Sunday, 11 January 2015

Inquisition - Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult (1998) Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan (2002) (Reissues)

Album Type: Reissues
Date Released: 26/1/2015, 23/2/2015
Label: Season of Mist

‘Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult’ (1998) CD//LP//DD track listing:

1). Unholy Magic Attack (05:49)
2). Those of the Night (05:30)
3). The Initiation (05:33)
4). Empire of Luciferian Race (06:16)
5). Summoned by Ancient Wizards under a Black Moon (09:14)
6). Journey to Infernukeorreka (04:46)
7). Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult (05:21)
8). Mighty Wargod of the Templars (Hail Baphomet) (06:19)
9). Solitary Death in the Nocturnal Woodlands (09:04)
10). Hail the Cult (08:14)

Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan (2002) CD//LP//DD track listing:

1). Embraced by the Unholy Powers of Death and Destruction (04:23)
2). Enshrouded by Cryptic Temples of the Cult (04:39)
3). Kill with Hate (03:02)
4). Rituals of Human Sacrifice for Lord Baal (05:59)
5). Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan (05:34)
6). Hail the King of All Heathens (05:20)
7). The Realm of Shadows Shall Forever Reign (05:30)
8). For Lucifer My Blood (04:41)
9). Imperial Hymn for Our Master Satan (06:11)

Inquisition is:

Dagon | Guitars, vocals
Incubus | Drums


'Starting in 1988 as a thrash outfit, Inquisition adopted the moniker we know in 1989, leaving behind their thrash roots to adopt their signature black metal sound in the mid nineties. That's a band as old as this writer is, playing a niche style for over two decades, so you'd expect them to be good at it by now. In contrast to so many other genres, metal artists will often age like wine, making yet more progressive, original, fresh, fantastically written material as time goes on. Look at Enslaved, or Carcass, for example.

Last year Inquisition blew away their existing fan base and a host of new fans with their brilliant 'Obscure Verses for the Multiverse'. The metal press salivated over it, as did I to a lesser degree, and doubtlessly sparked interest from a new generation and audience into what Inquisition were all about. Doubtless, 'Verses...' put Inquisition on the radar for many people, and when such a thing occurs after so many years of prior material it is natural that a revived interest in the band's discography should arise. This is only my educated presumption into the source of Inquisition's 1998 and 2002 records, 'Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan' and 'Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult' respectively, being reissued by Season of Mist with fresh sepulchral artwork by Paolo Girardi.

Before listening to Inquisition it should be remembered that this is just two guys making all this noise, guitar and drums, and they recreate this stuff live competently. Plus they formed in Colombia, which as far as grim and frostbitten goes, it kinda isn't. Their brand of black metal is primed to make classic records in the right hands - as melodic as Satanic Warmaster in parts, as furious as Marduk in others, with extended riff sections to evoke that drifting feeling of Burzum's 'Filosofem'.

Having not listened to the original pressings of either of these two reissues, I cannot comment on how this recent run has altered from the originals. However, knowing the poor financial resources of most metal bands and limited or expensive technology available at the millennial turning point, it would not surprise me if the fresh production efforts that manage to make these reissues sound modern and simultaneously big yet sharp serve as a stark contrast to the sound of the originals. This could be a problem for fans of the initial mixes, who have probably placed value in the cold atmosphere created by the (most likely) primitive original recordings.

As for the music, the more I think about it the more odd it seems. By all accounts the setup of the band should not work as well as it ultimately does. As anyone who has tried to operate as a two piece band knows, that stuff is hard to do, at least successfully anyway, with many bands resorting to punky two minute blasts to accommodate the lack of options their setup presents. The component parts of Inquisition are as meat and potatoes as it gets, just a guitar and drummer playing with vocals mixed in; the band don't extensively rely on samplers, two necked guitars, big effects pedals or guest musicians. The way they succeed is through a barrage of riff after riff combined with smart writing and great tone. And damn these are great riffs, arpeggiated melodic lines interspersed with evil power chord progressions, punctuated with unconventional time signatures that all come together finely. It bears repeating though, this is well written black metal from experts in their craft, and this is how they manage to fantastically create not just nine minute songs, but whole fantastic albums out of just two instruments.

It's not all roses though, Dagon's vocal delivery has always been a talking point, immovably sitting in the middle register and sounding something of a mix between a grumbling elderly homeless man and an unfriendly Muppet character. While it markedly improves for 'Into the Infernal Region of the Ancient Cult', both albums could be said to suffer from the vocal lack of strength or character. Alongside this is that despite the dynamic and rhythmic shifts the band adeptly insert into their formula, the formula is itself still very narrow and many will find the homogeneity of tones on the albums to get tiresome. This is more criticism of the genre at its most orthodox rather than Inquisition in particular, but if you don't want an album full of buzzsaw guitars, croaked vocals and drums from hell then you probably should be wary of black metal in the first place.

Lyrically? Well they kinda like Satan a lot. And magic, and ritual. And/or death. You get the picture. From what I know of the band they seem to take this stuff fairly seriously, if not practicing it in their personal lives then certainly being knowledgeable of the arcane and symbolic. This deserves a degree of respect mere shock value does not warrant and even if, like me, you find the themes cartoonish, you gotta give them props for consistency and knowing their shit. Indeed, I often think the band would be repulsed by someone simultaneously enjoying their music yet finding their lyrical themes an entertaining joke.

If you've never listened to Inquisition before then now is the perfect time to get started on their discography. If you've never listened to black metal before then go for it, Inquisition could well be the perfect starting point.'

Words by: Jake Mazlum

You can pick up a CD/LP copy here.

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