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A UMBRA OMEGA

Dødheimsgard

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Dødheimsgard A Umbra Omega album cover
3.96 | 28 ratings | 3 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Love Divine (1:03)
2. Aphelion Void (15:14)
3. God Protocol Axiom (13:13)
4. The Unlocking (11:21)
5. Architect of Darkness (11:59)
6. Blue Moon Duel (14:20)

Total Time: 67:10

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Aldrahn / guitars, vocals
- Thunberg / guitars
- L.E. Måløy / bass
- Vicotnik / drums
- Sekaran aka Terghl / drums

Releases information

CD Peaceville CDVILEF485 (2015 UK)
2LP Peaceville VILELP485 (2015 UK)

Thanks to katatonia for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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DØDHEIMSGARD A Umbra Omega ratings distribution


3.96
(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
14%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)
14%

DØDHEIMSGARD A Umbra Omega reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "A Umbra Omega" is the 5th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metal act Dødheimsgard. The album was released through Peaceville Records in March 2015. It´s the successor to "Supervillain Outcast" from 2007, so there´s been quite gap in time between the two releases. If you look back in the band´s discography that´s not unusual though as there was an 8 year gap between the release of "666 International (1999)" and "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" too. A recording output of 3 albums in 16 years isn´t exactly prolific, but main man behind the project Vicotnik (real name Yusaf Parvez) has been busy with other projects like Code and Naer Mataron, and "A Umbra Omega" also features an almost completely revamped lineup compared to the lineup who recorded "Supervillain Outcast (2007)". Actually the only remaining member from the lineup of the predecessor is Vicotnik. Lead vocalist Kvohst has been replaced by a returning Aldrahn though (Dødheimsgard singer in the period 1994-2004), so there is at least one more familiar face in the lineup on "A Umbra Omega".

Dødheimsgard has been Vicotnik´s project for the last many years though, so while "A Umbra Omega" doesn´t sound like neither "666 International (1999)" nor "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" (or any of their early releases for that matter), it´s still unmistakably the sound of Dødheimsgard. The twisted and abstract take on extreme metal which draws influences from as diverse musical styles as avant garde, progressive rock/metal, black metal, thrash metal, death metal, and industrial metal (and even a touch of goth) is quite unique.

Where "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" typically comprised of "regular" length tracks with recognisable vers/chorus structures (although still quite adventurous), "A Umbra Omega" is a very different kind of beast. 6 tracks and a full playing time of 67:10 minutes means that all tracks, except the short intro track "The Love Divine", are over 10 minutes long and two of them are even close to 15 minutes in length. All tracks disregard regular vers/chorus structures, and almost no sections are repeated twice during any track. So the tracks are long continuous journeys and quite complex in structure. They are not instantly catchy like some tracks on the predecessor, and require many spins before they settle, and even then they are quite hard to tell apart. In fact the whole album feels more like one long track divided into chapters/suites, than seperate tracks.

Stylistically we´re treated to an avant garde/progressive take on black/extreme metal, with quite expressive and paatos filled vocals in front (sometimes black metal raspy and other times howling and deranged). The whole thing comes off as a dark and twisted theater piece. The avant garde approach to singing occasionally sounds a bit constructed to me, and to my ears Aldrahn was a lot more convincing on "666 International (1999)".

"A Umbra Omega" is well produced, and the musicianship is also on a high level, so it´s a high quality release on most parameters. The long tracks with almost no reoccuring sections is an innovative and progressive move by Dødheimsgard, but it´ll probably divide the band´s listeners. Personally I´m a bit biased as I usually praise innovation and boldness in music, but on the other hand there´s little here which makes me feel like I´ve listened to an album that is on par with their two previous releases, and overall "A Umbra Omega" does feel like a step down for the band. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved, and if you´re able to appreciate the way the material is constructed that rating should probably be slightly higher.

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'A Umbra Omega' - Dodheimsgard (86/100)

I think it's difficult nowadays to appreciate just how far Dodheimsgard took black metal at the end of the 1990s. 666 International's bold push to twist the sound with industrial interference and jazz-based intuition did for black metal what Atheist's Unquestionable Presence did for its death metal counterpart several years prior. Of course, by the time we're at now, black metal is practically old enough as a genre to have settled down, possibly had kids, and otherwise aged enough to have seen each one of its potential permutations realized into some shape or form. When it's become relatively 'normal' to hear bands constantly pushing the boundaries, it's woefully easy to forget there was once a time things of an experimental nature were major risks to take in a scene that took pride in its own obscurity.

All things considered, Dodheimsgard's been pretty quiet in the years since they changed the game. Supervillain Outcast dropped eight years later in 2007, and it's now been seven years since that. The sheer rarity of their output makes A Umbra Omega feel that much more like a cherished event; there would be few other circumstances I'd be openly embrace a 70 minute metal album without reservations. The major waiting period makes it so that it would seem inappropriate to call this latest DHG opus a real follow-up to their past material; nonetheless, there were things I'd expect from any new work of theirs. No Dodheimsgard record could be complete without taunting the listener's sanity to some forsaken degree, and a consistent standard of musicianship far beyond the par of their contemporaries would be virtually a granted fact. To call A Umbra Omega DHG's finest album may be tempting exaggeration, but the fact that I want to go out and say that should be testament to the album's jaw-dropping creativity. I'll say this much for it: where on past albums not all of Dodheimsgard's experiments succeeded unanimously, A Umbra Omega is consistently dazzling the entire way through.

Though still unmistakably black metal, never has the line between that and the avant-garde felt so blurred with Dodheimsgard. Following the project's time silent, a renewed grasp of style abounds, and it may be easiest to loosely define what DHG are doing here as progressive extreme metal. Even the vocals-- provided here by Aldrahn from the band's heyday-- are conceivably alien to blackened norms. The screeching guitar parts are as atonal as ever, the drums laced with off-kilter jazz repertoire, and atop all of this Aldrahn delivers one of the most compelling and strange vocal performances I have heard on a metal record. His snarling, dissonant sprechgesang often resembles the maddening cadence of a carnival announcer. The instrumentation never lets up its pace to make way for the vocals, and I don't think a more traditional vocal performance would have held up against DHG's technical chops, for here they are punishing, mind-bending and unrelenting in their calculated depravity.

It's par for the course for an avant-garde metal band to throw every possible style and idea into the pot for an eclectic mess as part of their musical statement. Dodheimsgard aren't beyond these playfully unexpected detours, but what most distinguishes this from their past albums is the fact that they've managed to congeal it into something that sounds tight and coherent. You'll hear a lot of memorable one-shot passages throughout the album's hour-plus, but it never sounds like DHG are straying from the course. As to how the band have managed to get this impression across, I'm not completely sure. If I had to guess, I'd say they grasped a handful of the most insane and off-hand traits in their arsenal (the swirling riffs, jazzy drums and theatrical vocals among them) and had confidence enough in their core sound to carry it throughout the album's length.

That A Umbra Omega has such a strong center makes the said detours all the more engaging when they do happen. While the glitchy industrial intro "The Love Divine" is an obvious write-off in this regard, every following piece (averaging around the 12 minute mark) offers at least a few of these each, and they're almost all individually memorable. Of these, "Aphelion Void" offers up some of the best at the album's start, particularly a slow-building, electronics-based passage about 8 minutes into the piece. Arguably my favourite moment in the entirety of A Umbra Omega encompasses the last two minutes of "God Protocol Axiom", where a tense and otherwise atonal composition erupts into a beautifully heart-wrenching, actually melodic climax. Shortly after, of course, DHG are back to their standard tricks, and despite the album's length, their go-to techniques of controlled chaos and quasi-operatic pomp never lose their stopping power.

For an avant-garde album that hinges primarily on a single sound and madness-inducing tone, A Umbra Omega really does feel consistently engaging and fascinating. The album's length and its predilection for daunting track lengths doesn't make it such an easy listen even for the long-since initiated, but once I start listening to the album, it's tough to put down. I'm sure A Umbra Omega could have said just as much in less time, but considering we haven't heard anything from this legendary band in so long, I could never complain about DHG eating up more of a compact disc's space than most ever attempt. As always, A Umbra Omega isn't for the faint of heart, but then again, Dodheimsgard have only ever catered to an adventurous sort of listener. Even if it could never bear the historical gamechanging significance of 666 International, I'm not afraid to say this band has set a new standard for themselves with this one.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Dødheimsgard had offered up industrialised black metal on 666 International, went dark for a good number of years, and then re-emerged offering blackened industrial metal on Supervillain Outcast. Now, after another long break, the project has offered up A Umbra Omega, which sees Vicotnik and his new lineup taking Dødheimsgard back out of the industrial realm altogether to produce an album which retains a black metal foundation but gets extremely weird with it. With proggy synthesisers, jazzy brass sections, and a vocal performance from Aldrahn with a theatrical, eccentric delivery that puts me in mind of the sort of thing Devil Doll get up to, A Umbra Omega represents an avant-black puzzlebox which will reward patient listeners.

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