Inquisition "Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar beyond The Celestial Zenith" - Album Review
Updated: Mar 18, 2019
I wasn’t on Facebook long today before I heard people wanting to grumble about this album. Do you want Inquisition to sound like Inquisition? If this answer is yes then proceed because right from the first song, you can tell by the way Dagon lets the chords ring out this is Inquisition. If you have only had a marginal interest in them, don’t expect for them to try and win you over. They are here to throttle their fans with songs like "From Chaos They Came". This is not to say it’s a total rehash as this album is loaded with subtle hints of growth. Incubus attack his kit while bringing sinister grooves and really lays into his high hat. I have heard some complaints about the sound of the crash being tinny, but it didn’t phase me.
Vocally...well it is what it is. The croaked vocals are more relaxed on the opener while every thing else is amped up. "Wings of Anu" carries a similar vibe to it's throb as the opener, though perhaps dialed back a few degrees. The riff for the bridge coming out of the chorus is pretty mean. Lyrically it’s Satan and something about a planet of reptiles. The blast beats hit you in quick outbursts. They throw in the melodic intervals just as fast between the outbursts of frenzied snare.
The chug to "A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse" slows down to gain power. This brings them relatively closer to a more mainstream metal sound aside from the deadpan croak of Dagon's narrative. The slithering riff bring subtle time changes as the deliberate pacing of this song proves to be very effective.
A black metal like tremolo races against "The Flames of Infinite Blackness". The guitar melody on this song is a sign of growth for the band. I can see how some of the band's cvlt following might be ready to lament over them selling out or evolving too far away from their earlier work. It feels like this is a very natural progression. There is a more aggressive blasting to "Mystical Blood" though the guitar does come back with some melodic qualities. I have heard Satan being muttered about throughout the album, but his infernal majesty is addressed directly on " Through the Divine Spirit of Satan". The vocals work more in conjunction with the guitars than we have heard previously on this album. The verse riff is almost catchy. A rare guitar solo also surfaces here. This is also followed by a clean guitar tone, so the dynamic range of what these guys do shows a lot of growth on this album.
"Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar" shows they can grow without sacrificing the magnitude of their heaviness. There is a more deliberate classic metal drum beat to this song, that a certain portion of their fan base who is blast beats or bust might be resistant to but fuck em they are idiots any way. Inquisition holds off until almost three minutes into the song to converge into something resembling a conventional song.There is a big metal guitar crunch that kicks off "Power From the Center of the Cosmic". This song has a much more straightforward attack. Two and a half minutes in it really builds into a solid groove. They fire into a more standard black metal speed for " A Magnificent Crypt of Stars". At this point it is clear to see the guitar is the focal point of the album, even tough there is some solid drumming on it. Overall I was pretty impressed as this album strikes me as some of their best work to date.