Live performances, when taken as opportunities for singular expositions of works, can show us unique and virtually un-repeatable manifestations of arrangements previously formalized by artists. Although Live in Bitterfield is a bootleg, it presents just such a face from the early period of Inquisition, two albums in after their final discovery of a voice and stabilization for all later time. As many of those familiar with black metal far beyond its surface characteristics, and who have taken the time to look into black metal as a holistic exercise of sorts, it will be apparent that Inquisition is only marginally black metal. While its riff styling and short-sighted rhythmic cadence scream out that this is closer to a heavy rock n’ roll, the furtherance of an aggressive melodic drive through a flat texture and a ‘riff salad’ approach to structure aiming towards a kind of linearity, as well as the obvious traits in the distorted power chord, idiomatic black metal vocals and drumming, lend the tools necessary for Inquisition to imbue the music with the auras to which the lyrical choices serve as pointers.
While the future catalogue of the band would hold on to this ever-solidifying style, it is in the first two albums that we find the clearest expression of a Satanic Mythos, more overtly so in the earlier one. This live album is an exclusive selection from these early expressions of passionate fanaticism towards a dark aura; whatever the actual understanding by the individuals behind such this music, the pragmatic potency, at an exoteric level of appreciation and when consciously pierced in thought, herein found surpasses that of many who are assumed to understand a Dark Tradition far more. Some have said that it is the vocalist’s choice of a croaking sound rather than the typical black metal screech which lend Inquisition a strange visceral credibility found nowhere else; to the latter I might add: in spite of the deficient bounce rhythms and lack of strong narrative coherence.
When taken as an experience, and a most private one at that, rather than as a total work of art, much of the work by Inquisition produces an alienating sensation seemingly caused by the surreptitious extension of a tentacle lurking under the morass of nauseating rock-tinged black metal mazes that force their way in spite of everything. It is thus that Inquisition attains a magical effect through proper mystic technique, where the coming together of the designs, chosen with purpose yet seemingly incomplete or clashing rather than beautifully coalescing, achieve an effect behind the scenes. If we take the highest view of black metal in general, we come to realize that the measure of worth of a work is defined by this total effect of the elements come together in a flow, one that is undoubtedly influenced by readily debatable characteristics such as style and structural coherence, but which may include far more than is within reach of proper analytical means. It is in this last respect that Inquisition attains its whole an proper value.