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Dødheimsgard - Monumental Possession CD (album) cover



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3 stars Dodheimsgard's second recording, Monumental Possession, finds the collection of Norwegian black metallers turbo-charging their standard yet effective brand of traditional black metal with a lethal dose of vintage thrash. As with the debut, Kronet Til Konge, there is no effort to stretch the boundaries of this form of metal music. This is a burning display of ferocious misanthropy. There is no concern for providing the listener with a dynamic listening experience. This is a purging of spiritual and mental anguish from beginning to end.

The music is delivered with an increased intensity as compared to the debut, yet, like said debut, it is once again the vocal performances that provide the highest level of impression. Aldrahn is again convincing in his anguished desperation, yet the vocals are now split between three members, with Vicotnik's tortured gremlin croak carrying the most disturbing, alarming and penetrating effect. The grim wretchedness of his tone is beyond that of most, if not any, black metal vocalist. Musically, there is nothing on offer that can be described as phenomenal, not for any lacking of ability from the musicians involved, but rather because the material does not particularly demand such instrumental flexing. Guitars are a blend of traditional black metal and thrash riffs, while the rhythm section simply lays a (usually furious) foundation for the attack. Though the material is both sonically and emotionally rewarding, it does not reach the magnitude of black metal's greatest works. This is because, though the music is satisfying during the listening session, its effects fail to resonate once the session has concluded. Unlike classic black metal artists, the work of Dodheimsgard, for the first two releases at least, does not maintain its grip on the soul of the listener after the album has ended. This is what separates Dodheimsgard from an Immortal or an Emperor, and what keeps them from taking a place alongside the genre's more exceptional acts.

It must be stressed that Dodheimsgard are not aspiring to alter the soundscape of black metal tradition. The individuals who comprise the unit (Aldrahn [Thorns], Apollyon [Aura Noir, Cadaver, Inc.], Vicotnik [Ved Buens Ende.] and Alver [Emperor]), are veterans of the Norwegian black metal scene and have each been involved in projects which have sought to expand or manipulate black metal's standards in some fashion. The purpose for the existence of Dodheimsgard (at this moment of their career at least) is to revel in the blasphemous and hateful indulgences of black metal, and do so by way of a fairly standard approach in terms of musical construction. However, this is not Kronet Til Konge part 2. The extremity has been intensified and the variety of vocal approaches, the interjection of thrash riffs and rhythms and the thicker production contribute to taking the original vision to the next level. The environment has moved from the obscurity of blackened, cold Norwegian forests to the torture grounds of hellish torment. Therefore, Dodheimsgard's music now burns rather than freezes, and it's left up to the listener as to which of the two forms of suffering is most appealing.

Report this review (#86075)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The second album from Dødheimsgard called Monumental Possession is a little better than their debut Kronet til Konge which I found to be a waste of time. The style hasn´t changed much though, it´s stil primitive and raw black metal of the early Norwegian School. A style that is very much inspired by the early eighties thrash and hardcore/punk scene. Notable influences are Sodom, Kreator, Destruction, Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory and Possessed.

The songs are a little better than on the debut but still very primitive both in structure and instrumentation. It has to be noted that the lyrics are in english this time. The lyrics on the debut was on Norwegian.

The musicians have become a bit better even though I still think Dødheimsgard is a bit untight. It might be on purpose to emphazise the dark and brutal atmosphere though. You never know with these black metal guys. One thing I´ll complain about when comparing Monumental Possession and Kronet til Konge is that Aldrahn´s vocals are not as good on Monumental Possession as they were on Kronet til Konge. Aldrahn´s vocals were one of the only highlights on Kronet til Konge but on Monumental Possession the vocals are processed. It´s very seldom that works for me and this is no exception.

The sound quality has become a little better too but it´s still not very impressive. I guess TRUE black metal fans probably enjoy this sound.

I said it when reviewing Kronet til Konge and I´ll say it again here. If you want to listen to Dødheimsgard I´ll strongly recommend that you listen to 666 International and Supervillain Outcast instead of these early efforts from the band as those two albums are some of the best experimental extreme metal ever made IMO. Monumental Possession receives a small 2 star rating from me.

Report this review (#164019)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars DODHEIMSGARD jumped into the Norwegian black metal snake pit and became only one of many in the legions of Darkthrone imitators with their debut album "Kronet Til Konge," which showed a group of angry misanthropic metalheads pulling off a really decent carbon copy version of albums like "A Blaze In The Northern Sky," however quickly after they released their rather ho hum debut to the world, the band started to take itself a little more seriously and started upping their game by infusing more creativity into their second wave black metal shtick. While not quite reaching the out of the box approaches that would define them, on their second release MONUMENTAL POSSESSION some of the avant-garde explorations had already started to creep in but in the end this is a black metal album from start to finish.

While firmly steeped in the same black metal world as the debut, MONUMENTAL POSSESSION has a much more diverse palette of ideas this time around. Firstly there are more thrash leanings. While the trebly black metal tremolo picking is ubiquitous as are the blastbeats and buzzsaw guitar distortion, there are many periods of thrash riffing and even soloing. This is a stylistic fusion that would be abandoned in favor of heading down a more experimental industrial path but a blueprint for bands like Aura Noir to adopt in DODHEIMGARD'S stead. Initially released on the Malicious label before the band had become better known, this album had been rare and out of print prior to the 2016 reissue on Peaceville.

MONUMENTAL POSSESSION saw a lineup change, a feature common with many extreme metal bands. While Aldrahn and VIcotnik are back for a second round, Jonas Alver replaces Fenriz on bass and Apollyon joins the grew as second guitarist. Another aspect that makes this album much different than the previous is that Aldrahn, Apollyon and Vicotnik all share vocal duties with each having a distinct style that offers more variations in the vocal department than most black metal releases of the 90s. So in addition to the usual shrieked vocal style, Victonik offers his own bizarre croaked shouts not unlike the vocalist of Inquisition which offers a freakish sensibility to the mix.

The album is bookended by hellish sound collages that offer freaky ghoulish Satanic sounds accompanied by swirling dark ambient turbulence. It sets the tone for the album but the music is unapologetically brutal black metal with thrash elements sewn in for good measure. A huge step up from the debut and a clear link to the future is the fluid and frenetic percussive attack of Vicotnik who offers a much more varied array of drum abuse than the average second wave pummelation of skins. Avant-garde and jazzy, they point to some of the weirdness that would emerge on the most experimental albums like "666 International." Overall, the music falls into the brutally melodic zone with distinct hooks that are augmented by the orotund bombast.

MONUMENTAL POSSESSION is a huge step up in terms of quality from "Kronet Til Konge" in every conceivable manner and while still firmly planted in the black metal universe is a surprisingly consistent and pleasant journey into the sickened Norwegian minds of these face painted miscreants. This is an album i actually enjoy and want to listen to. While this would be the band's last true black metal album, it is one that displays their talents of pulling off more than a mere Darkthrone clone routine and finds the band coming of age just in time to jettison it for something else completely, a trait that would find DODHEIMSGARD drifting from album to album much like Ulver without ditching the metal sound altogether. Not as great as future releases but damn good for an orthodox 90s black metal release.

Report this review (#2055831)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | Review Permalink

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