Dodheimsgard
Black Medium Current


4.0
excellent

Review

by owl beanie EMERITUS
April 20th, 2023 | 17 replies


Release Date: 04/14/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: the looks on their faces :S :| :)

the really funny thing about black metal like this is that i cannot shake the notion that these musicians, talented and abounds with artistry as they are, usually come off as tourists playing dilettante in the realms of folk and shoegaze and glitch and whatnot. i'm sure it's not intentional, just as i'm sure dodheimsgard (whoever they are. i don't really care) spare little thought for membership-identifying labels evoking in-groups spoken into existence by some button-up shirt, fantano boot-licking, craft beer-drinking discourse losers. what i love is the lack of general awareness in music like this. languid chamber folk introduction to the album? sure! butt-rock solo at the end of a ten minute opening hymnal? obviously; pepper some laser-beam ass synths in there while you're at it. but lower the pitchforks and douse the fire in your belly, reader -- what i mean by "lack of general awareness" in this context is that it feels less like ignorance of what makes our cultural tastemakers tick, and more like the band (or is it just some guy? again, doesn't matter) have dialled in to this milieu just to transcend its usual critiques of corniness and pretentiousness by way of unironic love for contemporary black metal pastiche.

i work at a live music venue geared usually towards indie rock and chart-ready electronic music, but on the weekend we hosted a local metal festival that ran for twelve hours. twenty-five bands played. this is all perfectly standard, but (and this is crucial) i work with a coterie of 19-21 year old girls whose only exposure to black metal is the subconscious endorsement of its aesthetic through wearing those parodic phoebe bridgers t-shirts. at a few intermissions where the bar was quiet some of us ventured over to the band room to watch the music and for the most part the looks on a couple of my coworkers' faces were unequivocally grimace-like, eyes instinctively crumpled up in disgust, crow's feet so large they almost reached the ears. the only time this wasn't the case was when a band would break from the incessant blast-beats and heel-turn into an ambient interval where the keys would ring out like a funeral dirge and the shrieks would give way to something approximating a croon. curiously those expressions which were previously all screwed up melted into latent forms of curiosity and genuine intrigue. it looked like they were almost starting to retroactively understand the appeal of this music; as though by latching onto a sound palette that made sense to them, they had found the tools necessary to empathise with this oddball crowd of battle jackets tightly wrapped around hunched backs.

black medium current is this idea writ large over an hour. the pacing of this record is such that those little sojourns into that which is decidedly un-church-burny come at times where the ever-ascending tremolo runs begin to sound like they're about to fly off the neck of the guitar and into the realm of cliche. i was about to go to sleep when interstellar nexus switched soundscapes from gothic to The Future Sound of London. i was rendered doubly awake when the bluesy guitar lick of it does not follow sauntered in thereafter. dodheimsgard seem to have this innate talent for slyly winking at the often-derided insular nature of black metal -- simultaneously revelling in the genre's outsider status while providing a damn convincing counter-argument against its inevitability.

which isn't to say that black medium current doesn't boast some bona-fide m/ moments. det tomme kalde marke made my chest hurt with it for a full seven and a half minutes, even as the choir mustered up the bravery to sing through its languid, tip-tiptoeing second half.

this one is fascinating. its for storytellers and such, the natural apex point of a journey that started with a handful of cloistered nomads telling ghost stories around a campfire crackling, sending embers spiralling into the thick black quilt of night-time. but its for the girlies too, the ones brave enough to shot tequila without lime or salt. its for the insomniac boys who have twenty-plus tabs open at all times, who will fall asleep listening to Tim Hecker one night and fall asleep listening to White Ward the next. most of them will never dig far enough to find it, which is a shame, but i guess such is the nature of the underground in all its untraversable vastness. it makes me yearn for more efficient lines of communication between the mainstream and the fractals of its shadowy counterpart and it makes me sorry for all the potential audiences that will never -- by curse of the interminable bigness of this cultural landscape -- feel the excitement of letting disgust turn to curiosity turn to admiration. being conscious and aware as the small transformative processes of the brain take place. i guess i'm the real tourist here



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user ratings (271)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Gary STAFF (5)
An astonishing avant-garde metal record. An unforgettable experience....



Comments:Add a Comment 
parksungjoon
April 20th 2023


47235 Comments


verdant livez band gud

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


5964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Killer read, gonna check this album today

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


60864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

excited to hear this



>what i mean by "lack of general awareness" in this context is that it feels less like ignorance of what makes our cultural tastemakers tick



>its for the insomniac boys who have twenty-plus tabs open at all times, who will fall asleep listening to Tim Hecker one night and fall asleep listening to White Ward the next



nice review, but i find it a little queasy to see you hail this album as being destined catnip for exactly the same demographic you claim it's so great for ignoring. neither of those claims strike me as individually suspect, but i def feel a dissonance between the ways you tout them and think you'd have benefitted from an unpacking there maybe hm

verdant
Emeritus
April 20th 2023


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmm i get u. i was actually talking about myself in that second quote so im talking about two different demos (i hope lol) but i can see that wasn't quite clear enough. will have a looksie over when i wake up. it's very late. thanks johnny

parksungjoon
April 20th 2023


47235 Comments


weird words considering this album most likely (jhavent heard it yet) belongs to a lineage of avant bm that started in the 90s (and dodheimsgard themselves helped prop up)

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


10267 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pos



are you and park the same person you referencing the future sound of london just after he reviews future sound of london suspicious hmmmmm

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


10763 Comments


Excellent, excellent review, you have aptly describe why, after listening to the album, I'm not a fan of the sound therein.

Review should be featured.


PS: It's funny that the review momentarily entertains the possibility of Dodheimsgard being a one-man band, because in a way it is. Vikotnik is the sole band member from the current lineup, that’s been part of every Dodheimsgard release.




@Chippe

Thanks for your post as well, not a fan of Sideshow Symphonies either, admittedly the weakest of Arcturus albums so far.

Chippe
April 20th 2023


411 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sorry, too tired to read the review. The album is the most addictive thing i've encountered for some time. A great mix of ugliness, beauty, adventure and fun. A very relaxing ride from start to finish. I believe this will be the more stunning and interesting sister of sideshow symphonies by arcturus

parksungjoon
April 20th 2023


47235 Comments


nah asleep i could never write this good, but i dont think i could approach a review with the same mindset either

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


5964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Just finished my first listen and this album is killer. Fascinatingly manages to feel like both avant-garde-ish and unusually accessible by black metal standards at the same time.

someone
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2023


6712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i am not as in love with this as i'd've hoped, but i'm still enjoying. grower for sure

Sevengill
April 20th 2023


12166 Comments


this review was a joy to read.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


32053 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Jack is back, fighting caps, one at a time ;)



Love your work my man, it feels good to read you again.



The album is a trip.

SteakByrnes
April 21st 2023


29988 Comments


hello jack :]

Purpl3Spartan
April 21st 2023


8694 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review fam

ReefaJones
April 21st 2023


3688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

bleh

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


18258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

That's a real average. I'm behind on my black metal wanderings this year.



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