Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith

Satan is good, Satan is our pal
dB rating: 8/10

Release Date: August 26th, 2016
Label: Season of Mist

Forget pointy-tailed red guys, double-crossing snakes and Al Pacino circa 1997—the scariest form the Devil takes is the motherfucking cosmos. After all, what’s a handful of puny human souls when you can manifest your indiscriminate cruelty via planet-destroying black holes, gravity waves and dark matter? Inquisition got this memo about 10 years ago when Nefarious Dismal Orations left this earthly plane in search of more galactic pastures, and their metaphysical Satan worship continues unabated on Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith.

Building on the momentum of 2013’s stellar Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, the Seattle-based duo’s seventh LP is 57 minutes of riff-driven black metal that showcases a tactical mastery of both forebodingly triumphant melody and the genre’s traditional atmospheric benchmarks. If Inquisition are on your radar, the formula will be familiar—Dagon unleashes flurries of earworm tremolo riffs and evil frog vocals while Incubus blasts and grooves behind him—but with face-pummeling results like “Wings of Anu,” “A Magnificent Crypt of Stars” and “A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse,” it’s clear that the last thing they should do is muck with the recipe.

That’s not to say Inquisition are content to stay the course—these are carefully crafted tunes that resonate with heretical intent and make excellent use of layering, like the acoustic guitar passage at the end of “Through the Divine Spirit of Satan a Glorious Universe is Known” and the trumpet on the title track. Esoteric song titles aside, this is cosmic blasphemy we can all relate to.

— Matt Solis
This review taken from the September 2016 issue.