Black metal, even after nearly fifteen years of listening, can still throw you for a loop. It’s easy to assume, after fifteen years, that you’ve heard it all, that nothing can really change your perception. Non Opus Dei has a lot of things going for it that both place it firmly in the realm of straightforward black metal and in the realm of imaginative, avant garde post black metal. Their 2016 album, Diabeł, shares a lot of similarities with their compatriots of Poland, Vader, Behemoth, and Decapitated, in their approach but the style and execution of said approach is all their own.
What struck me first was the vocals, normally it’s the last thing I mention because it’s the element that ties everything together but I felt the vocals on Diabeł were different, they were not the tying element but the stand out element of the album, the strongest of all the sounds and effects. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what made them so great in my mind, even though I’m a former vocalist, but the cadence and the rasp of the vocals, the dull echo that seems to reverb off the music itself. The lyrical content is sinister and occultic, and the vocals match with some pretty serious intensity. They match the melodies very well, indicated to me that the vocalist is very in tuned with the music and understand it very intimately. This is the best kind of vocal arrangement, it’s not another layer for the listener to discern and focus on, rather it’s melded with the music so it flows wonderfully. The guitars are well done too, the tune and the rhythm they create sort of carry the listener away from the safe physical word and opens the door to somewhere that’s unreal, full of strange sensations that prove both dangerous and exhilarating. I love black metal that can take the listener away, not just replace the surrounding sounds around them. Really good black metal replaces the world around the listener, and that’s what Non Opus Dei has done with Diabeł. The world of Diabeł is a strange, almost ethereal place where the laws of gods and physics don’t seem to apply. It makes the album rich and deep. As a first time listener of Non Opus Dei, Diabeł has shown me a look into a strange, unearthly supernatural world. It’s a world that I would not like to visit often but I welcome it every time I listen to Non Opus Dei.
Listen and support!