Sound: Deathspell Omega are essentially black metal for deep thinkers.
Paracletus marks the end of a trilogy of albums, and Deathspell Omega have ended the trilogy with a bang. Mixing black metal with avant garde together, with even a bit of progressive metal, was always their forte. The first album in the series, "Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice", was their most black metal and evil sounding. Their critically acclaimed "Fas Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" was their most avant garde. It is a bit of a stretch to say "Paracletus" is their most progressive, but in ways it is.
Firstly, the entire album runs as pretty much one long song cut up into sections. Similar riffs echo in different songs to bring forth a sense of continuity, such as an eerie ringing melody in Epiklesis II and Apokatastasis Panton. This album is also far more straight forward than "Fas", again because it is all one long song, so a lot of the avant garde elements (Such as going from extreme blast beats right into the still sound of a calm ambient wind) are gone. There is still the large amount of time signature and out-of-the-blue melody switches, so don't be alarmed. There is also a nice use of contrast now, with fast drumming next to slow guitars at some points. Basically, Deathspell Omega have stuck to their usual formula but have changed things around to make this album unique and they have succeeded.
One thing I dislike about genre labeling is that it can scare people away. Black metal is sometimes synonymous with "bad production" and that is not usually the case. With Paracletus, and the other two albums in the trilogy, the production is superb. Not underdone and not overdone. The musicians may play like machines (especially their drummer, who may be one of the best in the metal scene) but they still sound organic which makes every moment of their music real and breathtaking.
Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that I know I have not given any names of the band members. It is very difficult to because not a lot is known about the band, and whatever is "known" qualify as rumors. They could be right, but just to be safe, I won't list anything. Tis a shame, though. This is a band the world should be getting to know. // 10
Lyrics: The vocals in Deathspell Omega's past work have been the usual consistent black metal growls, but with some added surprises (like the almost operatic screams in A Chore For The Lost on "Fas"). Adding to the progressive idea mentioned earlier, Paracletus still has the growling but there are even more surprises and variation. We have some more actual screaming in different styles, and even some spoken word parts. While they have had spoken word before, the spoken parts on Paracletus stand our far more and are at the front of the mix instead of being covered by guitars like in some moments on "Fas". There is even a part spoken in their native French language during "Dearth" just to shake things up a bit.
You can never complain about the lyrics on any Deathspell release, and here it is no different. More philosophical, religious lyricism with much thought behind each line. // 10
Overall Impression: We have had a great year with metal albums, even with those by black metal bands. Very solid efforts all around. When it comes to which could be the best of the year, bands mentioned may include "Enslaved", "Dillinger Escape Plan" "Ihsahn" "Deftones" and others. We can now add "Deathspell Omega" as one of the front runners.
I can't find anything wrong about this album, apart from the fact that the trilogy is over and I hope that doesn't mean Deathspell are. While this may not end up being everyone's favorite album, there is no doubt that there is a significant amount of talent in this band in all areas.
In terms of the most impressive songs, at the moment the tracks that stand out for me are "Abscission", "Have You Beheld The Fevers?", "Malconfort" and "Phosphene". Again, since the entire album runs as one long Black Metal opera, it is probably best to listen to it from start to finish (especially on first listen). // 9