Dodheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (2015, Peaceville Records)
In the early to mid 1990’s a bunch of Norwegian musicians were a part of the rise of the second wave of black metal, one of the most infamous genre in music history. Of this bunch many disappeared after a few years but those who stayed were representing the true spirit of the genre (Mayhem, Emperor, DarkThrone) or they managed to take the visibility and noise to raise to bigger aspirations (Ulver, Arcturus) but few managed to be cult or kvlt and evolve as avant-garde musicians.
Dodheimsgard with their first two albums playing straight up black metal later explored industrial music and now a sort of avant-garde, jazzy, black metal. Playing on different fields with great talent and no compromise of vocals variations, multi instruments that are not from the purest tradition of black metal.
So far, in 2015 no record has been as challenging and as ambitious as A Umbra Omega. It plays as if someone was taking a condensed class of contemporary music and bring it into a food mixer and then patch it back together while on heavy drugs. At times it is a disparate patchwork of music textures, feelings, and conventions. In A Umbra Omega there are no conventions and as progressive and ground breaking as Ved Buens Ende was in the late 1990’s, Dodheimsgard elevates the bar to infinity. Except from Ihsahn’s Eremita on some level, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an album as complete, beautiful in its ugliness, and formidable.
Surprisingly as it can be, I am not a huge fan of avant-garde artists and I am eager to check them but without any preconceptions. A Umbra Omega is a true revelation to me just as Old Man’s Gloom’s dual album The Ape of God was one to me last year.