Dodheimsgard
A Umbra Omega

Norwegian Avant Garde Heavy Metal has been something of an evolution over the last twenty years.  In looking at Dodheimsgard’s 2015 release, A Umbra Omega we should first start with a trip back to 1996 and a double disc compilation called Blackened: The Black Metal Compilation.  Disc two of this compilation featured a song called,” The Carrier of Wounds” by group called Ved Buens Ende (Loosely translates into English as “By the End of The Bow).  The tie in to A Umbra Omega being that Vicotnik is the guitarist for both groups.  A Umbra Omega also marks the return of former front man Aldrahn who was last on there 1999 album 666 International.

A Umbra Omega starts off with a one-minute intro called, “The Love Divine”, which very much has a strange ambient/industrial vibe of 666 International or Supervillain Outcast but transitions into the second song, “The Aphelion Void”. “The Aphelion Void” starts off feeling very much along the lines of more traditional DHG ala Kronet til Konge with strong blast beat sections and anthemic Norwegian styled tremolo riffs. Vicotnik’s songwriting has never been stronger and it is very refreshing how guitar driven this album is even though there is a great deal of variety in instrumentation. It should also be noted that each song on this album is roughly ten to fifteen minutes long.

The 3rd track, “God Protocol Axiom” starts off with extremely strong blasting and tremolo riffs that transition into what I can only think to call an “Avant Garde” circle pit part with dissonant guitar lines and Aldrahn’s operatic and all over the place vocal patterns. Some might not care for Evil Deadish vocal harmonizer parts that are all over this record. There is not nearly the industrial feel on this album as there has been on the last few DHG releases.

Track 4, entitled, “The Unlocking” finally features more traditional grim vocals.  Most of the vocal arrangements so far on this record have been quite bizarre.  “The Unlocking” has some almost Fantomas like chorus parts.Vicotnik’s guitar work on is quite technical as far as the arrangements go and it makes for a very entertaining listen.

There is also great use of freeform jazz all over this record with saxophone parts prevalent on many of the tracks on this record.  Most of the acoustic work on this album is off the charts droning. As Dodheimsgard’s band name translates to “Realm of Death” so do the sound-scapes present on this album.

Some might struggle with Aldrahn’s vocal effects but I find they add to the overall eclectic soundscape that A Umbra Omega presents. This is definitely an album of the year candidate in my book.  I greatly prefer this to the new Arcturus record which is another review in it of itself. This is definitely an album to make time for and get lost in.  A Umbra Omega is definitely a continuation of what has already been a diverse discography of more traditional straight forward black metal to black thrash to black industrial and now here we are in 2015 with this gem of Kult Norwegian Ambience.

Dodheimsgard have continued to push the limits with their song arrangements and experimentation into different styles of music and I think that is a great strength of this record.  It does not get boring.  It sounds like all elements that band have presented before and also offers many new ideas guitar phrase and vocal pattern wise.

I would definitely recommend this album for fans of bands like Virus, Ved Buens Ende, Keep of Kalessin to name a few.  There is definitely elements on this album that will please both the traditional and the avant garde metal fan and encourage you to take a listen and to go back and check out DHG’s back catalog as to me they are one of the most diverse bands in the genre.  A Umbra Omega is an album of the year candidate for absolutely sure.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
May 29th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: jesuseater

    end of the “rainbow”


  2. Commented by: weedwhacker

    Dødheimsgard which is a conjunction of three words: Død which means death, Heim which means home and Gard which means mansion (at least in this context). A natural translation of Dødheimsgard into English would be “Mansion/house of Death” or “Realm of the Dead/Death.”


  3. Commented by: bast

    This one is going to be on rotation for a long period of time.


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