Deathspell Omega - Manifestations 2000-2001
Northern Heritage
Black Metal
6 songs (44:08)
Release year: 2008
Northern Heritage
Reviewed by James

Before rising to the forefront of modern black metal, with the startlingly progressive Si Mounmentum Requires, Circumspice, Deathspell Omega produced two slabs of rawer, simpler fare in Infernal Battles and Inquisitors Of Satan with original vocalist Shaxul. For whatever reason, the reissues of these (initially limited) titles we were promised by the band have failed to materialize, so perhaps to tide us over, current vocalist Mikko Aspa has released the two Manifestations compilations through his Northern Heritage. The first, Manifestations 2000-2001, is a collection of the tracks from the splits the band cut with the likes of Mutiilation and Moonblood. The second, Manifestations 2002, (which'll no doubt be more interesting to fans, and one that I'll be reviewing in the future) is essentially a shelved album's worth of songs from post-Inquisitors Of Satan.

Despite not featuring Mikko Aspa's distinctive growl, or the frenetic drumming from a unknown source (Shaxul also handles drums here), Deathspell Omega as it existed at the beginning of the 21st Century isn't all that far removed from the band we see today. The riffs still have that odd, dissonant quality, there's just less of them now. Perhaps the streamlined nature of the music makes it an easier listen for most folks, as it's a lot easier to get into the atmospheric repetition of this than the all-over-the-place nature of later works. Surprisingly, the collection of songs here flows remarkably well as a listening experience, despite a slightly jarring drop in production quality as we get on to the Moonblood split. This is very much a good thing, as one of my main gripes with compilations is that they lack the cohesiveness of an album.

Despite the slightly derivative nature of the songwriting (start off aggressive, have a brief punky break, back to blasting ,go into a slower atmospheric bit, sprint to the finish) the release stays fresh due to it's relatively brief duration, and the quality of the riffs. Guitarist Hasjarl has seemingly a limitless supply of quality riffs with his distinctive style, and the simpler nature of the songs means he can lock onto the best ones rather than throw them all together in a massively complex blitzkrieg. I'm sure it'll seem like blasphemy to most fans, but I think I actually prefer early Deathspell Omega to their later works. The fact that Shaxul's rasp is a little more palatable than the bland growling of Mikko Aspa helps matters no end, too.

As odd as it is to say it, this may well be the best place to start with Deathspell Omega. The band get increasingly more complex as time goes on, culminating in the terrifyingly complex Fas, Ite, Maledicti Infernum. This, by contrast, seems easy, but it's still totally Deathspell Omega, right down to the perverse theology of their lyrics. And of course, it's a must-have for existing fans looking to hear the roots of one of black metal's leading lights.

Killing Songs :
The record keeps a fairly even keel of quality throughout.
James quoted no quote
Other albums by Deathspell Omega that we have reviewed:
Deathspell Omega - Drought reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
Deathspell Omega - Paracletus reviewed by Charles and quoted 92 / 100
Deathspell Omega - Veritas Diaboli Manet In Aeternum: Chaining The Katechon reviewed by James and quoted no quote
Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum reviewed by Adam and quoted 95 / 100
Deathspell Omega - Kénôse reviewed by Daniel and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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