Macabre Omen ‎– Gods Of War - At War - Digipak -CD


Epic black metal makes for an unrivaled experience, if done under the proper expertise. Black metal fits the bill during the autumn and winter months, and so it was more than a nice surprise to give the awesomely-titled “Gods of War – At War” a spin some weeks after it’d unhinged itself from the icicles hanging from the mouth of the frostbitten womb that was February of 2015. “Gods of War – At War,” the first Macabre Omen album in a decade, has the sort of poignant structuring and style necessary to display incredible musical ability and the heroic aura of truly epic black metal. Few groups following a similar path have been able to figure out the wide network of triumphant edifices and emotions rooted in the soil of “Gods of War – At War.”

I’m somewhat weary to throw around the word ‘epic’ onto things; the word is hackneyed at this point. But Macabre Omen is a different beast in a realm contaminated by Wintersun and other production babies thinly disguising lame parts with excessive layers and giving them the ‘epic’ stamp. “Gods of War – At War” is truly heroic and of extravagant size; its songs capture black metal from its highest point to its lowest chasm without a glitch. Salient tremolo riffing and storming blast beats are slotted into a careful mid-paced edifice often taking its time to build up. The mid-paced spine is an incredible foundation; the sharp and strong riffs and melodies open up innumerable creative avenues for the band to discover. Essentially, “Gods of War – At War” is equal parts furious, violent, melancholic, somber, triumphant, and divine.

Some of the movements here, namely the protean sequences of “I See, the Sea!” and the fury of “Hellenes Do Not Fight like Heroes, Heroes Fight like Hellenes,” rest safely at the top tier of black metal’s class. Part of the record’s overall majesty is due to how natural the whole thing sounds. The vocals (harsh and clean) and choirs sound grand among the cyclone of pagan rage, amplifying the effectiveness of the group’s incredible range. Indigenous melodies and structures are cooked to the temperature of the rest of the record without causing a single surrounding part to boil over or freeze up, again showing supreme craftsmanship and the wonderful musical variance of black metal that is mastered inside and out by Macabre Omen’s ability.

The sort of style and structuring Macabre Omen uses is emphatically set in stone right from the start, and for over an hour the consistency and brilliance are never once depleted. Alexandros, Macabre Omen’s mastermind, strikes gold on every front; the lyrics, the riffs, and the complex and subtle compositional themes are all impeccable. As tremendous as it is, “Gods of War – At War” was built to come out triumphant and epic, but not plumped up to its eyeballs in unnecessary additives, which, these days, is a rare feat. “Gods of War – At War” is the kind of piece that has its priorities in check.