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DØDHEIMSGARD

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Norway


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Dødheimsgard biography
Though originally a seminal member of Norway's early black metal scene, Dødheimsgard (now known simply as DHG) have followed many of their contemporaries and evolved into something entirely different with the passing of time. Originally consisting of guitarist/vocalist Aldrahn, bassist Fenriz (best known as one half of infamous black metal figureheads Darkthrone) and drummer Vicotnik (also a member of Ved Buens Ende), the group's debut album Kronet Til Konge was released at the height of black metal's heyday in 1995 and is widely considered a classic of that genre. 1996's Monumental Posession saw Fenriz replaced by ex-Emperor bassist Jonas Alver as well as the inclusion of Aura Noir guitarist Apollyon, taking a step in the direction of death metal but remaining largely a straightforward extreme metal release.

A personnel overhaul which saw Vicotnik shift to guitar and Apollyon to drums, Alver replaced by Cerebrus on bass, Galder of Old Man's Child/Dimmu Borgir's inclusion as a secondary guitarist and Mr. Magic Logic (Svein Egil Hatlevik of Fleurety) joining as a keyboardist as well as providing electronic effects led to a radical shift in direction for the group. 1998's Satanic Art EP introduced far more prominent use of piano, a strong industrial undertone through the use of electronic beats, Aldrahn's black metal vocals shifting to a strange spoken/shouted style, the inclusion of a violin (!) on one track, and most importantly a tendancy towards schizophrenic, unpredictable song structures which shifted feverishly from idea to idea. Though Galder and Cerebrus would exit following this release (leaving Apollyon to shift to bass and Vicotnik's Ved Buens Ende bandmate Czral to take over on drums), the ensuing full-length album 666 International was very much in the same style, polarizing black metal fans and placing the band firmly into the territory of extremely avant-garde progressive metal.

Unfortunately, they would essentially vanish after this one release, the band members each pursuing their own seperate projects. In 2003 Vicotnik shortened the group's name to DHG and assembled an entirely new lineup featuring Code vocalist Mat McNerney, Paradigma guitarist Thrawn and bassist Clandestine (among others). A new album titled Supervillain Outcast is due for a September 2006 release.



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DØDHEIMSGARD discography


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DØDHEIMSGARD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.84 | 9 ratings
Kronet Til Konge
1995
2.93 | 9 ratings
Monumental Possession
1996
4.17 | 37 ratings
666 International
1999
4.30 | 36 ratings
Supervillain Outcast
2007
3.93 | 31 ratings
A Umbra Omega
2015

DØDHEIMSGARD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DØDHEIMSGARD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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DØDHEIMSGARD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 9 ratings
Satanic Art
1998

DØDHEIMSGARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Satanic Art by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
3.47 | 9 ratings

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Satanic Art
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars After two albums of fairly orthodox and good old fashioned second wave Norwegian black metal, DODHEIMSGARD started to get a lot more experimental and playful with their demented and devilish musical madness. Serving as a tradition of sort, they released an EP titled SATANIC ART in 1998, two years after their second album "Monumental Possession" and a year before their third "666 Internation." SATANIC ART finds the band at an interesting halfway point between their second wave black metal origins and their avant-industrial leanings that follow.

SATANIC ART finds not only another lineup change but a few guest musicians adding all kinds of interesting new elements to the band's new fangled black metal smorgasbord. This EP despite its short duration offers many transitions and not only musically. Svein Egil Hatlevik aka Mr. Dingy Sweet Talker Women Stalker (Fleurety) would debut as keyboardist and Galder (Dimmu Borgir, Old Man's Child) would pick up extra guitar duties but only on this one release. Cerberus replaced Jonas Alver on bass.

"Oneiroscope" introduces the new Dodheimsgard with a piano piece that sounds like demented carnival music in a minor chord or even a psycho-drama flick soundtrack piece with lots of murder scenes. While "Traces Of Reality" reverts into the super bombastic black metal of the past, it is punctuated by a "White Zombie-esque" sampling, eerie atmospheric keyboard effects and most surprisingly the guest musician Paganini virtuosity of guest violinist Stine Lunde. "Symptom" continues the black metal bombast but adds some underpinnings of industrial metal that would surface on "666 International." "The Paramount Empire" also sticks to black metal a la "Monumental Possesion" but with a more loosy-goosy construct. The Finale "Wrapped In Plastic" is another piano driven outro.

Although this EP originally only clocked in at just under sixteen minutes, it exhibited more diverse elements than the first two albums combined. SATANIC ART has been virtually unattainable in a physical format at a decent price for two decades but has found at last a much needed rerelease in 2018 on Peaceville and adds a couple bonus tracks ("Black Treasure" and "Symptom (Alternate)." SATANIC ART is like dipping into the pool of avant-garde possibilities where obviously DODHEIMSGARD got the experimental bug and never looked back. Good for them because this is where they got really interesting and put themselves on the map in the metal world. Despite only being a little EP, this one is a monumental moment in experimental extreme metal.

 Monumental Possession by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.93 | 9 ratings

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Monumental Possession
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator 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.

 Kronet Til Konge by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 1995
1.84 | 9 ratings

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Kronet Til Konge
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars DØDHEIMSGARD (Norweigian for "Realm Of Death" formed in 1994 in Oslo by Vicotnik (drums), Fenriz (bass) and Aldrahn (lead vocals, guitar). They were yet another band who jumped on the Darkthrone bandwagon of second wave black metal and should be commended for becoming perfect clones on their first album KRONET TIL KONGE ("Crowned To Be King.") All those early black metal traits are here in perfect replication. All the buzz saw guitars and tremolo picking, the shrieked unintelligible vocals and of course the lo-fi demo quality sound production peppered with all the anti-Christian Satanic lyrics (albeit mostly in Norweigian) about slaughtering God, winning the war and all the usual suspects.

While DØDHEIMSGARD would evolve fairly quickly even as soon as their second release "Monumental Possession" which would find them finding their own creative stamp on black metal before they would really delve into the avant-garde and industrial worlds, KRONET TIL KONGE is so generic it hurts after coming to this last after their original and creative run of "Satanic Art" to "A Umbra Omega." In fact if you placed any of these tracks on the first few Darkthrone albums no one would know the difference except for a slightly different sound of the vocals. The song structures are nearly identical as is the overall bleak atmospheric din.

There is nothing really bad about KRONET TIL KONGE either. It's as good as any other standard second wave black metal release of the era, but with a band as original as DØDHEIMSGARD it comes across as woefully substandard and even though i am a huge fans of this band i have skipped this one until i found the 2015 remastered version used in mint condition and took a chance. While i'm happy i have tasted this early roots era of DØDHEIMSGARD, i very much doubt if i'll be throwing this on for listening pleasure. Average and for completists only.

2.5 rounded down

 Supervillain Outcast by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.30 | 36 ratings

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Supervillain Outcast
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Four full albums in from beginning as a rather ordinary second wave black metal outfit and DØDHEIMSGARD perfected their blackened industrial avant-garde metal sound on SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST which was introduced on their EP "Satanic Art" and further developed on "666 International." Many changes took place since the last album with the most obvious being that the band shortened their name to DHG and a huge lineup change left almost a completely new band with the only founding member Vicotnik left on his guitar, samples and programming duties. Vocalist Aldrahn left the band and was replaced by Kvohst. The bass baton was passed from Apollyon to Clandestine and Mr Magic Logic's keyboards were dismissed while the other members picked up different secondary instrumental duties. Czral went from official percussionist to the unofficial "additional personnel." With all this dystopia rocking the band's world i would expect the music to sound completely different but despite it all, the music sounds exactly like the next logical step of development in the avant-garde musical world that DØDHEIMSGARD had been leading up to. Only this one is done right. Perfectly so.

SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST begins with a short intro that makes me think of Chinese music from the 30s or something with the instrumental "Dushman" but violently bursts into black metal fury on "Vendatta Assassin" for a few measures with progressive touches of time signature freak outs and then jumps into the heavily caffeinated industrial metal sound with heavy bass and drums leading the fury and the guitars adding jittery licks at hyper speed all the while Kvohst delivers shouted vocals that are somewhat blackened but he also mixes up his vox box with death growls and whispered industrial sounding utterings. Generally speaking many of the tracks are garnished with heavy black metal riffing that alternate with industrial metal types of power chord riffing while ambient keyboards create eerie howling in the background with heavy percussive blastbeats dominating the rhythmic section and a hyperactive bass interaction to match. There is much attention paid to sound effects and electronic noises and textures to add a whole other dimension behind the metal sounds. Vocals vary quite a bit when not in extreme metal mode. There are several passages with chanting and clean vocals that steer the music into progressive metal territory.

In addition to the majority of hyper-extreme tracks there are a few that stand out from the general feel of the album. "Secret Identity" is a short a cappella track that sounds like monks chanting in some far away monastery and like many of the metal tracks has a slight trace of dissonance. The following "The Vile Delinquents" is full-on industrial metal with choppy industrial riffs and heavy electronica sound effects before erupting into more heavy guitar riffing. "Apocalypticism" sound more alternative metal and reminds me a lot of the track "Caffeine" from Faith No More's "Angel Dust" especially in the vocal phrasing department but also has a cool guitar tone and techno like percussion. "Chrome Balaclava" is another a cappella track with several voices harmonizing wordless utterings while an intermittent shaky thing adds a little percussion. "All Is Not Self" is probably the most out-of-place sounding track on SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST. This one sounds like a big beat techno track with vocals that reminds me of Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs! The electro-beat is heavy with background vocals providing ghostly haunting sounds. The fury returns on the next track and then another a cappella type shorty with "Cellar Door."

SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST is an outstanding album for many reasons. Firstly it is the pinnacle of the avant-garde industrial black metal sound that DØDHEIMSGARD had been perfecting and all the new musicians pull if off beautifully. Secondly the production is also perfect as every little sound is allowed space to be heard and the instruments have their own role within a larger context that create a complete band sound. Another successful strategy is the focus on the extreme avant-garde metal with little serene fillers that punctuate the frenetic nature of the album and to top it off the compositions are just perfectly catchy with super aggressive hooks and electronic embellishments to add layers of counterpoint creating a mesmerizing contrast with the dominant guitar riff focus. The black metal is perfectly balanced with the industrial and the avant-garde is used as a supplement instead of getting into territory too strange for the uninitiated listener. Personally this is one of those albums that made a huge impact the first time i ever heard it and still holds up after many listens. What could you call this? I'm not sure but think Ulver's first album mixed with some Ministry and maybe even some Prodigy and you're getting close.

 A Umbra Omega by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 31 ratings

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A Umbra Omega
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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.
 666 International by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.17 | 37 ratings

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666 International
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars For my 666th review! Sorry Aphrodite's Child :)

This is where things really got weird for DØDHEIMSGARD. After two second wave black metal by the numbers albums they shifted gears and released their transitional EP "Satanic Art" which still found the band firmly in black metal territory but also added the additional elements of industrial metal which signaled an abrupt change in their sound within the ever growing newbies in the second wave black metal cult. The risk paid off and it proved to be a sound that not only set them apart from the pack but packed a punch of industrial black metal fury. On 666 INTERNATIONAL the band continued this newly discovered niche and developed it even further. Other black metal bands had sampled with industrial and electronica such as Ulver who would go this route as well but abandoned the black metal aspects altogether in favor of the sonic possibilities of synthesized sounds. Also on board was fellow Norwegians Arcturus who developed their own style of space metal but it was DØDHEIMSGARD that kept the adrenaline, punk attitude and ferocity of the second wave of black metal in tact.

The album begins innocently enough with a piano tinkling away but after a mere second becomes accompanied by blastbeats and guitar riff fury for a few measures and then totally changes into a Nine Inch Nails industrial rock sound soon to be joined by Aldrahn's clean Skinny Puppy type vocals. The electro rock style plays on for a while and it becomes easy to forget that this is a metal album at all until about seven minutes in when the black metal kicks back in only instead of blastbeats we get some simple industrial drumbeats and background vocal "hoys" that remind me of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap." Such is the sound of the new DØDHEIMSGARD, a veritable smorgasbord of electro rock, industrial metal and still enough black metal on board to please any of the skeptics. As the album giddily trots in the avant-garde pastures there are many other styles that make their way into the mix. While the main percussive gist falls into the industrial metal realm with black metal blastbeats interpolating themselves sporadically and intermittently, it is the black metal that dominates the guitars and bass but they often drop out all together and are replaced by softer dreamier jangled passages as well seemingly in battle with industrial electronica and

The album is generally very frantic but there are also totally out of place instrumentals that add contrasting styles to the mix. "Carpet Bombing" is simply a jazz piano piece that instils a spooky vibe with slightly dissonant notes slowly lulling the listener into a sudden serene state before "Regno Potiti" jumps back into black industrial franticness once again followed by the similar "Final Conquest." Next up another piano ballad with "Logic." Not jazzy but more classical lasting a mere minute before "Sonar Bliss" ferociously bombards the senses with full jangly dissonant black metal riffs and speed-of-light blastbeat percussion. After dominance is well established it seems to have a break down of style and become some oddly timed progressive industrial workout with jangly arpeggios churning out strange time signatures, angular rhythms and tempo freak outs. There are periodic passages where the keyboard dominates with wild and innovative timbres that add a whole new layer to the avant-garde feel of 666 INTERNATIONAL.

While the theme is purported to be of science fiction, i can't really find any rhyme or reason to the whole thing. This is a true trip down the avant-garde rabbit hole which could possibly be the soundtrack for a Salvador Dalí painting as random sounds callathump rhythmically ahead taking turns bleating out their unexpected matchings of percussion, distortions and vocal styles. I would probably characterize 666 INTERNATIONAL more in the industrial metal field than black at this point. There is a lot of attention paid to an industrial feel even when black metal bursts on to the scene. Aldrahn's vocals remind me most of Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy whose tortured painful screams of anguish punctuate the cacophonous din and electronically imbued atmosphere. Overall, this is one weird album but a kind of weird that i love! Personally i prefer the following "Supervillain Outcast" because of the better bringing to order of all of the elements but 666 INTERNATIONAL is still one sick wild ride! I dig the entire scene with the exception of the lame use of silent tracks at the end. Tracks 10 through 65 are pure silence averaging about ten seconds each and then at track 66 we get a rather unnecessary and uninteresting bonus track followed by a psytrance beat with blackened Skinny Puppy type vocals. End the album at track 9 and all is good.

 A Umbra Omega by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 31 ratings

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A Umbra Omega
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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.

 A Umbra Omega by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 31 ratings

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A Umbra Omega
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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.

 Supervillain Outcast by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.30 | 36 ratings

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Supervillain Outcast
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Dødheimsgard advance the experiments in crossing over industrial metal and black metal they began on 666 International on Supervillain Outcast, an album on the other side of the balance. Whereas 666 International felt like industrialised black metal - in the sense that it had a black metal base with industrial influences - Supervillain Outcast feels to me more like blackened industrial metal, in that it has an industrial metal base and black metal influences.

At points, the band bring in a more accessible, even poppier sound, but they manage to make this work brilliantly - the album's more commercial moments sound like Marilyn Manson would sound had his voice not deteriorated and had he retained his grasp of the zeitgeist rather than sidelining himself into increasing irrelevance.

 Supervillain Outcast by DØDHEIMSGARD album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.30 | 36 ratings

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Supervillain Outcast
Dødheimsgard Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars 3.5 I say.

I was very interested to hear Dodheimsgard. Originally, I've heard of their existence through Czral's blog (Czral is the guitarist/vocalist of Virus, and plays drums in Dodheimsgard.). As I read about them, it sounded like the story of many of today's avant-garde black metal bands. Started out as a fairly traditional sounding black metal band, and have dramatically changed their sound as time went by into a more unorthodox matter. With Dodheimsgard (which means "mansion of death" in Norwegian- very kvlt), it was the inclusion of electronics and the somewhat industrial flavor of the music which has divided Dodheimsgard sound from the others.

And indeed, DHG (short for Dodheimsgard) don't really sound like any other band. While the electronic effect isn't the most dominant in the album, it is usually constituted in the background and fills up the empty pockets of sound which are left by the surprisingly crunchy and precise guitar distortion. These guitars are what make this album rather industrial-metal-sounding. It's a little off putting at first. To be honest I wasn't a fan of the guitar's sound in the beginning, but once you sort of understand their grand scheme in the album, and their ability to mesh with the electronics, you learn to appreciate their purpose and enjoy their presence. This isn't your typical black metal. It is undoubtedly an attempt to tackle the genre- which all of the musicians in the band are long time participants of. The traces of black metal are definitely obvious, particularly in Czral's massive blast beats (this is before the tragic fall which has unfortunately left Czral without the ability to use his legs. Yes a bit of a Robert Wyatt story I agree), and moreover, Kvohst's banshee vocals, along with screams and croons, which I'm a big fan of (It is his vocals in Code's "Resplendent Grotesque" which make that album one of my favorite black metal albums).

The sound elements are rather important in making this album interesting, because the songwriting here can be a bit of a mixed bag for me. While most songs here are good, many are great, some can be a bit dull and there's one that in my eyes falls a bit flat. There's a good amount of variety in the album, and so at least it's almost always interesting, but at times the songwriting is a bit too... for lack of a better word, normal. A bit of a verse-chorus- verse affair at times, unfortunately. This works fine when there's a good balance of electronics with the music. The trouble is that there are a few songs where I'd wish there'd be more electronics, more to chew on. More essence. This is felt particularly in a song like "Apocalypticism". It is a rather, straightforward affair. It is on OK song, but even when the elements of electronics come in, they aren't enough to make the song really grab my attention.

One of the stronger elements of the album, though, are the excellent a-capella interludes. These short affairs are beautifully arranged and layered Gregorian sounding ditties. You can hear Kvohst's excellent croon hear and it is delightful and these interludes serve as nice breaks in between the constant metal going around. Not to say that most of the metal isn't enjoyable, because most of it is crushingly intense, and usually there is enough going on to get make you concentrate on the muzak. Songs like "Vendetta Assassin", and "Ghostforce Soul Constrictor" are loud, precise, and powerful examples of what this group can do at their best. They are songs that present the successful merge of intense, extreme metal, with electronic music, and all around this works great.

I can't say I loved it all, but at its best, "Supervillain Outcast" showed a very promising vision of what DHG's future albums might incorporate. While the songwriting needs some work, these guys show enough creativity and integrity to make this album worthwhile, but it's still a bit of a disappointment. I look forward for future releases, in hope DHG will get a better balance of the elements that make them a very interesting project.

Thanks to Bryan for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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