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4.48 | 12 ratings | 3 reviews
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EP · 2005


1. I (15:45)
2. II (11:25)
3. III (9:09)

Total Time: 36:20


- Hasjarl / guitars
- Khaos / bass
- Mikko Aspa / vocals

About this release

Note: the quotes on the back of the digipack are NOT songtitles, but explanatory summaries of the lyrical content of the complementary tracks.
Re-released in LP by NOEVDIA (mid september 2007), 100% similar to the original. Comes with a 40-page booklet including lyrics and artwork.

Thanks to UMUR, kogaionon for the updates


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siLLy puPPy
Starting with their third album “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice,” the French black metal band DEATHSPELL OMEGA went from a rather run-of-the-mill second wave clone going through 90s Darkthrone inspired motions and undertook a major leap of sophistication with their Satanic liturgical distortionfests with hitherto unthinkable experimentalism and progressiveness that catapulted the entire black metal world to a completely new level.This was also the beginning of the trilogy of albums that tackled metaphysical theology from a Satanic perspective with lyrics inspired by the French philosopher Georges Bataille.

Sandwiched in between the three albums “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice,” “Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum” and “Paracletus” were many EPs and splits. KÉNÔSE emerged as the first “in-between” release and although technically classified as an EP, runs slightly over 36 minutes. During this period DEATHSPELL OMEGA, while black metal in menacing sonic demeanor, structured their albums more like progressive rock albums of the 70s. The official trilogy albums themselves mimicked the structure of vinyl double albums whereas some EPs such as this could count as fully fledged albums within their own right.

KÉNÔSE was intended to be supplemental material to accompany the “Si Momvmentvm” album. The term KÉNÔSE is French for “kenosis” which itself emerged from the Greek language (κένωσις, kénōsis), refers to the self-emptying of Jesus’ will and becoming receptive to the God’s divine will which refers to the Biblical passage in Philippians 2:7. This release pretty much perfectly fits between the newly adapted “Si Monvmentvm” and the even more challenging and experimental “Fas - Ite.” While similar, KÉNÔSE exists in its own universe and delivers one of the most terrifying banterfests of DOS’ avant-garde black metal career.

This EP consists of a mere three tracks simply titled “I” “II” and “III” with the opener serving as the longest and casting an ominous spell with a four minute death march that slowly ratchets up the tension before bursting into the more famous jangle black metal dissonance that DOS have made their frightening signature sound. “II” continues the indecipherable vocal litanies with ever changing mixes of guitar riffs, time signature changes and hypnotic percussive bantering until it reaches a frightening angularity of complete rhythmic breakdown by the end. “III” calms down a bit with a Gregorian chant type of vibe dressed up in a dissonant blackened doom metal wrap. The track hypnotically lollygags in a near nine minute rant that ends the EP leaving a feeling of despair and sadistic sacrifice of the soul.

KÉNÔSE ups the ante manyfold. The musicianship is off the chart with the guitar and bass mostly existing as a single super instrument and the drumming all interacting in staggering complexity like the aural specter of the entire jazz, classical and metal universe unleashing the darkest forces of the underworld in unison. The production is perfect as it allows the more subdued build-ups to hypnotically seduce complacence before the full metal fury unleashes the full Satanic theological rage about esoteric theological rants about hypostasis and philosophical quandaries. In short, this is the absolute perfect example of an authentic progressive black metal album.
Conor Fynes
'Kénôse EP' - Deathspell Omega (8/10)

Like almost all of my favourite bands, the enigmatic French black metallers Deathspell Omega have witnessed a great change in their sound from the early days. Arguably beginning in earnest with their third record 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice', Deathspell Omega set themselves very far apart from the typical black metal act through an avant-garde and distinctly progressive direction. Considered by the band to be an 'appendix' to that album, Deathspell's 'Kénôse' EP stands its own ground as yet another fantastic addition to this band's discography. Although it may certainly scare away most of black metal's puritanical elements, 'Kénôse' is a considerable chunk of thinking man's metal that exemplifies Deathspell Omega's inhuman grasp of controlled madness.

The most memorable aspect of this EP takes place at the very beginning, which may very well be considered 'satanic classical music'. A slow build-up uses a recurring theme, which eerie far eastern percussion in the background to create an ominous feeling long before the black metal instrumentation comes in. The build-up is done in such a way where it leads the listener to become very tense, wondering just when the band will break out into the inevitable metal slaughter. Then, using a dissonant and pleasantly horrific classical choral section as a segue, things erupt into a half hour surge of blast beats, oddly timed grooves, malefic snarls and highly unconventional composition.

One thing about Deathspell Omega is that much of their heavier music may be construed as noise to some, and this is no different with 'Kénôse'. The riffs are often so technical and fast, most black metal listeners will not be accustomed to such high intensity musicianship. However, the band remains uncompromising, letting their frightening and demonic sound mellow out only for some dissonant and chromatic pluckings here and there to create dynamic. It's actually in the less heavy sections here that Deathspell shines the best. Although they are masters of technical black metal and have a very unique sound, it often feels like there is too much being thrown at the listener at once, making it very difficult to make out any particular riff or musical idea without concentrating very steadily. Still, the extended five minute introduction to the world of 'Kénôse' is among the most powerful I have ever heard, and rivals any classical music I can think of in terms of its class and razor sharp intention.

A very challenging listen, but this EP is greatly rewarding to those that manage to hear through the seemingly muffled noise and into the wealth of grooves and bone-chilling atmosphere that Deathspell Omega enjoys here. Not recommended for the faint of heart.
Kénôse is an EP release by French experimental black metal act Deathspell Omega. The total playing time is 36:19 minutes distributed over 3 long tracks called I, II and III. While the band´s early releases don´t interest me much with their old school black metal aesthetics, my interest in Deathspell Omega was really ignited with the release of the Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice album from 2004. That album show an adventurous and experimental approach to black metal that I really appreciate.

The music on Kénôse futher expand upon the experimental approach to songwriting and playing that was initiated on Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice. While the atmosphere on the EP still reeks of old school black metal aesthetics, the music that Deathspell Omega have composed for this EP goes far beyond what you usually associate with that style. While the band would probably cringe if they read this, I´ll risk my neck and call the music on Kénôse progressive in the true sense of the word. Deathspell Omega twist the conventions and bring in elements from other genres to create a very unique and experimental form of black metal. While there are loads of fierce blasting parts and raspy vocals in the songs, there are as many unconventional elements in the music such as twisted and adventurous guitar riffs, tempo and what sounds like time signature changes too, industrial elements and some atmospheric dreamy sections. The EP even starts with what I would characterize as a couple of minutes of post metal. It almost sounds like Deathspell Omega invited Neurosis into the studio to compose and play the first couple of minutes. It works wonders IMO. The air is thick with harsh and dark atmosphere and with the twists and turns in the songs I´m kept on my toes at all times. Just the way I like my music. The three songs are very long ranging from 9 to almost 16 minutes which means that the songs are allowed to develop and change direction several times. There´s not a second on this EP that´s not entertaining.

The production needs a special mention here as it really works well and gives the music even more character. While everything is perfect in the mix and there´s absolutely nothing lo-fi about the sound, it´s still organic and creates the right atmosphere for the songs. It´s not one of those modern digital productions with triggered drums which by the way would probably have ruined music like this.

Kénôse is not an easy listening EP and I know it took me many listens to fully grasp the band´s vision with the music. But if you enjoy demanding ( progressive) music that doesn´t sacrifice power and dark atmosphere for technical playing or awkward shifts in musical style and direction, Kénôse could be your poison. Don´t get me wrong here though, because the playing on Kénôse certainly is technical and there are shift in musical direction on the EP too as mentioned earlier, but it works so well and natural and never feels forced that it´s possible that you won´t even notice. An achivement like this deserves at least a 4.5 star rating from me. I have the deepest respect for artists who are able to make experiments like this and make it work.

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