Dodheimsgard
Black Medium Current


5.0
classic

Review

by Gary STAFF
April 21st, 2023 | 190 replies


Release Date: 04/14/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An astonishing avant-garde metal record. An unforgettable experience.

Norway’s Dødheimsgard was formed in 1994, and they followed the typical second wave black metal style until their second album, Monumental Possession. However, a new chapter has opened in the band’s story in 1998 with the release of their wild and technical EP (Satanic Art), where the first signs of their extreme experimentalism were shown. But their ultimate breakthrough had to wait until the following year, when their (now cultic) trance-infused, madly complex and absolutely schizophrenic album, 666 International was released. Since then, they experimented with many styles and genres which could be fused with their signature avant-garde black metal formula. Just to name a few: technical thrash, industrial, progressive rock, jazz fusion were among those genres they dared to introduce to their sound. And now, arriving to the present time, the time has come for Dødheimsgard to blossom in the art of post-metal and clean singing in Black Medium Current.

Analyzing such a diverse album is not an easy task. Perhaps this can be attributed to the very nature of avant-garde music, which often may seem totally “random” how it fuses, adjusts and shapes different styles - however it’s important to note that believing that we’re not contemplating a cleverly improvised performance here. No. This is a carefully organized, excessively complex piece of art, which is very hard to categorize by concrete genre tags other than the loosely expositive ‘avant-garde’ term. But if we’d really want to force it into such definitions, then this is an interesting post-black metal album, spiced with numerous elements taken from electronic music, psychedelic- and post-rock, industrial, and sometimes even new-age and classical. (And more!) We have to face it: this approach isn’t sufficient enough to fully understand what is going on in this release. So let’s dig deeper!

Right in the beginning, ”Et smelter” perfectly paints the tone of the album. In this track,
languorous and melancholic acoustic guitars welcome the listener, and after all, the flow of these melodies and the accompanying ethereal synth tunes could penetrate through our flesh just to awaken something in our soul… and this pervasive feeling remains until the very end: in every note and word, the album extends this very emotional experience. Which probably reaches the pinnacle in ”Halow”, the most post-metal-esque track on the release, evoking really ambivalent feelings in the listener as it feels both uplifting and heavy at the same time.

I think it’s very impressive to see how they could write these very elusive terms into musical forms. My personal favourite moment in capturing this feeling can be heard in ”Tankespinnerens Smerte”. As the menacingly whirling slower riffs turn into surprisingly warm and upbeat melodies in the middle of this track are... very elegant, and phenomenal. So are the transitions between songs too, as each one “births a purpose” to the next one, and this phenomenon makes the album’s flow especially smooth. Like the aforementioned song ends with dark, freezing cold and evil riffages accompanied by Vicotnik’s odd chantings, and the following ”Interstellar Nexus” opens in a very similar fashion. This ‘style’ is very common throughout the album, and I believe the combination of such riffs and the amount of clean vocals is one of the most charming aspects of Black Medium Current. This might sound very strange on a first listen, however I felt it’s very easy to get used to these vocals, plus they don’t get repetitive. Certainly, the album doesn’t lack harsh vocals either, and even though they can be found in way smaller amounts, they are very well done too. These growls and howls often reminded me to the style of Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) and Aldrahn (the band’s previous singer) - or more like the combination of both, like what you can hear in the first part of ”Det Tomme Kalde Mørke”.

Let’s have a look at the album’s most ambitious and wild side as well. The best example for this examination is probably ”It Does Not Follow”. If this title can be read as a message too, then this can be interpreted as a “hint” for the fact that they did not follow any kind of schemas in this song. Indeed, this is the most schizophrenic track on the release. This song starts as a delightfully easy progressive/psychedelic rock jam, but later on turns into industrial experiments and dissonant black metal assaults, and the song’s metamorphosis reaches glitch electronics “levels” by the end. (Do you remember Ulver’s Lyckantropen Themes?) Fortunately, the record leaves the listener some time to have a bit of a rest after all this madness. So there is the album’s only interlude song, ”Voyager” which, very similarly to 666 International’s interlude sections, is centered around a romantic piano piece. Other than being a short refreshment, this song also serves as the “tool of minimalism”, showcasing Vicotnik and co.’s talent to transplant the previously painted emotional chaos and mysticism into a plain simple form as well. Speaking about minimalism, it’s interesting to mention the album’s closer song as well. In ”Requiem Aeternum” the eerie pianos along with the sentimental string instruments (and Vicotnik’s ghastly vocals) could capture a very depressing yet beauteous atmosphere and lets the album end in a cinematic and massively lethargic way. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything like this since one of Ulver’s masterpieces, Shadows Of The Sun...

The legendary avant-garde formation has returned after eight long years with a new release. (They sure like that eight year album cycle, eh? 2031 pre-orders, when?) Ever since they’ve stepped on the path of experimentalism, Dødheimsgard could always show something new (or even revolutionary) to the public in every single release… and Black Medium Current is no exception. In this phase of their musical metamorphism, they more or less took the “back to the roots” approach, since many classic black metal elements could rise to prominence here, not to mention the great impact of what the little “post” prefix could express. Spacey, emotional, refreshingly weird and very addicting. A flawless record.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
garas
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


8035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Now I have addiction problems thanks to this. Links: https://dodheimsgard.lnk.to/BMC

parksungjoon
April 21st 2023


47231 Comments


exciting news

Purpl3Spartan
April 21st 2023


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yuh

Chippe
April 21st 2023


406 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Now I have addiction problems thanks to this (2)

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

You’ve come a long way with your writing. It shines when you’re passionate. Great work Grumps.

parksungjoon
April 21st 2023


47231 Comments


agreed

Pikazilla
April 21st 2023


29724 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well done gazza

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2023


622 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album flows well

garas
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


8035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

> You’ve come a long way with your writing. It shines when you’re passionate. Great work Grumps.

Thank you very much!!



Ah, it feels so good that I could finish this writing relatively quickly. Amazing record. And I'm amazed by the average score too.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I had planned this for a casual Sunday listen, but that average has me thinking I'm missing out.





Proud of you Garas.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


5833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Excellent writing, garas! One thing - I believe it should be "thrash" instead of "trash" in the first paragraph

MarsKid
Emeritus
April 21st 2023


21030 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeees the review is here! Featured in my heart < 3

garas
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


8035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

< 3



Thanks Sunny, fixed it!

Zakusz
April 21st 2023


1528 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not really hating but I listened to this all the way through and it seems like pretty standard black metal with a bit extra here and there. Someone tell me something so I can snap out of it and not miss this record haha

MarsKid
Emeritus
April 21st 2023


21030 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

ZAK SNAP OUT OF IT

Chippe
April 21st 2023


406 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

... and a very good review, obviously. Avant-garde emo bm?

Chippe
April 21st 2023


406 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

First day with decent warmth this year. Sitting outdoors with decent speakers and a couple of beers. Fuck, would do almost anything to see them live atm

Wizard
April 21st 2023


20508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Man I really need to give this more time. I was bored with this.....

Muzz79
April 21st 2023


3040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just played first song and like this already. The vocals are at the front which suits it. A bit like Shining does

conesmoke
April 22nd 2023


7875 Comments


This didn't immediately grab me. I found it long and sparse



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