Accompanying their shift to Seasons of Mist a couple of years ago, Inquisition has been re-releasing their old albums along with new artwork. “Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan” is the band’s second release as a black metal project, and strays further from their thrash metal past than “Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult” did. At the same time, the thrash roots can still be heard on such tracks as “Rituals of Human Sacrifice for Lord Baal” and the title track.
Nevertheless, Inquisition clearly started to get their footing as a black metal band with this particular record. Dagon’s vocals are particularly eerie on “Rituals of Human Sacrifice for Lord Baal” and “For Lucifer My Blood,” as he seems to be perfecting the meditative drone that he uses on later releases. Likewise, the bell-tone broken chords that I associate so much with the band become more prominent on “Invoking…”, and “The Realm of Shadows Shall Forever” provides a striking glimpse into the band’s future.
However, there are some surprises on this sophomore album as well; particularly the major chord riffs in tracks “Hail the King of All Heathens.” This track and “Imperial Hymn for Our Master Satan” (EDITOR: Blimey! Have Bal Sagoth been writing these song titles?!) both have a very Nordic battle-metal feel to them, and the former never ceases to surprise me when I hear it. While the speed on the album alternates between the slow, dirge-like quality of the band’s later compositions and the faster thrash of their early days, the tempos are very steady and deliberate, shedding some of the frenzied nature of Inquisition’s thrash roots.
The artwork on this re-release is also new, featuring the work of Paolo Girardi this time. Girardi’s work was featured on “Obscure Verses for the Multiverse” in 2013, and I have to say that I like the artwork for “Invoking…” quite a bit more than that one. The tiny skulls in the little tents are a nice touch, and the dragon priest is supremely creepy looking. However, I am also a big fan of the older artwork on Inquisition’s albums, which is why I was pleased to learn that the original artwork will also be included on this new release. As a big fan of good album art in general, I am looking forward to getting to view both next to each other.
Listening to these rereleases as they come about will be fun for those of us who missed out on getting to grow with Inquisition the first time around. Time will tell if we’ll see a re-release of the early, thrash stuff from Inquisition on the label, which I would love to happen (it’s seriously good stuff), but for now, I’m content to hear the sounds of one of my favorite bands evolve from their beginnings once more.