"No God No Satan"

(Season of Mist)

01. Hoax-Virus-God
02. Cloning the Divine
03. Worship Industrialized
04. Hexameron
05. I, Flesh of God
06. Origin
07. Cuiusvis Hominis Est Errare
08. I, Blood of Satan
09. XXI (The Pathological Mass)
10. The Hulk of Conviction and Faith

RATING: 8/10

Here I go again talking up those French black metal savages. There is just something about the way that so many of the country's BM acts take the early Norwegian blueprint and gouge the hell out of it, then bend it into submission. It usually involves scathing chords, piercing tones, and the liberal application of dissonance. Well, guess what? On "No God No Satan" OTARGOS do it too and inject their own collective identity into the songwriting and themes. If you've always wondered what it getting swallowed whole and turning to mush from the acidic digestive juices might be like, here is the opportunity for which you've been waiting.

The way that's done is through the creation of an album that really does play best as a beginning-to-end listen. Skipping across and picking individual tracks loses something in the translation. While most groups would argue that was the intent anyway, it is easy to assume that OTARGOS make it an extra point of emphasis in spreading their cosmological philosophy and "atheistic vision of humanity" down the hellish vortexes and dark corridors of "No God No Satan". Shrapnel blasting is not eschewed (the opening segment of "Cloning the Divine" will tell you that), but the musical message is often delivered at mid-tempo with guitars so abrasive that the demonic ringing that ensues doesn't just torment the ears, but sort of hangs in the air like a toxic mist for hours afterward. The impeccable pacing and flow is such that tracks like the introductory "Hoax-Virus-God" and a terror march called "I, Flesh of God" are just as important to the efficient operation of the machinery as the 10-minute "Cuius Vis Hominis Est Errare" — one half acid-splashing violence and one half death-by-freezing — and a dread spreading, epic ritual of suffocation called "The Hulk of Conviction and Faith", which ends the album. It is imperative that you give "No God No Satan" a few spins before forming an opinion, as the further you descend, the better it gets. You'll come out of the experience with cuts and bruises at the very least.

"No God No Satan" is genuinely terrifying as far as black metal albums go and musically assaulting to a sadistic degree. The atmospherics, created through everything from spoken bits to riff scrapings to ice cold tones of doom, are spine-chilling too. That pretty well sums up the French Black Metal Factory at which OTARGOS were assembled; lucky for you they broke the goddamned mold. How the machines in that place are kept operating with the gears constantly gummed up with all that Satanic sticky stuff is the real mystery. But why ask why? Just be grateful you can purchase the "No God No Satan" product and play masochist whenever the mood strikes.


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