Inquisitor (LIT) is a new progressive black metal project with Avant tendencies from Lithuania. I refrain from flat-out calling them “avant-garde black metal” because the term has been overused as of late and this project isn’t all that unusual in sound, but rather in theme. The name of the project itself suggests a philosophical mind with an “inquisitor” being one who questions and seeks answers passionately. Indeed, the very title of the album begins leading us down that philosophical path with “Id” being one-third of Freud’s structural model of the psyche, with the other two being the ego and super-ego. The “Id” is the instinctual function of our psyche, the part of our brains that seeks out pleasure and avoids pain, the dark part of us that we continue to dig towards with our insatiable appetites but can never quite reach. The Id is chaos incarnate within each individual, and is the most natural part of our minds. Present even at birth, it is the animistic, uninfluenced instinctual drive that we inherit. The perfect representation of this is the Gnostic deity Abraxas whom encapsulated everything — light and dark, good and evil, black and white — within itself.
Thus, this release thematically is attempting to observe that part of the human psyche on its most basic level, hence the chaotic yet grand melodic keyboard melodies and guitar riffage. Even on the most basic level of the Id, chaos reigns. The track titles even suggest that we run the full gauntlet of this dark subconscious through the Latin phrases Infimum (The Lowest) and Supremum (The Highest). Of course, strangely, this is only a secondary theme to the music. The primary theme is a concept album based around one traveler’s journey and his strange life during these travels. The dialog is the vocal part of the album, which is broken down into three separate chapters over the expanse of the first four tracks and takes shape visually through the presentation of the lyrics in the 16-page booklet. Through these tracks, the studies mentioned above are discussed in a physical and metaphysical, literal and theoretical nature. The intro paragraph hammers home the fact that the foundation of our collective scientific knowledge over the past millenia or so is crumbling under the weight of relatively new ideas like chaos and quantum theories and that the only certainty now is uncertainty. A philosophical thought in itself within the realm of Epistemology as we struggle to comprehend and apply what little we have learned as we peer further down into the structures of life beyond a molecular level.
The writing and structure of the compositions is perhaps the most unique feature on the album given their avant tendencies. There is of course a technological style to the album for this very reason, and there are even vocal parts performed for a character, Zeroth A’s “Gadget” which is full of nothing but computer-talk. Changes in chapter within the songs themselves are often marked, sometimes abruptly, by a change in style musically as well. Much of “The Quantum Theory of Id” is marked my sweeping melodic lines and thrashy rhythmic riffs. Percussion is largely straight-forward with the exception of flashy cymbal work and double-kick is present seemingly constantly. The guitar work can border on experimentalism at times, but is mostly built off a spirited and impressive performance and, besides the theme, is unquestionably the high-point of the album. What little keyboard work is present on the release is mostly piano-sound based and brings Inquisitor close to the area that Andorra’s “Persefone” has perfected with their classically influenced structures and sophisticated but dark, maddening aura.
The only down-side to the release is the production, which at times seems incredibly flat/compressed sounding for the amount of intrinsic melodic work going on. There is a mild industrial black metal flavor to the release, however, because of the relatively straight-forward percussion and that would seem likely to give good reasoning behind the type of production. It just doesn’t seem to do the band’s sound justice. Overall though, this is a monumental effort for a debut album, both in the quality of the compositions and in the intellectual nature that the theme itself explores. This is music for the thinking man as should be immediately evident from track titles like “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” which gives a nod to the trio of writings by Sir Isaac Newton, “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” (The World as Will and Representation) which was a principal work of the great German mind Arthur Schopenhauer and all of his influence of the likes of Nietzsche, Freud, Wagner, Einstein, and seemingly countless others, and “Corpus Hermeticum”, referencing the Greek texts of The Hermetica that discuss subjects from the human mind to alchemy and Earthly nature to the great beyond. Of course, all of this should applied to the story that is being told within the lyrics for a deeper understanding of the ideas that the band has brought up on “The Quantum Theory of Id”.
02) Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis
03) Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung
04) Corpus Hermeticum
05) The End of Certainty; Supremum