“Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith”

By Dr. Abner Mality

They haven’t invented adjectives that can describe the power of Inquisition yet. Perhaps in some kind of post-Euclidean universe inhabited by Lovecraftian deities they have the proper terms. But my human brain fails, my human tongue cannot express what these two prophets of the Multiverse have conjured up on “Bloodshed…” (don’t expect me to rewrite that title).

There is majesty and mystery here enough for ten albums. These songs are true ritualistic black metal, not the dull tripe that often gets that label. They sound like they come from the distant past and the far future simultaneously. The unorthdox guitar work of Dagon reaches new heights on this album….the basic sound will be familiar to any Inquisition fan. But the sound is heavier and sharper…this is the best produced Inquisition album ever. And who else can play like Dagon? There is a spot on “Power From the Center of the Black Cosmic Spiral” where the lead guitar sounds like a fleet of roaring dragsters. I have never heard the like of it.

Dagon has also changed his trademark robotic vocals. They are still here, but there’s also a deeper, growlier type of emanation. You can hear that best on “Mystical Blood” and “Wings of Anu”. Speaking of “Wings of Anu”, what a glorious piece of work this is. Riffs that dwarf even the mighty Immortal! And throughout the record, there’s plenty of that strange melodic dissonance that the band has mastered. Another superb track is “Through the Divine Spirit of Satan, A Glorious Universe is Known”. This song has a triumphant, upbeat feel to introduce it but ends on a subdued note.

Another thing that is notable about “Bloodshed…” is the quality of the ambient, ritualistic sounds that embellish it.  “The Force Before Darkness” is full of deep drones and mysterious voices, the Outro features bleating goats and even more bizarre incantations. We even have a “Coda” in addition to the Outro, an eerie soundscape of cosmic desolation.

I don’t what more can be said about Inquisition. I think they are the most important extreme metal band since Celtic Frost and they grow in might with each new album. Without doubt and hesitation, I hereby proclaim “Bloodshed…” the best album of 2016. A mystic experience!