DEATHSPELL OMEGA — Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice

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DEATHSPELL OMEGA - Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice cover
4.18 | 27 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2004

Tracklist

1. First Prayer (5:43)
2. Sola Fide I (5:14)
3. Sola Fide II (7:53)
4. Second Prayer (4:41)
5. Blessed Are the Dead Whiche Dye in the Lorde (5:47)
6. Hétoïmasia (7:08)
7. Third Prayer (3:57)
8. Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice (6:32)
9. Odivm Nostrvm (4:46)
10. Jvbilate Deo (O Be Joyfvl in the Lord) (6:07)
11. Carnal Malefactor (11:45)
12. Drink the Devil's Blood (4:32)
13. Malign Paradigm (3:40)

Total Time: 77:52

Line-up/Musicians

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

About this release

The album title is Latin for "If You Seek His Monument, Look Around You".

Released as CD and limited gatefold double LP with a poster.

Re-released as gatefold double LP by Noevdia in 2007, 100% similar to the original.

Thanks to UMUR, kogaionon for the updates

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DEATHSPELL OMEGA CIRCVMSPICE SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
The term “black metal” was simply born as a title of the 1982 Venom album who was one of metal’s first bands to venture into a more ambitious extreme new world but like Rosemary’s baby was just a mere sprout that morbid and fertile imaginations would transmogrify into the harsh and ugly wave of extreme metal that began in Scandinavia. While bands like Hellhammer and Celtic Frost nurtured this evil spawn through the toddler years, it was a fast learner and soon the Swedish band Bathory would unleash the first true black metal with its trademark fast tempos, shrieking vocals, heavily distorted buzzsaw guitars and tremolo picking. Originally the style began as more as a Pagan based rebellion against religious intolerance but soon it would attract a second wave of followers who would take it to absolute extremes.

Once the floodgates were opened, a whole legion of imitators followed and this extreme form of metal splintered into myriad directions. Atmospheric with ambient keyboard use, industrial black, war black, Viking, blackgaze and even hybrids with death metal and many other non-metal genres. The great evolutionary diversification splintered with subject matter ranging from hostile misanthropy, anti-Christian sentiments, Pagan folklore, romantic Gothic tales and depressive hopelessness. While bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Emperor and Gorgoroth frightened the masses with their cacophonous din with some even having burned down a few churches in their wake, these face painted miscreants were more focused on adolescent angst and shocking appearances as the rebellious antithesis of Christianity rather than delving into the philosophical theology of true Satanism.

DEATHSPELL OMEGA were a part of this legion of imitators with two albums that sounded like countless others based in the second wave of black metal with their second album “Inquisitors Of Satan” sounding like it easily could’ve been slipped into the Darkthrone canon and no one would’ve thought twice about it. As if Satan himself had selected this mysterious and anonymous French ensemble, the band emerged from a rather generic epigone to one of the most experimental and intellectually developed outfits within the entire black metal universe. On their third album SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES, CIRCVMSPICE (Latin for “If You Seek His Monument, Look Around You,) DEATHSPELL OMEGA launched the first of a trilogy of albums that focused on the Theistic Satanist’s perspective and one that ostentated that Satan is pervading every aspect of the physical and metaphysical universe and that Man’s relationship with Him should be one of reverence and devotion.

While lyrically entranced in Satanic metaphysics in a liturgical presentation, stylistically the works are heavily influenced by the 20th century French philosopher Georges Bataille. Musically DOS evolved significantly beyond the second wave tritone dissonance into a sophisticated progressive black metal band that utilized wide varieties of stylistic shifts interspersed with unpredictable time signature changes and even incorporated complete deviations from metal altogether into Gregorian chants that take references from the Christian Bible and fully invert them as heard on the beginning “First Prayer” that finds backmasking wrapped around the liturgical sermon. The album, like true Satanic ideologies, is rife with symbolism both visually in the album cover and liner notes but also with the juxtaposition of Christian philosophies with dark arts metaphysics. This is the real deal. A musical experience so dark and heavy that it makes Anton LaVey’s Church Of Satan look like a skit with the Church Lady on 80s Saturday Night Live.

SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES, CIRCVMSPICE is a very long album. At 77 minutes and 47 seconds it was intentionally designed to mimic the structure of progressive rock double albums from the 70s with each fictitious side opening with a prayer with an additional lengthy devotion occurring with the eleven minute plus “Carnal Malefactor.” While the album doesn’t let up in its intensity for one second, the diverse elements that flow through manage to keep even the most attention span deprived metalhead from bouts of ennui. While segments flow and find repetitive segments of structure, the band’s approach is to change the instrumentation subtlety and also at time startlingly abrupt, by offering up new riffs, new drumming patterns or vocal rants. At times the band plays together as a cohesive unit in traditional black metal fashion but more often offers up the most avant-garde and mind bending displays of angular dissonance and progressive bombast. The overall impression of this album is that of a black mass from a fly on the wall perspective.

DEATHSPELL OMEGA took the entire metal world by storm with SI MONVMENTVM REQVIRES, CIRCVMSPICE, having created one of the most thought provoking and musically mysterious metal albums of the ages. This is the kind of blackened art album with the sophistication of great classical composers with every composition, production value and lyrical utterance casting a darkened cloud over the world and twisted into an unholy irreverence in an antithetically aligned manner that goes far beyond a flaming vitriol for Christianity but rather ups the game to become its equal. While DEATHSPELL OMEGA could be viewed as a pseudo-intellectual cauldron of mumbo jumbo, there is no denying that their craft has mastered the art of Christian inversion to its logical conclusion and utilized its own contradictory Biblical passages against it with a thoughtful and peremptory authority. While cleverly presented, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, the newfound masters of the great Satanic theological soundtracks hadn’t quite attained perfection as it would on the follow-up “Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum,” but it’s pretty damn close.
Warthur
Up to this point, Deathspell Omega's approach to black metal had seen them adopt a no-nonsense back-to-basics approach reminiscent of innumerable other Darkthrone imitators. Here, though, some dark inspiration seems to have got into them, and their experiments with incorporating more unconventional elements into their music commence. Si Momentum Requires, Circumspice fuses the avant-black metal of subsequent Deathspell Omega releases with more direct and overt black metal eruptions, reminiscent of Marduk or Satyricon, so those who are only interested in the progressive side of their music may be better catered to by their later albums, though for my part I think the fusion here is interesting in its own right.
Conor Fynes
'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice' - Deathspell Omega (8/10)

Black metal has sure come a long way since it was first planted almost thirty years ago. Although most of the old ones (and many of the newer ones) opt for a straightforward leap into atmosphere and darkness, there has been a trend to take this extreme style of music to new heights of artistic merit and ambition. Deathspell Omega first started out as one of those straightforward bands, with such album titles as 'Inquisitors Of Satan' to back up the claim that they weren't exactly trying to reinvent the wheel at first. On their third album however, the band took a huge leap, experimenting with song and album structure, using conceptual themes and twisting genre, and most of all; tightening up their musicianship to become one of the most fierce black metal had ever seen. Although Deathspell Omega have since gone even deeper into the rabbit hole with later albums, 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice' is among the most innovative and groundbreaking black metal albums ever released, and still stands as an excellent album within the band's catalogue.

Latin for, 'If You Seek His Monument, Look Around You', 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice' is a vast concept album revolving around none other than Satan himself. Taking a leaf from the classic albums of progressive rock, the album is structured in a very intentioned way, with more atmospheric interludes (called 'Prayers') breaking up the otherwise rampant black metal. Far from being ambient doodles, these 'Prayers' take on very interesting turns that show some of the band's greatest progress from their early days. 'First Prayer' is an obscenely dark introduction to this album, with sampled female chanting only adding to the eerie psychedelic tinge of the guitars. From then on, the remaining two 'Prayers' are what little respite the listener will get from some incredibly dense, challenging black metal. In a move quite uncharacteristic of black metal, the band is very technically complex, with the term 'calculated madness' coming to mind.

The guitars and drums are so blazing and intense that it often comes across as being too much to digest for the first few spins of the album. The madness forces a listener to pay full attention to the music, lest the complexity will come across as noise. There are also less aggressive moments where the malefic atmosphere of the music is allowed to take full charge and push the listener to the brink of insanity. All the while, the raspy snarl of the vocals preaches on about Satan in archaic English. The vocals are the only part of the album (and Deathspell Omega's music in general) that doesn't wow me. Although the lyrics are sometimes beautifully poetic (considering the subject matter), the shock of the 'evil' vocals gets old fairly quickly; they stay fairly monotone throughout, with only a few exceptions where the listener gets to hear something else. Fortunately, that 'something else' turns out to be something that I would not have expected a black metal band do to so well.

What I'm referring to is Deathspell Omega's use of classical Gregorian chant arrangements in their music here. Particularly in a drawn out section of the album's cornerstone 'Carnal Malefactor', the black metal dissipates, and instead we hear the gloomy vocals of a choir. Despite being very surprising on first listen, their arrangement here is beautiful and haunting, and most of all, it never feels forced. Even the most intense moments of Deathspell Omega's music here has an archaic, orthodox feel to it, so it seems natural for the band to go into something like that. 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice' is the only album of the band's that explores this aspect of their music, and I would have loved to hear more of it, because it shows so much promise.

Besides the vocals, the only other thing that doesn't sit so well with me is the album's length. At 71 minutes, it is definitely veering towards the long side of things, which is not a problem on its own, but for the usual madness and complexity that the album brings forth, it can make this length seem very unnecessary, especially on first listen. Barring that, 'Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice' is a monster of an album; I find it to be excellent now, and I can only see my reverence of it growing in the future. I believe that Deathspell would ascend to even greater heights on their next record, 'Fas- Ite Maledicti, In Ignem Aeturnum', but this is- of course- arguable. An excellent album from whom I consider to be the most inventive band black metal band we have ever yet seen.
UMUR
Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice is the third full-length studio album by French experimental black metal act Deathspell Omega ( not counting the two split albums with Moonblood and Clandestine Blaze). The album has both been released on CD ( Not all earlier releases from the band has seen a release on CD) and Double gatefold LP with a poster. The double gatefold LP version has since been re-released in 2007. I´ve found every release from the band up until this one to be trivial old school black metal releases but with Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice the band really begin to show their potential.

The 11:44 minute long Carnal Malefactor is a good example of how interesting Deathspell Omega can actually sound with its a capella Gregorian middle section and generally slow pace. Most songs are played in a fast pace though and the basis in the music is still old school black metal. This time around the band has just added more experimental elements and greater variation to their songs. The three Prayer songs are good examples of this new and more varied experimental black metal style.

The vocals are raspy but pretty monotone IMO and it does become a bit of a problem the longer I get into this 77:39 minute long album ( which by the way is a couple of songs too long if you ask me). New singer Mikko Aspa ( Clandestine Blaze, Fleshpress, Morbid Savouring, Stabat Mater, A.M., D.O.M., Creamface, Noise Waste, Grunt, Clinic of Torture, Alchemy of the 20th Century, Nicole 12, Nihilist Commando, Pain Nail), who has replaced original vocalist/ drummer Shaxul in the lineup, does not vary his vocal style enough on the album. I like raspy/ growling vocals to reflect either pain, anger, aggression or melancholy but with these vocals I´m not really moved. It´s an aquired taste for sure though and others might really enjoy his approach to singing. The thing I enjoy the most on the album is the many times inventive guitar riffs from band leader Hasjarl which are the foundation of the compositions on the album.

The musicianship is generally of high quality but I must admit that I´m not too fond of the drumming style. The drums are pretty simple ( well relatively) and I think the music would have benefitted from a more technical approach.

The production is the first professional production that Deathspell Omega has had on any of their releases up until then and it sounds really good. I have been complaining about the raw, low-fi and primitive productions on their earlier releases but this time the band has decided to put out a profesional product and it´s hard not to be happy about the sound on this album.

Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice is a great experimental black metal album, but the above mentioned flaws ( too long playing time, monotone vocals and simple drumming) does drag my rating down from a 4 to a 3.5 star rating. I might upgrade it in time though if I learn to appreciate the above mentioned issues a bit more. I´ll surely be giving the album lots of spins in the future to find out.

Members reviews

kogaionon
This review is written by someone who considers Deathspell Omega to be one of the most important Black Metal bands nowadays and one of the most important in the history of the genre...and this is why:

"Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice" – comparison with other Metal albums

"Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice" is the beginning of one of the most important trilogies in modern-day Metal...and I say Metal 'cause the album at hand is more than Black. It incorporates Progressive and Technical elements, the listener having to deal with the absolutely monumental waves of music complexity, frenetic dissonance and polyrhythmic song structures that redefined Deathspell Omega as Avant-garde Black. I would dare to compare the importance of this album with Mayhem's "Chimera", Burzum's "Filosofem", Darkthrone's "Panzerfaust", Enslaved's "Mardraum" or even Negură Bunget's "Măiastru Sfetnic".

"Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice" – comparison with other Deathspell Omega albums

Released in 2004, it has a totally different sound than the Darkthrone-like "Infernal Battles" and "Inquisitors of Satan", setting the standards for what it was to come: the majestic "Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" and the crushing "Paracletus", with "Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" being the pinnacle of this collection. Although not the best from the three, "Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice" was the beginning of change in contemporary Black Metal, an infusion of inspiration and new elements that the BM scene needed so bad.

Ratings only

  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Fant0mas
  • luanpedi
  • Xenoflux
  • 666sharon666
  • serenitypaintedeath
  • sauromat
  • Anster
  • Immortalis
  • Jan
  • Zargus
  • Coracin
  • piposo
  • trickster B
  • spitf1r3
  • Xaxaar
  • NorseGangsta
  • Wilytank
  • (De)progressive
  • Tlön
  • Vehemency
  • Jake Kobrin

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