Inquisition’s Dagon Talks ‘Obscure Verses for the Multiverse,’ Lyrical Influences + More
Inquisition are one of black metal's most uncompromising acts, consisting of the duo of mainman Dagon and drummer Incubus. They recently released their fifth studio album, 'Obscure Verses for the Multiverse,' which is another all-out riffing assault on the senses. The music is only half of the splendor here, with Dagon's lyrics delving into cosmology and Satanism, which compliment the atmosphere laid out in the album. Dagon was able to expand this new album, his lyrical influences and more in our interview below:
Inquisition follow a linear musical path and are almost unwavering in style over the last couple albums. In your mind, what separates ‘Obscure Verses For the Multiverse’ from previous Inquisition albums?
Sound and style preservation have always been important to me because we have an identity and staple that is the result of dedication, hard work, inspiration, [and] philosophy. There is no identity crisis here; we are not trying to search for something we feel is needed to prove something: we have it and we want to preserve it.
However, evolving what we have is only natural and will always happen. The devil is in the details as they say and to hear our evolution you need to listen and truly pay attention to the details. Because some people tend to minimize artists abilities and creativity, they miss out at times on what is really going on and this is why I suggest to take your time listening and connecting with an album without feeling like the band is challenging you as a critic.
The changes I look for are always subtle from album to album. But on 'Obscure Verses for the Multiverse,' the new elements are in the explosive form of expression. Rapid changes from high notes to lower notes, lots of bending of power chords, more dynamics in the tempos (fast slow fast). This album also stays more within major scales and diatonic patterns keeping a very uplifting, invincible feel -- something not too common in our genre. Truly, the new elements are coming from us, the musicians, in our execution and how we perform the songs rather than bringing you a new style of songwriting in general.
Your lyrics have a lot to do with Satanism and cosmology. Who are your biggest influences in regards to these subjects and what are your favorite works from them? (i.e. Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’ or ‘The Cosmos’)
Zecharia Sitchin and Jordan Maxwell topics are two I listen to and read about very much. I may not fully agree with every single theory, but that doesn't matter. What matters are the results that come from keeping an open mind and learning about these amazing possibilities and knowing that if they are right, we are in for an absolute surprise. Of course, Sumerians have left us with this information thousands of years ago, but those two gentlemen have truly been one of the major contributors to us being able to absorb that information through unconventional thought and point of views.
Obviously, by today's standards, "The Cosmos" is full of information we took from there and have since then come so far away from. He [Carl Sagan] was, however, nearly the first to open the universe to the public eye, in the sense of a documentarian and make it much more interesting to us, the average public viewer. As a kid I was always in awe, of course, with his show. There is a lot of information today everywhere, so many new discoveries every minute it is hard to keep up [with]. We know today that more than likely there is another universe out there, the mystery is what are the laws of physics in that particular universe.
From the scientific aspect to the mythological, at times I believe the two are so similar they truly are a parallel of each other. Of course, that observation has been made before, but the more you read about the human thought process you realize even the brain and mind is like an extension of the universe itself. We seem to almost think in a way the universe functions, except we tend to have emotions that get in the way at times.
Lovecraft, Poe, mythologies of Sumeria, Egypt, Central and South America take me to deeper areas of spiritual thought. It is then when I firmly believe the universe is the great Satan, and the intelligent aliens came here to rule another planet and spawn life to enslave us. They did their thing and left us here as useless parasites, intelligent and evolved, but nothing more than leftover parasites from a genetics program.
The production value on Inquisition albums is very organic. How did you go about selecting Arthur Riszk for ‘Obscure Verses For the Multiverse?’
We met Arthur in New York. He was assigned to us as our sound engineer for a show a couple of years ago. He was so good we wanted to use him every time we went through New York and have since. We quickly learned he did studio work, was fully schooled, [and] trained professionally. His work is excellent, his motivation is all there, and he immerses himself 100% into the production, but also the songs themselves and connects with everything well.
The organic thing is his style, it is my choice as well. I really like different kinds of productions, so no one should expect another totally organic album after album, but on this one it was the idea that took center stage. I wanted to prove something; prove that there is nothing wrong with keeping the music sonically realistic. That we will always try to keep things a bit realistic without compromising the atmosphere, that is our form of organics.
The other idea was not to overproduce this album because of timing. We go to this bigger label, we are touring much more with bands that even cause us to have this guilt by association and the last thing we want to do is make this plastic - fake - emulated sounding souless album.
With no bass to round out the mix, what guitarists have had the biggest impact on you when it comes to filling all that space with just the guitar?
Guitar players long before extreme metal were doing it. Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch [Dokken], Alex Lifeson [Rush], Angus Young [AC/DC] (though they were a guitar duo) and, of course, like it or not -- Jimi Hendrix. He was nearly the first to push the limits of sound and fill every corner of an arena. I could give a much longer list, but I won't. Those are a few to mention that have one thing in common, they played hard and pushed the amplifiers hard. They used less gain, more volume, played hard and clean with expression.
Fast forward 20 to 30 years, add morbid scales and aggressive picking and you have the same scenario in a different flavor applying the same simplistic formula.
But no one has had a bigger influence and ability to inspire me than Angus Young. His power chords are what made me pick up a guitar. Since then, I have drawn inspiration from several guitar players, but the Young brothers will always be the root of all evil in me. You can play their songs on a modern day amplifier and you realize how wicked their riffs were; I realized it decades ago though.
What other black metal acts do you feel currently push the boundaries of the genre and have caught your ear the most?
It is challenging to answer this because when we talk about boundaries or limits it can be hard to pinpoint what part of the word we are referring to. Musically or in attitude or everything all around?
Deathspell Omega pushed musical limits and carved their own path. Portal and Antaeus also come to mind. To me, pushing limits is setting everything to maximum but having the ability to back off and manipulate dynamics sonically and emotionally as a musician. In other words know when to go all the way and when not to, a magician that understands the mind of others.
What is your favorite new album from 2013? '
Plaga, 'Magia Gwiezdnej Entropii' -- classic styled Polish black metal.
Thanks for your time and congratulations on another stellar album.
Thank you. We will remain on our path.
Watch the Lyric Video for Inquisition's 'Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons'