After a completely mad and twisted A Umbra Omega, Dødheimsgard emerges from the shadows with an album of unprecedented melancholy. The black sheep of Norwegian black metal has now released four albums exactly eight years apart, in an almost prophetic calendar sequence!
The years make us forget the subversion of which Vicotnik and his colleagues are capable. While we might have expected an onslaught of dissonant riffs and dizzying blast beats, from the very first notes we’re treated instead to melodic passages much more traditional for the genre. Later on, however, the album indulges in a highly uninhibited stylistic exercise, shifting from 1980s funk to doom metal. Synthesizers are used in profusion, as is Vicotnik’s clear voice. The latter has never sung so much in a Dødheimsgard album, taking over from Aldrahn who had accustomed us to uncontrollable madness on the previous opus.
Structurally, the different moments of the pieces seem to be more the result of juxtapositions than of tasty transitions. At least, that’s the first impression one gets of Tankespinnerens smerte, in which a surge of intensity culminates in an abrupt change of musical material and atmosphere. Clumsiness or genius? Although this moment is perplexing from the outset, a closer listen reveals that the harmonic elements of this fishtail return with elegance in the finale. The listener is plunged into a similar bafflement throughout Black Medium Current.
One thing is certain, the album amply justifies its length (70 min). The compositions are sculpted down to the smallest detail, and the experimentation is evident in the creative mixing and layering of sound. Less extreme than in the past, Dødheimsgard nevertheless continues to thwart expectations and expand the scope of its unique vision.