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Dødheimsgard - 666 International CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 38 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars '666 International' - Dodheimsgard (7/10)

With their third album, the Norwegian black metal outfit Dodheimsgard vastly changed up their sound. Dabbling with experimentation on the 'Satanic Art' EP, the stage was set for the band to achieve a very distinct sound; one that would merge industrial music and orthodox black metal in a style that had never been heard before. In this case, '666 International' is certainly a historically relevant album in the development of black metal, but as a musical listening experience, it can be a bit of a bumpy ride. Now over a decade old, Dodheimsgard's work here still sounds as bizarre as it ever has, but as befalls most pioneers, their experimentation isn't a complete success all the way through. No matter though, because for what its worth, what does work for the band is absolutely incredible.

'Ion Storm' is a fine example of what '666 International' is about; entering with a shout, an industrial beat, and about as generic of a black metal riff as they come. Hearing black metal paired with other, seemingly alien sounds is a bit jarring at first, but by the end of the first track, there is a feeling that it is certainly more than a gimmick, although multiple listens are required for it to really sink in. This grand experiment between the harsh percussion of industrial music and black metal is broken up by a couple of jazzy piano pieces, which ironically turn out to be the best composed pieces of work on the whole album. While I am no stranger or detractor to metal or experimental metal, Dodheimsgard's piano pieces are so well done and beautifully arranged, that they are more enjoyable to listen to than the somewhat mixed impression that the avant-garde aspect gives. 'Carpet Bombing' is about as beautiful as jazz piano gets, and I would love to hear an entire album that sounds just like that.

Dodheimsgard's heavy aspects isn't as simple as merely pairing industrial and black metal; there are nuances here that really help the somewhat lacking flow. The band works some magic by throwing in Opeth-esque mellow breakdowns and sometimes even danceable electronica right next to crushing black metal riffs. The contrast is- once again- rather disconcerting for a first timer, but it is indeed excellent. The avant-garde parts sometimes use some electronic aspects that feel a little out of place (even taking to heart the experimental nature) but the only real weakness here are the vocals, which are often layered with strange phaser effects and mixed far too highly in the record. This can lead to the flimsy sprechzegang performance becoming irritating, especially due to the fact that it is almost working against the really interesting instrumental aspect of the album.

'666 International' must still be lauded for its great ambition, although it cannot be said that all of the aspects that Dodheimsgard works with here work entirely well. All the same, a very refreshing album, especially when put into its context.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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