Inquisition leader Dagon has made a career of making Immortal frontman Abbath pay dearly for only writing ‘Pure Holocaust’ once. The band takes such influence from the Immortal album that it can almost be pegged as the sole inspiration for Inquisition’s Satanic cosmological black metal onslaught. The duo who make up this band have added another astral offering to their growing legacy with ‘Obscure Verses for the Multiverse.’

Where Inquisition differ from so many other black metal bands is the dedication to crafting well thought out riffs rather than just cookie cutter tremolo-picked chords that makes so many bands in the genre indistinguishable from one another. This helps them to stand out along with other acts like Blut Aus Nord, Ipsissimus, and Arkhon Infaustus, who make riffing paramount to all things but The Beast, spreading Tony Iommi’s rhythmic ethos to the furthest corners of heavy metal.

As with any Inquisition album, no time is wasted and ‘Force of the Floating Tomb’ gets down to business in a matter of seconds. Dagon’s masterful guitar playing is back at work, playing full and dynamic chords that fill the void left by the absence of a bass player. This is no surprise considering the band’s debut, ‘Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult,’ is their only album to feature a bassist. Dagon exacts this notion with the title track and ‘Joined By Dark Matter, Repelled By Dark Energy.’ The former features an opening riff that is Black Sabbath by way of black metal, or ‘Black Metal Sabbath,’ if you will. The subtle bends in the riffing are textbook Iommi and it is easily one of the best you’ll find across the Inquisition canon.

There are no surprises with ‘Obscure Verses for the Multiverse,’ but the band doesn’t need to pull out any flashy tricks to get anyone’s attention. ‘Spiritual Plasma Evocation’ and ‘Inversion of Ethereal White Stars’ break up the frantic pace with trance-inducing, repetitive rhythms. These slower tracks help to reinforce the cosmic themes, invoking a near hallucinogenic state in the listener as they ride the astral waves of Satan, the stars, and ontology.

Budding producer Arthur Rizk has done a stellar job in capturing the Inquisition sound. The guitars have a tremendous amount of muscle and low end, but are still bright enough to hear every note picked. The concussive drumming of Incubus is kept organic without the use of triggers, allowing for the bass drum to sound like its namesake instead of the popcorn machine kick drums coming from most modern productions.

‘Obscure Verses for the Multiverse’ is another potent exercise in black metal riffing mastery that holds up to exactly what we expect from the duo in Inquisition. Their unwavering style and consistent quality is a rarity in modern black metal. Lately, there has been vast experimentation with the black metal formula, resulting in divisive lines among fans of the dark art. Numerous bands have expanded their sound to what is now considered post-black metal, but Inquisition refuse to budge and we’re not going to start pushing them either.

4 Stars

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