Deathspell Omega - Drought [Season Of Mist/Norma Evangelium Diaboli - 2012]Not quite two years since DsO’s mammoth trilogy-ending tour-de-force Paracletus, fans of the mighty French metallers have been treated to their next installment: an EP entitled Drought. Less scrupulous listeners may misunderstand the release of last year’s Diabolous Absconditus EP as a new work, but is actually a track which appeared as part of the Crushing the Holy Trinity compilation in 2005.
Confusing chronology notwithstanding, anyone acquainted with the previous full-length will immediately identify the band’s crystal-clear production (discernible yet fierce guitar tone, snarling distorted bass, concise and staccato drum sound) as a key link in creating continuity with their prior work. This is a continuation which has gradually appreciated in assisting the band in articulating its more complex ideas as well as simultaneously laying a suitable groundwork for the more visceral blasting sections.
Along with the now consistent recording quality, the songwriting has become even somewhat more lean than before: the lengthiest track among this EP (one could argue movements as part of a cohesive whole) is a mere 4:26, and indeed the overall length of Drought zips by in a flash. So sparse are these pieces, a couple of tracks contain no more than 3 distinct ideas – an interesting decision for a band which built its following crafting tunes in the scale of the album-side-long, prog-rock suite variety. This is possibly the greatest strength of the (dare I say “new”) DsO: the absolute dispensation of anything but their strongest material.
Varied, consistent, relentlessly brutal and by turns contemplative, Drought is nothing short of a continuation of the high water mark that DsO achieved previously with Paracletus. Fans of the aforementioned will seize upon this EP appreciatively, and those who heed the cries of “hype” will woefully miss out. Scott W