Inquisition
Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult (reissue)

Generally when a beloved classic gets the reissue treatment I don’t take notice since I’ve already got an investment with the original version. Add the fact that there are no bonus tracks, so why take notice?

First off the great new cover art, second the promo sleeve announcing not remastered but “mastered for the first time.” Add to that getting an actual CD of Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult in the mail, thanks Hell’s Headbangers. Back to the cover art for a second. At the very least you should get a copy of this great Lovecraftian cover and insert it over the old one in your jewel case. The music, though, is the real kicker to get you to fork out money for this.

Don’t fret this is Inquisition 1998 upgraded to Inquisition 2010, not Mayhem 1988 morphed into Dimmu Borgir 2010. No worry about losing that raw value system you all hold so dear. What we get is sharper, clearer, fuller sound, especially the guitar, but not diamond clarity by any stretch. The music itself is unchanged. The opportunity to revisit the songs and fix mistakes, add new riffs, a backing vocal line, etc. was thankfully resisted. Bringing a great album with somewhat thin sound up to modern Inquisition standards is the reason for this remaster, not the need for tinkering. As I said the most obvious improvement is in guitar sound with a fuller audible range, but they do not impact the space reserved for the vocals, which remain as powerful as ever and just as loud as before. On the drum kit, the cymbals ring more fully and the bass drum is more resonant.

A band named Inquisition obviously needs a strong Catholicism connection, and Satan is invoked by name many dozens of times. Can this be done without hearing Vincent Price in your head? For the most part yes. For the most part this album survives the test of time because there is a level of believability to the lyrics, but more importantly there is conviction to the stance. Timeless lyrics like “Oh! How I bleed, my blood summons the Black Lord eyes so bright”, and “Like eternal flight through the cosmic sea Moon and stars of night I shall worship thee.” and my favorite, “Flaming torch of knowledge burns on thy goat head with wicked horns…Burning children for my god offering dripping fat and blood” abound.

It occurs to me that since this is being reissued, the original pressing is long sold out so for all you that came late to the ceremony and only saw the ashes of the witch being dutifully swept up by monks. I lump this band, and especially this album, into the pile that includes Satanic Warmaster, Horna, Judas Iscariot, etc. I like to think of this disc as the best of Judas Iscariot with love for Satan instead of hatred for man mixed with early Burzum.

Led by the guitar, the pulsating simplicity of the main guitar line is brilliance in the Vivaldi sense. Rhythmic pulse comes from the drums which are minimally played and not overly intrusive and rarely flashy or bombastic. The faster blast intensive beast of later albums appears sporadically but mostly this is slow simple ritual. I have always loved black metal played simply, with an emphasis on the ritual aspects of worship, and this album’s mesmerizing qualities have not diminished with age nor have the killer three and four note repetitive sequences.

I notice also that their official web page address ends Inquisitionusa, so we get to claim them now. Dagon has been here for quite some time now. Hail the ancient cult. Yes “Hail the Cult” still has that long three minute pause for you to insert your own hails. If you want to call yourself a devotee of black metal, Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult, belongs in your collection. Just listen to “Solitary Death in the Nocturnal Woodlands” and appreciate the power of majestic minimalism.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
February 23rd, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Good write up..great album


  2. Commented by: George Wendt

    Their older is stuff is good but their newest album is a killer!! Love it! Good article.


  3. Commented by: Brandon Reinhart

    Truly a magnificent classic.


  4. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    I gotta agree with George…as much as I love the old stuff, I think their newest one is the strongest.


  5. Commented by: King Cripple

    Great review, man. And while I agree with the excellence of the cover art, does anyone else think it looks similar to Vaseleth’s Crypt Born & Tethered To Ruin?


  6. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Yeah, it certainly does. It’s nearly identical….same artist. The only artwork from Kramer that I really like is the one for the new Inquisition album…his use of blue/purple really makes his style ‘pop’. His work for Nyogthaeblisz , while simple, is also very effective,IMO.

    As far as this album goes, I greatly prefer the original…mostly because this looks too much like the Vasaeleth and his other work.


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