted or ill-advised so long as it appears to serve mankinds interests. Extracting man from the natural order, by intent if not in effect, was a sign of hubris which remains literally without equivalent and whose resulting devastations will know no equivalent either. Listen carefully enough and youll hear demonic snigger."
- Furnaces also contains explicit examples in passages like the following (which, to be clear, reflect an attitude that the band is condemning):"Everything is degenerate as it leaves the hands of the Author of nature; everything becomes good in the hands of Man."
- For that matter, this is also a plausible interpretation of the band's usage of this quote from the French novelist Léon Bloy that appears in the liner notes of Kénôse:"Le fond de ma pensée est que dans ce monde en chute toute joie éclate dans l'ordre naturel et toute douleur dans l'ordre divin."
- This translates roughly to:"The bottom line of my thinking is that in this falling world, all joy breaks out in the natural order and all pain in the divine order."
- This translates roughly to:
- Drought. As the band points out in their 2020 interview with Cult Never Dies:"The cover for Drought incorporates several references. Most notably the dust bowl that ravaged the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s, an ecological disaster largely caused by you guessed it man. It seemed like a relevant closing point back in 2012. A straightforward metaphor for things to come. And indeed: as of 2019, the planet starts to burn for even the myopic to see.
[...] environmental devastation on a global scale resulting from mans ever-expanding hubris, unfettered anthropocentrism. Should anyone want to tackle that issue at the core, then the challenge is global; requiring coordinated answers and sacrifices from a species that is increasingly navel-gazing and which will, of course, rely on scape-goats and diversion tactics instead of shouldering responsibilities. A species who claimed the throne of God and has since accumulated countless wonders, no doubt. The attentive reader will immediately notice that this theme is as much about devilry as any of the other topics we work with. It is a question of morality on multiple levels, a statement on cosmogony even: it speaks of the profound nature of man. For the secular inclined person, it revolves around the consequences of complex human-made systems that place the human species at the core of everything, unquestionably."
- If one goes with the interpretation that "Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est" is a misspelling of "Dei nostri templum terrarum orbis est," then it means "The temple of our God is Earth."
- This is also, unsurprisingly by now, a central theme of both the fable and the lyrics to The Long Defeat.A sprawling city, shrouded in gloomy radiance, lies next to the ocean. Never before have mortal eyes seen something so infinitely vast, complex, and interwoven. A living, breathing, metropolitan organism: the creation of a race of kings seeking to conquer the stars. Suddenly, the sustained note of a lone horn cleaves the air. The very earth trembles. The ocean Thaumas, perhaps sets in motion three titan waves, each dwarfing the tallest wall. In their wake, all light turns into the darkest night. Lively noise yields to silence and heat surrenders to the cold. All that was dry has now become drenched. What was once considered an unconquerable jewel lies submerged and besieged and that which was quiet returns to being quiet, undisturbed.
The white crow lands on the silhouettes shoulder. It picks at the silhouettes chest with its beak, leaving a pearl of blood. This wound will never heal. May it serve as a reminder of the silence and oblivion that awaits all those whose scales are gripped and who refuse the dance around balance.
Enantiodromia!, shouts a visibly exasperated owl.
- And, shortly thereafter:Dont let these prattling feathery fellows dampen your spirits! You dwell under the eternal law of nature which dictates that in order to survive, one must claim the lives of many others. Becoming an instrument of death is merely to exert upon the earth ones earnest will to live. All that which you do not kill is enslaved, subjugated, and made a tool for your pleasure. And should anything escape your grip, my dear, it is simply because it cannot be turned into riches. For the voluptuousness of bloodshed that unparalleled rush youd willingly abandon both father and mother. All that is required is a gentle push: a little nudge to stir your atavistic urges, the briefest of glimpses beneath the filthy rug of civilisation.
But you are just abiding by your human nature, and that is a good thing very good, in fact, he says with a flattering tone before continuing, playfully, I seem to recall murder being made the first of your forbidden commandments, no? Was this not, in truth, because it is your foremost need? Whether by symbol or blade, death permeates your every undertaking. There is neither rest nor peace of mind to be found, so long as anything breathing has evaded your clutches. Ultimately, of course, this whirlwind will swallow you and your kind, for no one can retain mastery over death, nor contain it, through the course of centuries. In short: all of life is strife, yes, and you are the chief executioner. All is well under the sun, Polemos would be proud!
- And, shortly thereafter:
- Furnaces also contains explicit examples in passages like the following (which, to be clear, reflect an attitude that the band is condemning):
- Guttural Growler: Their second vocalist. The first uses something closer to a typical black metal shriek, as does the third one (who typically can be heard singing along the second starting sometime around Paracletus).
- Hell Is That Noise: A lot of the time.
- The screams in "Phosphene" sound like someone being tortured.
- Special mention goes to that Scare Chord in "Carnal Malefactor" right after the midsection, which also qualifies as this, in a Nothing Is Scarier sort of way.
- At the climax of "Chaining the Katechon", the vocals degenerate into the wails of the insane, coupled with Voice of the Legion.WE WENT! TO THE TROUGH, LORD!
WE WENT, BENT AND CONVUUUUUUULSED!
- Hidden Depths: The Bardo Methodology interview reveals a lot of them, including a love of cinema and mountaineering as well as an unusually diverse musical taste. The band's love of True Art, vehement opposition to authoritarianism, and concern for the natural environment also come through loud and clear.
- Hollywood Satanism: One of the most notable aversions in the genre, if not the most notable. While they played it straight in their early days, Deathspell Omega have since evolved in their Satanic philosophy. Their lyrics now come off as more of a deconstruction of Satanism and its ideals. Satan is portrayed as being just as bad as God, leading humanity deeper down into corruption and senseless violence against themselves and the environment, with much the praise of Satan being more of an acceptance of humanity's inability to redeem itself. The blasphemous lyrics, instead of being a standard juvenile mockery, criticism, and caricature of Christian beliefs and symbols, are sophisticated, well-reasoned, erudite arguments based on religious, philosophical, and political writings.
Arguably, part of Deathspell Omega's appeal is that they're one of the few black metal bands to address the full profundity of Christianity rather than simply attacking a caricature of it; they may disagree with its conclusions, but it's clear they at least sincerely respect it. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than on "Carnal Malefactor", more than four minutes of whose running time sample a Belgian monastery's complete performance of an Old Church Slavonic chant (see Rearrange the Song and Sampling below), with only percussion and a small amount of ambient noise overdubbed. While this section qualifies for Nothing Is Scarier in context (especially given the inevitable Scare Chord at the end of the chant), it also comes across as a heartbreaking and sincere lament for the human condition, and their incorporation of the chant might be read as the band saying, "We disagree with your conclusions, but we sincerely respect your pursuit of them."
- Horror Comedy: A good portion of The Long Defeat's fable could count as this, especially any of the parts involving Satan.
- Humans Are Bastards: With Satan portrayed as the metaphysical ego, it's safe to say that the band view man as ultimately irredeemable. Reinforced with the liner notes for Si monumentum, which, among other things, depict crime scene photos of murder victims as an example of Satan's influence on mankind. Further reinforced in the Bardo Methodology interview, where the speaker says that reading the works of Marquis de Sade is essential to understanding human nature.Praised be human nature, ciborium of shame and waste
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: A recurring theme, as mankind is portrayed as the vessel for Satan's will and the medium for his deeds. The Furnaces of Palingenesia is perhaps the clearest expression of this, showing how there is no greater force of evil than human systems of power, even in the absence of any theological figures. The Long Defeat continues the theme, with Satan being at least as critical of human nature as we might expect the Old Testament God to be (though Satan's criticisms are commonly buried beneath a layer of sarcasm); for example, he suggests that the commandment against murder being the first suggests that there is some intrinsic flaw in our species.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The cover of "Chaining the Katechon" depicts two giants devouring each other in a manner similar to the Ouroboros symbol.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: While typical for black metal, here the vocalist often seems to not bother pronouncing certain syllables or words, to the point Allmusic's review of Kénôse likened his voice to "Beelzebub on a bad day". However, the band's occasional spoken word sections avert this. Somehow also largely averted in "You Cannot Even Find the Ruins...", despite the Harsh Vocals; it's possible that the lyrics being sung slower than usual is a cause of this.
- In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: A central theme to all of Deathspell Omega's work, arguably, and certainly a central theme of The Furnaces of Palingenesia, seeing as its very title is based on the band's thesis that every violent revolution contains the seeds of its own destruction.
- Ironic Name: According to Metal Archives, Rate Your Music, Discogs, and quite a few other sites, Hasjarl's real-life name is Christian Bouché.
- Large Ham: Some of their vocals can get quite passionate. The spoken word in "A Chore for the Lost" and "Abscission" are notable in this regard.
- Laughing Mad: Referenced in "The Repellent Scars of Abandon and Election", as well as "The Shrine of Mad Laughter"."Prostrated face against the earth in frantic laughter"
- Lead Bassist and Lead Drummer: Their rhythm section is skilful enough to qualify, despite the band's Anonymous Band nature. Notably, the drumming is at times so virtuosic that some listeners have questioned whether it's a drum machine (but, as mentioned above, the band themselves confirmed that only Infernal Battles' first four songs used a drum machine, and pro drummers like John Longstreth have likewise dismissed the drum machine hypothesis). It should be noted that some of their albums give a prominent place to each of these instruments; Fas, for instance, has the drums mixed quite loudly, whereas the bass is given a very prominent place on Synarchy.
- Lighter and Softer:
- Each side of Si monumentum, except the fourth, opens with a "prayer" that's more melodic and experimental than the rest of their material. The fourth side's opener, "Carnal Malefactor", is a more melodic and slower-paced take on Black Metal featuring an Old Church Slavonic chant section (which still ends in a Scare Chord), and the final track "Malign Paradigm" is a mid-paced, chilled-out instrumental.
- "Apokatastasis pantôn", the closing track to Paracletus, is essentially a condensed Post-Rock song.
- Drought is slightly less heavy than the material that preceded it. Due to its short length and comparative lightness, it may be a good record to introduce the band to people.
- The Long Defeat is probably the first unambiguous album-length example in the band's discography; while it's still plenty heavy, it's more conventionally melodic and doesn't have as many insane blasting segments. It's also not quite as bleak lyrically as The Furnaces of Palingenesia in particular; where the message of the latter read as, "Humanity is incapable of doing better," The Long Defeat's fable in particular reads almost as a challenge to prove Furnaces' message wrong.
- Literary Allusion Title: All but the first word of "Onward Where Most with Ravin I May Meet" is taken directly from Paradise Lost.
- Every song title on Fas - Ite is taken from various texts by Georges Bataille, and the first and last lines of each song quote his short story "My Mother". For that matter, all of the album title except its first word comes from the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46); translated, the entire title means "Divine Law - Depart, You Cursed, into Eternal Fire."
- Longest Song Goes Last: Often inverted (sometimes twice over); only occasionally played straight.
- Infernal Battles closes with its tied-for-shortest track "Death's Reign (Human Futility)" (4:20).
- Manifestations 2000-2001 closes with its shortest track, "Black Crushing Sorcery" (6:16).
- Inquisitors of Satan closes with its longest track, "Decadence" (6:33).
- Si monumentum requires, circumspice closes with its shortest track, "Malign Paradigm" (3:39). Its longest track (the 11:44 "Carnal Malefactor") is structured as its climax, to the extent that the last two tracks feel like bonus tracks (particularly since "Drink the Devil's Blood" is a remake of an older song and "Malign Paradigm" is an instrumental cover of Malign's "Ashes and Bloodstench").
- Kénôse opens with its longest track (15:45) and closes with its shortest (9:09).
- Fas - ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum closes with its shortest track, the second "Obombration" (2:07); however, this is admittedly just an outro.
- Drought closes with its longest track, "The Crackled Book of Life" (4:20).
- The Synarchy of Molten Bones closes with its shortest track, "Internecine Iatrogenesis" (5:56).
- The Long Defeat opens with its longest track, "Enantiodromia" (11:56), and closes with its shortest, "Our Life Is Your Death" (7:15).
- Long Title: On top of some of the albums listed above, there are the songs "The Repellent Scars of Abandon and Election" and "Onward Where Most with Ravin I May Meet", both of which also qualify as Epic Rocking. Kénôse also gets these on some releases, such as the vinyl box set; the titles for the songs in this version are the first sentence in the lyrics, rather than the Roman numerals found on other releases.
- Loudness War: Most of their albums are at least somewhat clipped, with Manifestations 2000-2001 and Manifestations 2002 ranking worst at DR2 and DR3 respectively. Even the vinyl releases of Fas, "Chaining the Katechon", Paracletus, Drought, and Synarchy clip like the CD releases, though the vinyl editions of Si monumentum, Kénôse, "Diabolus absconditus", and "Mass Grave Aesthetics" seem to have different masters. Of the band's early material, only Infernal Battles appears to have a separate master for vinyl without much/any clipping, while the Clandestine Blaze split, Inquisitors of Satan, and the Manifestations albums do not. The Furnaces of Palingenesia comes out to DR7, making it in all likelihood their most dynamic release in over a decade (though still not great). It remains to be seen what the vinyl edition is like. The Long Defeat is also DR7.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Chaining the Katechon" sounds like it starts in the middle. Some of the tracks on Paracletus and Drought also do this, as does "Jubilate Deo (O Be Joyful in the Lord)" from Si momumentum and "The Shrine of Mad Laughter" from Fas.
- Madness Mantra:
- "Lamma sabacthani" (Aramaic for "Why hast thou forsaken me?") repeated over and over in the last song on Kénôse.
- In "Chaining the Katechon," the phrase "We saw your image" is spoken/growled repeatedly, with increasing passion.
- "Inter spem et metum," repeated several times in "Jubilate Deo." It means "Between hope and fear" in Latin.
- Metal Scream: The first vocalist uses a type 3, while the second uses a type 2. Since roughly Paracletus the band has resumed employing type 3 vocals from time to time, often coinciding with the type 2 vocals. There is a widespread fan theory that the band now has two vocalists, which would seem to be supported by The Furnaces of Palingenesia apparently having been recorded live: there are several passages with two people clearly singing (well, screaming) at once.
- Mind Screw: Everything they've released since 2004, to the point where one might suspect the band is a case of The Walrus Was Paul (this isn't confirmed, though). Part of this is due to the ornateness of the band's lyrics, and part of it is due to how heavy and complex the band's music is. There are widespread disagreements as to the meaning of their lyrics and music, and some listeners have speculated that there may not actually be one intended meaning.
- Mind Screwdriver: The Bardo Methodology interview seems to have been conducted with the explicit intention of dispelling many of the misconceptions of the band's work. It's probably the clearest explication of their philosophical stance they've presented.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Fas - Ite most notably. It's simply a representation of what is assumed to be Lucifer falling from heaven against a mostly black background. (Alternately, it could also represent man falling from heaven, with the visible digestive tract meant to symbolise man's fragility.)
- Miniscule Rocking: "Epiklesis I" is 1:41 and "Sand" is 1:35. These are both parts of much longer suites of continuous music, however, and "Epiklesis I" also qualifies as an Album Intro Track. The second "Obombration" just barely misses qualifying for this trope at 2:07.
- Mood Whiplash: Used to horrifying effect on several of their songs, especially on Fas - Ite. "Carnal Malefactor" is also an excellent example; see Scare Chord below. The band also frequently employs this between songs, especially on their continuous albums. "Epiklesis II" and "1523", from Paracletus and The Furnaces of Palingenesia respectively, are perhaps the best examples of this.
- Multinational Team: If the information under Anonymous Band is correct, then the band has a Finnish vocalist, a German-French guitaristnote , a Japanese bassist, and possibly a French drummer as well.
- Musical Pastiche: The final track of Kénôse is (presumably deliberately) reminiscent of Darkthrone's "Transilvanian Hunger" in its opening two minutes, just performed at about twice the speed (maybe closer to triple, actually).
- Several listeners have noted an influence from Norwegian Avant-Garde Metal group Ved Buens Ende on several passages from The Furnaces of Palingenesia.
- The guitar solos on The Long Defeat have earned comparisons to those of, of all people, David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd), largely due to their lyricism and guitar tone. "Our Life Is Your Death" has also been compared to the works of Polish black metal band Mgla (whose vocalist may also perform some of its vocal lines).
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Synarchy of Molten Bones, as well as the band themselves. Bassist Khaos may also qualify, and even Hasjarl has a pretty sinister sound to it.
- New Sound Album:
- Si monumentum was this when it came out, although the retrospective release of Manifestations 2002 in 2008 made it clear they'd been heading that way for a while.
- Kénôse and/or Fas - Ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum somehow manage to be even darker and more dissonant than the band's earlier material.
- Drought, by contrast, is slightly Lighter and Softer than the material that preceded it (though only slightly).
- The Synarchy of Molten Bones can be considered a synthesis of the band's different styles, from 2004-2012, while breaking some new ground - it can in some ways be likened to a more concise Fas.
- The Furnaces of Palingenesia was also something of a case of this, containing shorter songs than most of the band's recent output and being recorded live in the studio. Retroactively, it could almost be considered the first album of the band's third era, although the band themselves consider it to be the last of their second; it does not fit cleanly into either one.
- The press release for The Long Defeat refers to it as "the first emanation of the third era of Deathspell Omega," and it is if anything their largest stylistic shift in years - beyond the Vocal Tag Team, it's also more conventionally melodic than anything they've done since the Shaxul era, and almost comes across as being as much a post-metal album as a black metal album. It's not a complete departure for them, but the works from the band's "second era" that it bears the most in common are arguably the intros, outros, and interludes like the Prayers, "Apokatastasis pantôn", "Salowe Vision", and "The Crackled Book of Life". Of course, "conventional" by Deathspell Omega's standards is still avant-garde and quite heavy by 95% of bands' standards.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: For the longest time, the band were definitely this, in no small part due to their names and faces being unknown, as well as their disturbing take on Satanism. But more recently, after the Bardo Methodology interview, they revealed a lot of Hidden Depths that helped make them a little less unsettling.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted; the bass is mixed extremely clearly on recent releases, especially on tracks like "The Crackled Book of Life".note
- Nothing Is Scarier: The quiet passages on Fas - Ite have this effect, as they build up tension to an almost unbearable level. Of course, they frequently end with Scare Chords. (It should be noted that, while they are almost inaudible, they are not completely silent; some listeners have claimed that raising the quiet passages' volumes in an audio editor with a gain envelope filter to make them more clearly audible enhances the emotional impact of the album.)
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Frequently employed, usually to very creepy effect.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The logical extension of Satan's role, being a force of moral and physical putrefaction, leading man closer to his destruction. At the end of the trilogy, he succeeds in his goal."O Satan! I acknowledge you as the Great Destroyer of the Universe!"
- One-Woman Wail: One of the quiet passages in "The Shrine of Mad Laughter" incorporates this (specifically, it's the passage starting at about 2:45). It's mixed so quietly that you almost certainly will need to turn up the volume to hear it. It's also one of the rare quiet passages in the album that doesn't suddenly end with a Scare Chord, but instead fades slowly back in, so it's not risky to one's hearing/speakers/headphones to do so. (Alternately, this altered version of the album has the passage gain raised substantially.)
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Obombration" is a word that the band apparently made up. It's derived from a Latin word meaning "overshadowing" and is generally interpreted to refer to death in some way
- Power Trio: The 2020 Cult Never Dies interview refers to "the core power trio", though in a context that makes it ambiguous as to whether it's referring to the band themselves or simply to the traditional rock instruments of guitar, bass, and drums. Their Bandcamp indicates that The Long Defeat was "recorded live by the French power trio in July 2021" (with "bile and venom distilled and added until the leaves fell").
- Purple Prose: Some of the purplest lyrics in all of black metal. This isn't a bad thing, as it fits nicely with the Biblical parodies the band often engages in, and they're very good at it.
- Rearrange the Song: "Drink the Devil's Blood" from Infernal Battles was rearranged and re-recorded with new lyrics for Si monumentum.
- They have another odd example in that they incorporated a song that had already been rearranged into one of their own songs. The melody for the Monks of Chevetogne's setting of the Cherubikon sampled in "Carnal Malefactor" is lifted from the Meiji-era Japanese song "Kōjō no Tsuki" (「荒城の月」, literally meaning "The Moon over the Ruined Castle"; sample performance here; or, Thelonious Monk recorded the song in 1967), composed in 1901 by Rentarō Taki (滝 廉太郎, 1879-1903). The original lyrics (obviously not used in the monks' performance) were by the poet Bansui Doi (土井 晩翠, 1871-1952). The most common arrangement of the song is by Kōsaku Yamada (山田 耕筰), and it is this arrangement that forms the melodic and harmonic basis of the monks' arrangement. According to this article (in Japanese), Père Maxime Gimenez was responsible for setting the Cherubikon to the melody of "Kōjō no Tsuki". He explained (machine translated from Japanese; quote apparently from the liner notes of this collection of arrangements of "Kōjō no Tsuki"): "The choice of Japanese tunes in the context of the Byzantine-Slavic liturgy may seem somewhat arbitrary and bold. But no external or formal standard can determine whether such music is sacred or not. In order to distinguish the aesthetic ideas of a work that form its universal and religious traits, it is often sufficient to follow a certain heartfelt sensibility. Examining the musical essence of the "Moon over the Ruined Castle" tune in this way, it seems to have a pure and candid footprint, like the great sketches of the painter. Above all, this tune fits the deep movement of the soul. And it tells the graceful nostalgia that forms the spiritual delicacy of Japan, and the graceful humility and modesty that shows the way with the love of all things, without using words."
- They have another odd example in that they incorporated a song that had already been rearranged into one of their own songs. The melody for the Monks of Chevetogne's setting of the Cherubikon sampled in "Carnal Malefactor" is lifted from the Meiji-era Japanese song "Kōjō no Tsuki" (「荒城の月」, literally meaning "The Moon over the Ruined Castle"; sample performance here; or, Thelonious Monk recorded the song in 1967), composed in 1901 by Rentarō Taki (滝 廉太郎, 1879-1903). The original lyrics (obviously not used in the monks' performance) were by the poet Bansui Doi (土井 晩翠, 1871-1952). The most common arrangement of the song is by Kōsaku Yamada (山田 耕筰), and it is this arrangement that forms the melodic and harmonic basis of the monks' arrangement. According to this article (in Japanese), Père Maxime Gimenez was responsible for setting the Cherubikon to the melody of "Kōjō no Tsuki". He explained (machine translated from Japanese; quote apparently from the liner notes of this collection of arrangements of "Kōjō no Tsuki"):
- Recurring Riff: "Epiklesis II" and "Apokatastasis pantôn" from Paracletus both open with the same riff.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: The cover art of Paracletus, which features some sort of contorted, demonic creature backlit by fire, as well as the cover of Kénôse.
- Refuge in Audacity: Arguably all their output qualifies to some extent, being an extremely blasphemous take on both Satanic and Christian theology.
- Religion Rant Song: Most, if not all, of their material.
- Religious Horror: Overlapping with Cosmic Horror Story. Their lyrics consist of obscure scripture, both Biblical and post-Biblical, most of which is not paraphrased or otherwise warped, but is clearly used in favor of their ideology as opposed to that of Christianity. And quite frankly, it's terrifying.
- Rule of Symbolism: Their lyrics and artwork run on this.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Obviously. They might be the most extreme example of this in music.
- Sampling: The chant section in "Carnal Malefactor" is sampled from the Monks of Chevetogne's performance of the Hymn of the Cherubim, found on this CD from 1987. The performance is excerpted in its entirety (albeit with a bass drum and a few other elements added to underlie it), although...
- Scare Chord:
- Quite atypically for a Black Metal band, they have a chant section in their song "Carnal Malefactor" (frequently mistakenly assumed to be Gregorian chant, it's actually in Old Church Slavonic). Immediately after the chant's conclusion—before it's even finished echoing—they go straight back into blasting black metal, and if you're not prepared for it, it is terrifying.
- As mentioned above under Nothing Is Scarier, Fas - Ite does this a few times.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Katechon. Not that said sealing does much good.The temple stands
Its walls a prison
For the Katechon
While the plowshare grates
On the crystal hard and vivid tear
And blood pours from the furrows
While the star shines high
No place to cover from
Its rotten light
- Serious Business: The 2020 interview makes it clear that they regard black metal as this."If you are of the opinion that black metal is not merely a musical hobby but, say, a vessel of sinister spirituality or a mirror of sinister realities, then the necessity to incorporate the genre into a profound cultural lineage that goes far back into the centuries is paramount."
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Don't be ashamed if you need to crack open a dictionary to understand their lyrics. Judging from their interviews, they may just talk like this in Real Life, as the interviews are examples too.
- Shout-Out: Their lyrics are full of references to the Bible and various other literary sources. Georges Bataille is a frequent source of references; about half of the lyrics to Fas and "Diabolus absconditus" are taken almost verbatim from his works, and several of their other releases also contain allusions to his work. (The opening French narration in "Diabolus absconditus", meanwhile, comes from the journals of Etty Hillesum, a Jew who was murdered in Auschwitz.) Part of the difficulty in understanding the band's lyrics, even for a native English speaker, is their vocabulary, but even if you understand all the words, you may not understand all the literary allusions in their work. It's almost impossible to fully understand their lyrics without a deep background in literature, theology, and philosophy, which is a large part of the reason their work falls into Viewers Are Geniuses.
- The cover of Synarchy almost certainly references the figure of Nimrod from Victor Hugo's La Fin de Satan, whose Book I is also the source of the album's French lyrics (which are not printed in the album liner notes; they can be found here). Per That Other Wiki:Book the First tells the story of Nimrod, a powerful and monstrous king of Judaea. Wandering the Earth, which he has fully dominated and laid waste, he decides to conquer the heavens. For this purpose, he builds a cage and attaches four giant eagles to it, with the meat of dead lions above their heads to draw them upward. With his servant, the eunuch, Nimrod releases the cage from its tethers, and the eagles start towards the heavens. After a journey of one year, moving continuously upwards and finding only an immense blue, Nimrod shoots an arrow into the infinite, and is thrown back to Earth.
- Kénôse also incorporates many allusions to various sources and occasionally quotes them directly. The first sentence of the first song ("Everything, except GOD, has in itself some measure of privation, thus all individuals may be graded according to the degree to which they are infected with mere potentiality") comes from Arthur Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being, while the first sentence of the second song ("Therefore, GOD honours the sword so highly that He calls it His own ordinance, and will not have men say or imagine that they have invented it or instituted it") comes from Martin Luther's Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved.
- The 2019 Bardo Methodology interview contains a lot of them, some completely expected (they fervently endorse the works of the French surrealist Georges Bataille once again), some not at all unsurprising (the fact that they like old, weird prog bands like King Crimson and Magma probably won't surprise anyone familiar with them), and some very much unexpected (Mulholland Dr. and Portishead). They list a lot of their musical influences towards the end, stating, "Namedropping all these artists in one breath, as if this was an old fanzine interview from 1993, was a rare pleasure!" It almost comes across as an Out-of-Character Moment.
- A reference to "deathlike silence" in the fable to The Long Defeat is almost certainly a shout-out to Deathlike Silence Productions, the label run by Mayhem guitarist Euronymous before his murder. There are also references to Friedrich Nietzsche ("God is Dead", from The Gay Science), Albert Camus ("One must imagine Sisyphus happy" from The Myth of Sisyphus), Arthur Schopenhauer ("History has a tendency to repeat itself. Eadem, sed aliter" from The World as Will and Representation), and Heraclitus ("the arkhè of this world is fire," "Polemos truly is the father of all things," the entire idea of enantiodromia, etc.). In context, some of these come across as being closer to examples of Take That!, but the speaker is so sarcastic in a few of these examples (the Camus example in particular) that they may actually double back around to being Shout-Outs again.
- The cover of Synarchy almost certainly references the figure of Nimrod from Victor Hugo's La Fin de Satan, whose Book I is also the source of the album's French lyrics (which are not printed in the album liner notes; they can be found here). Per That Other Wiki:
- Shown Their Work: Whether one agrees or disagrees with their conclusions, it would be almost impossible to deny that their lyrics demonstrate that they've thoroughly studied scripture, theology, literature, politics, and philosophy.
- Siamese Twin Songs: Nearly every song transition on Paracletus and Drought. Some of the songs on their other albums do this as well (notably the two halves of "Sola fide" on SMRC and "Sacrificial Theopathy" -> "Standing on the Work of Slaves" -> "Renegade Ashes" on The Furnaces of Palingenesia).
- Signature Style: Hurricane winds of dizzying, often dissonant blastbeats and riffs, deep, bellowing vocals, and highly literate lyrics that read more like philosophical essays than black metal lyrics most of the time, often written in two or more languages.
- Sinister Surveillance: Mentioned on The Furnaces of Palingenesia. Also discussed in the Bardo Methodology interview from 2019 as a crucial component of fascism:Karin Boyes Kallocain is certainly as relevant today as it was in 1940, especially given the astounding capacities notably of predictive nature of recent surveillance technology by Palantir Technologies, or their Chinese counterparts. Let us also mention Shoshana Zuboffs theses on surveillance capitalism, something for interested parties to explore.
Ironically enough, people surrender their privacy voluntarily through social media as a means to exist socially or professionally. One could even make a point, alongside Roland Barthes who stated that fascism is not to hinder people from speaking but to force people to speak, that social media and related technology and how it extracts data which is even more informative than language from its oftentimes unwitting users is the quintessence of fascism.
- In the 2020 interview, they regard this (alongside the destruction of the natural environment) as one of the two paramount issues facing humanity:"[...] technological disruption of the human species via artificial intelligence and surveillance capitalism [...] is something that we are literally incapable of assessing properly because it is entirely unprecedented. The intellectual tools to do so are, as of now, very much in limbo. However, technological progress does not slow down nor does it leave room to public debate. It does not, because the powerful interests behind this technological evolution need to install a sense of inevitability, of fatalism. Eventually, people will come to realize that it is less a question of privacy than of free will. The core of the issue is the one of human predictability: to channel and capitalize on it. Someday, 1984 will read as a desirable utopia. Here rests the will to will."
- In the 2020 interview, they regard this (alongside the destruction of the natural environment) as one of the two paramount issues facing humanity:
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: So far on the cynical end that no light escapes them.
- Sliding Scale of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism: The Order in Furnaces is far to the authoritarian end. The band's sympathies, apart from "some musicians shall we say, of the second circle" (i.e., Mikko Aspa, we presume), are completely opposed to authoritarianism of all stripes, as confirmed in the Bardo interview.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: From both "Obombration" tracks:Judica me... perinde ac cadaver.note
- Snakes Are Sinister: As with the Bible, Satan is often represented by a serpent in their lyrics and album art. The cover art for Paracletus portrays him as an abomination with seven snakes as heads, in direct reference to his form in Book of Revelation.
- Song Style Shift: Most obviously, Diabolus absconditus has a lengthy acoustic section, and "Carnal Malefactor" has a large choral chant section in the middle. These are far from their only examples; both "The Repellent Scars of Abandon & Election" and "A Chore for the Lost" start out fairly subdued before building to the band's trademark dissonance, for example.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The majority of their lyrics are obscure Biblical references, or direct quotes from authors and religious scholars, and are written in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, which makes them come across as more intellectual than most other Black Metal bands. In "Carnal Malefactor", however, the line "Angel prick and holy semen" is used multiple times.
- Soprano and Gravel: Most of their vocals are incomprehensibly low Harsh Vocals that would almost be more typical of Death Metal than Black Metal, but there are occasional sung passages in their work as well. Examples appear in "Chaining the Katechon" and on Paracletus. Another example is the female spoken-word passage at the start of "Diabolus absconditus" (and for that matter, the whispered vocals in the song's acoustic midsection definitely provide a contrast with the harsh vocals in the heavier portions). The Gravel and Gravel variant is also commonly found on the band's work starting with "Chaining the Katechon": often, one vocalist uses a low-pitched growl while another uses a high-pitched scream, frequently at the same time.
- Spiritual Successor: If Metal Archives' membership information is correct, Deathspell Omega is a successor to the much more obscure Hirilorn. They're both progressive black metal bands, but Hirilorn's material is much more melodic than most of Deathspell Omega's, with songwriting and arrangements more influenced by traditional heavy metal (particularly New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like Iron Maiden); Classical and Romantic music; and the Austrian black metal band Summoning. Deathspell Omega could also be considered something of a spiritual successor to the Swedish band Funeral Mist, which shares Deathspell Omega's penchant for using Biblical-sounding lyrics that invert Christianity's message, but has a more primitive (though still fairly experimental) sound. (Funeral Mist's sole constant member Arioch almost certainly performs the vocals on "Enantiodromia"; it's never been confirmed whether he contributed to any of Deathspell Omega's work before The Long Defeat.)
- Spoken Word in Music: They use this intermittently, notably on Paracletus, in which some songs use this exclusively. This also appears in the prayers on Si monumentum, with "Third Prayer" in particular having what sounds like a manic sermon being shouted over it. "Diabolus absconditus" also opens with about a minute and a half of this (see Shout-Out above).
- Subdued Section: Several songs have these.
- "Carnal Malefactor" is probably the best example, but it's subverted with a Scare Chord (see above).
- There's also a good example in "Diabolus absconditus", which has several minutes that feature acoustic guitar, whispered vocals, and ghostly choral chanting. This too is interrupted by a Scare Chord.
- All four proper songs on Fas have at least one example for everyone's sake (probably including the band's - it might be impossible to keep playing music that intense uninterrupted for 10+ minutes). A few songs on The Synarchy of Molten Bones also have them.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Apokatastasis pantôn", "Salowe Vision", "The Crackled Book of Life", "Malign Paradigm", the prayers from Si monumentum, and possibly "1523", and "You Cannot Even Find the Ruins...". Meanwhile, "Carnal Malefactor", "Epiklesis II", and the two "Obombration"s (along with the last two songs on the previous list if you don't think they're full-fledged examples) aren't light enough to qualify as this trope, but are still somewhat less heavy than most of the group's other material. All of these songs are only gentle by DsO's standards, however. In any other context they'd still be extremely dark and heavy tracks.
- Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Their Latin contains at most a handful of grammatical errors, and there's reason to suspect that at least one may be intentional to create ambiguity between two possible readings (as explained under Gratuitous Latin above, "Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est" may mean "The temple of the lands of our Lord is childless," or it may simply mean, "The temple of our Lord is Earth").
- Surreal Humour: The fable behind The Long Defeat has no small amount of this. For instance, what form does the Devil take? The form of a pox-ridden poodle the size of a bear.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Invoked with "Malign Paradigm", which is built around a riff from Malign's "Ashes and Bloodstench". While most of Deathspell Omega's albums don't list songwriting credits, it's likely Malign still gets royalties from the recording.
- Textless Album Cover: All of them after Si monumentum.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: A possible interpretation of "A Chore for the Lost": "Let us be a blight on the orchard, on all orchards of this world." (In context, this occurs after the protagonist has struggled with his nature throughout the first four songs of the album.) An alternate interpretation is that this passage (and, for that matter, the band's entire discography) is more one of diagnosis than of prescription: that is, humanity is incapable of being anything but a blight on the orchard, and we should stop pretending otherwise. Particularly bearing in mind the Bardo Methodology interview (and their repeated citations of the Marquis de Sade, whose works were similarly meant to condemn human nature, as a major literary influencenote ), it's possible to see evidence for either interpretation.
- Three Chords and the Truth: Played straight on their first two albums, which are far closer to a more traditional, orthodox black metal sound (though, that said, they still frequently use some unusual compositional elements like Uncommon Time - so maybe still Zig-Zagged somewhat). Starting with Si monumentum the band completely averted this and only even started to look back with The Furnaces of Palingenesia, which had the same frenetic energy as most of the band's second-era work, but was recorded entirely live, resulting in a somewhat more stripped-down (but also more organic) sound. The Long Defeat follows suit, with the Power Trio again recorded live, and while the album may focus somewhat more on slow, melodic passages than the band's last several works had, it's very much a downplayed example; it's still rhythmically, harmonically, melodically, and structurally complex.
- Title Drop: "Fiery Serpents" from the Drought EP actually name-drops every track on the EP in its opening lines. These occur in most songs on Fas as well, as well as scattered songs on other albums. (Synarchy does this as well, but strangely, the title drop of the third song appears in the fourth one.)
- Title Track: Inquisitors of Satan, Si monumentum requires, circumspice, The Synarchy of Molten Bones, and The Long Defeat have them. Infernal Battles, Fas - ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum, and The Furnaces of Palingenesia do not.
- To Be Continued: The final words of The Long Defeat's fable, suggesting that it is merely the first part of a longer work (perhaps another trilogy).
- The Unfettered: A core component of their philosophy, particularly where the process of artistic creation is concerned; this is especially evident in their Bardo Methodology interview.It is our utmost conviction that the artist ought to stand beyond good or evil and that the pursuit of his or her artistic goals should therefore remain untouched by considerations pertaining to critical reception, the sensitivity of a potential audience, or anything that would detract from the full accomplishment of those artistic goals. Taking into creative consideration the very fragile current zeitgeist would render any piece of art absolutely harmless and devoid of worth and by that we affirm that most of whats considered art these days is a singularly watered-down version of what it should be. Lack of singularity or vision may be forgivable, bending the knee in front of your contemporaries most of whom long to become what Zarathustra, with disbelief and horror, called the last man entails compromise without return and is, consequently, unforgivable.
- Uncommon Time: Their sound is partly so impenetrable because of their common use of bizarre time signatures, even in their early material; a complete list would likely take up half the page. Fas in particular is so disorienting that one last.fm shout for "The Shrine of Mad Laughter" commented, "Deathspell Omega has no need for trivial things such as time signatures."
- Villain Song: Pretty much all of them, actually.
- Vocal Tag Team: The Long Defeat seemingly has one, though it's a matter of conjecture who the vocalists are. To some extent, a case could be made for their releases going back to Chaining the Katechon, as several passages of those releases clearly have at least two vocalists on them, though those are arguably closer to Step Up to the Microphone instead.
- Wicked Cultured: They advocate a philosophy of absolute, unrepentant evil (well, they did at one point; not so much as of Furnaces), and are clearly extremely well-read.
- Word Salad Title: Subverted with "Onward Where Most with Ravin I May Meet", which, apart from the first word, is a quote from Paradise Lost. "Ravin" is an archaic term for "plunder".
- The World Is Just Awesome: Played completely and surprisingly straight where nature is concerned in the Bardo Methodology interview."Now this has some serious appeal, doesnt it? Mountaineering is one of the few activities during which inner peace is almost within reach. It demands both physical and mental prowess especially the latter, actually, a level of focus thats almost meditative in nature. It is one of the most humbling experiences there is and possibly the best moral and mental compass. The history of mountaineering is full of truly singular men and women, very promethean in a sense and extremely inspirational."
- Worthy Opponent:
- By their own admission, they view Christianity this way. For all their vehement opposition to it, they've clearly made a thorough study of Christian scripture and theology, and they wouldn't have done this if they didn't take it seriously. They themselves have commented, "Many a reactionary Christian pamphleteer or Marxist philosophe actually pointed out a fragment of truth." Arguably a large part of the reason their music is so revered amongst fans of black metal is because they are one of the few bands in the genre that actually engages with Christianity in full rather than simply attacking a caricature of it. This is certainly evident in aspects of their music like the choral samples in "Carnal Malefactor" and other tracks, but it's also reflected throughout their lyrics.
- The band themselves see some of their members this way, to some extent. See the relevant quote from the Bardo interview in the intro text, which presumably refers to Mikko Aspa.
- This is one possible interpretation of how Satan and God view each other in The Long Defeat's fable, if we can trust the former, who claims they have a running bet over how low humanity's depravity will sink.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Averted. The band sometimes uses Early Modern English spellings/grammar, but it's used correctly.
- "You were seeking strength, justice, splendor. You were seeking love. Here is the pit. Here is your pit. Its name is silence."