Despite what many conservative fans may argue, as a general rule Black Metal has an ethos that heralds unbridled evolution and progression, harking back to its primary roots and the uniqueness of the original bands that put it on the map. In recent years we have seen just how varied, bold and downright madcap Black Metal bands can be when it comes to pushing, and even downright shattering, genre constraints through the likes of Deathspell Omega and Ihsahn.
While not yet sharing the limelight with such luminaries, Dutch mentalists Dodecahedron certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers when it comes to creativity and vision, and have more than enough character to stand out from the crowd as evidenced by Kwintessens (Season Of Mist). With a mechanical atmosphere and visions of futuristic industry, this new release brings to mind the unsettling precision of Leprous as much as it does the white-hot fury and feral dynamics of the likes of DsO. With SciFi-esque atmospherics and matched technicality, Kwintessens manages to veer between a sense of expansiveness and the claustrophobic throughout, giving an experience which is daunting yet entirely compelling.
The songwriting perfectly encapsulates that tone; masterful and ranging from blistering pace and technicality on the likes of ‘Tetrahedron – The Culling Of The Unwanted From The Earth’ to the closing ‘Icosahedron – The Death Of Your Body’ with its menacing and harrowing crawl. Scattershot moments and very sudden transitions only intensify tensions and prove more focused than perhaps expected.
In this wonderful hotbed of heightened boldness and dynamism in Extreme Metal as of late, Kwintessens only serves to showcase that Dodecahedron deserve to be in the top contenders’ bracket. With awareness of mood clashing with a frenetic structuring that proves abrasive, but not unrewarding, this is a masterful example of the so-called mould of black metal being smashed even further beyond recognition. An impressive effort which only adds more feverish excitement as to what and where this band can go next.