Blastfest 2016: Part 2, Live at the Garage, Bergen NO

blastfest2016-flyer ghostcultmag

 

Day three of Blastfest saw a lot of people starting to look slightly more tired, which made sense knowing that some of the many foreigners started partying 3-4 days earlier upon arrival in Bergen, and some of them brought enormous amounts of duty free liquids.

blastfest 2016 Jarle H. Moe JHM_7864-XL

Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

What was more fitting than starting the auditory pleasures with Funeral? They were originally one of the very first funeral doom bands around, and by Norwegian standards they are a somewhat strange occurrence seeing as Norway isn’t exactly renowned for its abundance of doom metal acts. Unlike some of the most extreme bands, Funeral seemed to fit the intimate Studio stage perfectly, in terms of how the room seem to resonate well with the slow doomy bands, just as it has done before with Swallow The Sun and last year with Saturnus. The set flowed seamlessly through songs like ‘This barren Skin’, ‘Vagrant God’, and ‘The Will To Die’. Strangely enough, considering the gloomy atmosphere of both music and lyrics, the band really seemed to enjoy themselves. Although they only got to perform a quite short set due to the time limitations, they managed to put on one of the best performances of the festival.

 Djevil, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Djevil, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Djevel delivered a slab of straight-forward bleak black metal. Sadly, as with some of the other bands playing the Studio stage, the sound production sounded a bit off. Although with such an unbalanced and harsh production it ironically fitted both the approach the band has to black metal and their stage performance. As much as the band has a few scene stalwarts in their ranks, it might very well be Erlend Hjelvik of Kvelertak that makes the strongest impression. It’s not just that he delivers a good vocal performance, but just as much the fact that he is usually seen on far bigger stages fronting Kvelertak, making this all the more exotic.

 

I remember seeing Arcturus twice about ten years back, and I wrote them off as a live ensemble. It was just chaotic, and the songs that sounded amazing on record were lost in second-rate live performances, a lot of theatrics, and awful sound productions. Seeing them live from Maryland Deathfest was an eye-opener. Could they actually pull it off these days? Well, the answer, as given at Blastfest, was a clear and resounding yes!. Except ICS Vortex sitting while performing vocals on some of the tracks it was a band showcasing their musicianship fully, and playing a selection of songs spanning their entire career. All the way from ‘To Thou Who Dwellest In The Night’, via Master of Disguise, to ‘Arcturian Sign’ this was a remarkably good performance from the all-star cast.

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1349, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

1349 has been drummer Frost’s more extreme black metal outlet, and despite some later albums not living up to the standards set by their 2005 release Hellfire, the band continues to be relentless in a live setting. And so they were at Blastfest. Set opener was none other than ‘I Am Abomination’, and it was succeeded by none other than the brilliant two songs ‘Nathicana’, and ‘Sculptor of Flesh’, all off of the aforementioned Hellfire album. Until the very closing number ‘Cauldron’ the band were simply amazing, providing the proper Norwegian black metal alibi of the evening.

 Ihsahn, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Ihsahn, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Ihsahn seems like somewhat strange headliner material. Or, at least if you consider the fact that he was part of Emperor, but that his solo project seems somewhat in that band’s very shadow. Not that there are that many similarities except both bands being extreme metal and with Ihsahn’s characteristic voice spearheading them. As far as musicianship goes it’s stellar stuff, but in terms of musical expression. Well, it seemed like half the audience really enjoyed, me probably being amongst those who think it best to let prog be prog and metal be metal, being more fond of the 70s when it comes to the progressive side of things.

 Einherjer, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Einherjer, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Einherjer are purveyors of the craft known as viking metal. Unlike most folk-/viking metal acts of latter years they are not overly jolly, and neither are they sporting costumes more fit for role play. They are about the music, and the viking image is mostly channeled through the lyrics and artwork, not through helmets and horns – noting that viking helmets didn’t actually historically have any horns. With last year’s well-crafted ‘Av Oss, For Oss’ in their belts they delivered a stunning set of just as many old songs as new ones. Einherjer is also one of the bands that have recorded in the now defunct yet infamous Grieghallen studio, and introduced their song ‘Dragons Of The North”\’ by mentioning that very fact.

Sahg never ceases to amaze. What an incredible live band! And not just are they an incredible live band, but their song material is of the kind that leaves whoever lends them an ear with a newfound favourite. The Sardinen stage downstairs main venue was pretty packed for this show, and as mentioned, it’s easy to see why considering their performance.

The contrast was huge to what was going on as Red Harvest took to the main stage for a reunion show. The industrial extreme metallers … Well, where black metal has this little hopeful spark to it, Red Harvest is a descent into a hopeless dark abyss. There’s no light, there’s no hope, it’s mechanistic, it’s industrial. It’s truly as their song ‘Cold Dark Matter’. Except some small things to complain about in terms of sound production, their set was one that made me simply want to catch them again as soon as possible. 

 Green Carnation, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Green Carnation, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Green Carnation disbanded at some point in 2007, leaving Tchort as the band’s sole member. Their return as a unified whole would be marked by their appearance at Blastfest 2016, and what a grand return it was. Ancient has been around since the early 90’s, but hasn’t played in their hometown of Bergen for something like 20 years. This time around mainman Aphazel, now residing in Southern Europe, brought none other than Nicholas Barker of Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir fame on drums. Little did that help the fact that their sound was way too loud, and so dense that it was difficult to hear those good riffs. As for the guitar solos, they completely drowned in all the rest that was going on. A wall of guitar noise, drums, and vocals, an unpenetrable wall. Sadly this ruined what could have been a most memorable experience. For their closing act they invited local sticksman Kjetil Grønvigh to play “Lilith’s Embrace” together with them, as he was the original drummer on the 1996 recording nothing seemed more fitting as a celebration of that very era, the one when Ancient was most relevant in the scene.

 Abbath, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Abbath, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Abbath shouldn’t be in need of much of an introduction, not after fronting Immortal for two decades. However, this was his first show on home turf where he flew under the new moniker. With his larger-than-life on-stage persona he and his minions presented us with a set covering most of his career. There was some Immortal songs, some songs from the I record, and of course songs from the newly released Abbath album. The audience seemed ecstatic, and especially so as the band played the hits from Immortal’s Sons Of Northern Darkness; ‘Tyrants’ and ‘One By One’. With a show like this comes the usual theatrics, and if there’s one thing Abbath knows it’s how to keep an audience engaged throughout a concert. There’s never a dull moment. So once again he delivered a great show, with good sound, a great performance, and he and his comrades put a worthy end to four days of metal bliss in the lovely and scenic Bergen. And as this is being written the bands for the 2017 edition are already being booked. See you all next year!

 Abbath, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Abbath, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

 Abbath, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Abbath, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

BLASTFEST 2016 REVIEW PART I

 

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WORDS BY PAL LYSTRUP

PHOTOS BY JARL H. MOE

 

Blastfest 2016: Part 1, Live at the Garage, Bergen NO

 

blastfest2016-flyer ghostcultmag

The third year of Blastfest was to be something of a special one. Where the two first years had been about metal in a global perspective, this edition of the festival was to be one with the sole focus being the Norwegian metal scene. By that was meant that the entire festival consisted solely of bands from Norway. The audience on the other hand hailed from all around, with more than forty countries in attendance.

 The crowd at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

The crowd at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Before moving on to the main venue for the three main festival days, there was a kick-off day. The infamous rock club Garage was were things started off, a 350 capacity club venue closer to the center of town. With such a small total capacity the club makes for a much more intimate experience, and needless to say, it was also sold out a long time in advance. This third year also seemed to be a turning point in that sense, the economical one. Most of the festival tickets had been sold out and in good time before the festival. It actually went so well that the 2017 edition was secured long before the 2016 edition got off the ground, and is currently already being booked.

Hadens were the local youngsters to get the festival off the ground proper, followed by Endezzma, before it really got hot as the third band took the stage, Blodhemn. By that time the venue was pretty crammed, and despite the band not really putting on anything particular in terms of the visual, they were nevertheless fully capable of delivering their message in terms of auditory ferocity. The national romanticism was taken even a step further as Voluspaa took to the stage, not to mention how the small stage got pretty crowded by the sevenpiece. Formed all the way back in 1994, the band has since only delivered one fullength album, 2010’s Åsa. On the other hand, who needs multiple releases if they have one that garners lots of praise? Violinist and all, the band put on a great show of hymns dedicated to the old cultural heritage.

 Mistur at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Mistur at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Svarttjern brought things right back to present day with their black metal onslaught, before Mistur showcased their brand of sognametal, made famous by bands like Windir and Vreid. At first the sound was a bit too dense to really make out any detail, but it broke up a little bit into the show, and needless to say, by now the place was crammed.

 Chrome Division at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Chrome Division at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

All in time for the headliners in Chrome Division, fronted by none other than Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir fame. They performed no less than fourteen of their songs to a Garage filled to the brim with people that were more than eager to have a long weekend of booze, broads, and Beelzebub. If not an evening filled with headliner material, it was indeed a great start to the festival, which at the venue even had their own stand with the 7 Fjell – Blastfest 777 cascadian ale on tap. The safest guess is that the brewery taking its name from the seven mountains surrounding Bergen fused that with the usual 666 gimmick.

 

Local thrashers Inculter have been at it for a couple of years now, but despite honing even more exceptional playing skills than before, they still look straight out of junior high school, making it all the more impressive. It’s good to see that the spirit is still very much alive in the younger generations, that people show up to catch them and show their support, and that these guys actually spend time in the rehearsal room refining something that will surely become a juggernaut of the future. Gravdal are also a local force, and they are to be reckoned with! Since the last time I caught them, they had done some lineup changes, and in was Eld (Aeternus, Taake, Krakow, Gaahl’s Wyrd) on bass and vocals, and Saur (Dominanz) on guitars. On guitar they also had Phobos, who later that same very evening was to be found behind the Gorgoroth drumkit. Their musical expression is none other than the more groove-laden midtempo black metal, and despite not really having found their own niche yet, they excell at what they do.

 Doheimsgard, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Doheimsgard, at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Second band out after Kampfar kicked it all off on the mainstage was none other than Dødheimsgard, the legends from the early 90’s black metal scene in Oslo. Never ever stopping to check with what the fans around the world want, and never ever catering to what they desire, this band continues to amaze with their avant-gardism. With a vocalist calling out for a Swedish Astrid Lindgren character during the soundcheck, we expected nothing but the most peculiar of sets, and so it was. Aldrahn ran around in a bright red blazer and red sunglasses drawing invisible patterns in the air. If there was anything keeping this from being of the utmost magnificence, it must have been the somewhat lackluster sound at the very beginning, missing all kick drum and bass, but also how the electronics that are ever-present on the albums fadeed somewhat into the background. Most importantly it was good to see that Dødheimsgard have matured, and that they can now also be enjoyed in a live setting.

 Taake at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

Taake at Blastfest, photo credit Jarl H. Moe

The extreme metal pride of Bergen these days has to be Enslaved and Taake. The latter took to the stage as the third headliner this evening, and sounded just as professional as one has come to expect of them. First we were presented with five renditions of songs from the Noregs Vaapen album, then a balaclava wearing local musician, Trond Teigland of Tarmer, joined the band for a cover of a GG Allin’s ‘Die When You Die’. After two more songs from their newest album, ‘Stridens Hus’, Hoest and his hellish crew presented us with some older gems in the shape of ‘Umenneske’, and ‘Hordaland pt 1’, closing it all with ‘Nattestid pt 1’. If there was anything to point the finger at it has to be that the show didn’t last longer.

 

Many people had eagerly been awaiting the reunion of underground legends In The Woods …, a band that hadn’t played live in some fifteen years. And the suspense was felt as they appeared from out of the dark corners of the backstage and into the Blastfest spotlight. As much as the band’s discography itself is an eclectic mix of genres, so was their Blastfest set. The old material being atmospheric black metal-ish leaning, and their newer material being more lofty psychedelic progressive rock oriented. An audience given three songs off of The Heart of Ages didn’t seem to mind being presented with this auditory amalgam though, and the reunion seemed to set the stage for what has to be further shows in the future.

 

Headlining this first evening was none other than the legendary and scandal-ridden Gorgoroth. Much has been said and much is to be said about all the things surrounding the band, but they do deliver a spectacular show. Crucified naked women, tons of sheep heads, spikes that can be seen from space …. There’s simply no holds barred, and they have the ferocious old school monotonous black metal to accompany the visual aesthetics as well. With Hoest of Taake taking care of vocal duties, he made his second appearance as main vocalist with a mainstage band in one single evening, and if he was good with his own band, he was just as good and convincing with Gorgoroth, though singing someone else’s lyrics. With a solid selection of albums to choose material from, there wasn’t a boring moment to be had as the band churned out fourteen songs all the way from the very first years to 2015’s Instinctus Bestialis.

 

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WORDS BY PAL LYSTRUP

PHOTOS BY JARL H. MOE

Video: Myrkur Releases Epic Onde Børn Music Video

Photo from the Myrkur video shoot, by Lis Dyre

Photo from the Myrkur video shoot, by Lis Dyre

Myrkur have released their first music video from their forthcoming full-length album M (Relapse), due out this August 24th. The video can be watched at this link or below:

 

 

Produced by Kristoffer Rygg (Garm of Ulver), Myrkur’s M also features the talents of Teloch of Mayhem on guitars, Øyvind Myrvoll of Nidingr & Dodheimsgard on drums, and a guest appearance by Chri Amott  (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy) as well. M will be the follow up to the Danish black metal artists’ solo EP effort from 2014 (also Relapse).

 

myrkur new album cover M 2015

M Tracklisting:

1 – Skøgen Skulle Dø

2 – Hævnen

3 – Onde Børn

4 – Vølvens Spådom

5 – Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne

6 – Nordlys

7 – Mordet

8 – Byssan Lull

9 – Dybt I Skoven

10 -Skadi

11 – Norn

Myrkur will perform her first ever live performance at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival alongside Deafheaven and Tombs. Numerous other festival appearances around Europe are planned throughout the year.

 

 

Myrkur tour dates:

July 4: Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark

August 22: Midgardsblot Metalfestival – Borre, Norway

Myrkur New Album Due This Summer, Hævnen Single Streaming Now

myrkur new album cover M 2015

Myrkur will release her first full-length album M, due out from Relapse Records on August 24th. Produced by Kristoffer Rygg (Garm of Ulver), the album also features the talents of Teloch of Mayhem on guitars, Øyvind Myrvoll of Nidingr & Dodheimsgard on drums, and a guest appearance by Chri Amott  (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy) as well. M will be the follow up to the Danish black metal artists’ solo EP effort from 2014 (also Relapse). Stream the new single Hævnen’ below

Commenting on the concepts of M, Myrkur reveals:

“The album is a story where the songs are connected. It is Nordic folk music, black metal, classical choirs and more. It feels like a soundtrack to some sort of Norse mythology horror movie with blastbeats. I wrote it about many things, as a goddess who wants revenge and to kill off people in my life, perhaps also a side of myself. I feel a strong sense of being divided into two, not one whole. a side of light and a side of shadows battle within me. And sometimes a disassociation to reality. A disconnect to the normal world and to what I am. This album tells my story and the transformation to one is complete in my mind.”

Producer Kristoffer Rygg aka Garm of ULVER on M:

“In a – for me – short, but efficient time I feel that we managed to sew together a production that will be instantly recognizable in the plethora of “history conscious” metal music, with it’s stylistic wavering between classical, folk, rock (shoegaze) and (black) metal traditions. At the same time “M” also sounds strangely contemporary to me. It goes in circles, I guess. Soundwise it’s all out classic analogue stuff. No triggered drums, brick walling or all on grid here. It’s a really natural sound harkening back to the days of old. That’s the feel (or soul) we were after and I think we captured it. It’s no secret that Amalie loves Bergtatt (our first album), and there’s even a song on the album to prove it! I’m not really a type to gush, but Myrkur is a multi-talent and she knows it. Fortunately for me we really hit it off and were on the same page from the get-go… I think our time of meeting was really auspicious as I’ve been working a bit with Ulver’s old metal back catalogue recently and with that stuff fresh in mind the feeling came natural and was a total trip for me, to summon that epic, sylvan Scandinavian sound, as it were. I am really proud to be involved, to help her make her vision come to life, and also to have her carry the torch, so to speak. I think it’s a killer album and I’m anxious to see what people think.”

Murkur, Photo by Ole Luk

M Tracklisting:

1 – Skøgen Skulle Dø

2 – Hævnen

3 – Onde Børn

4 – Vølvens Spådom

5 – Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne

6 – Nordlys

7 – Mordet

8 – Byssan Lull

9 – Dybt I Skoven

10 -Skadi

11 – Norn

Myrkur Live Dates:

Jul 4: Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark

Aug 22: Midgardsblot Metalfestiva – Borre, Norway

Primitive and Deadly – Host and Aldrahn of The Deathtrip

The-Deathtrip-band-2014

Since its controversial rise to prominence, in the early ‘90s black metal has continued to engage and challenge listeners’ preconceptions by mutating into challenging new forms. Acts like Arcturus, Borknagar and Dødheimsgard have pushed the limits of the genre by incorporating techno, opera and folk into the mix but while DHG’s Aldrahn provides the vocals on The Deathtrip’s visceral Deep Drone Master (Svart) that is where the similarity ends. Arising from the ranks of black metal legends Thorns, The Deathtrip is the brainchild of Host (A.K.A. Paul Groundwell of pioneering UK label Peaceville) who has sought to plough a more atavistic and primitive furrow.

Host explains how this elite meeting of minds, lead to one of the genre’s most invigorating debut records. “Kvohst (A.K.A. Mat McNerney, ex <code> Graven Pleasures, Hexvessel, Ex DHG) was going to do vocals for The Deathtrip, but he played some of the instrumental demo songs for Aldrahn, as they were in touch at the time. Aldrahn was really into them and ended up taking over the vocal duties instead. The Snorre [Ruch] connection came about because of Aldrahn’s involvement in Thorns. Aldrahn played Snorre some of the demo songs with his vocals and Snorre loved what he heard and has been a great supporter since. In regard to putting the band together it didn’t make a difference as they weren’t people I knew through Peaceville. The band grew simply from people hearing and liking those old raw demo tracks. It feels like only the music did the talking, and for that I am most grateful. The very origins of The Deathtrip though, go back to around 2003 when I made some songs just for myself to listen to, as I heard barely anything at the time which brought much magic to these ears compared to what came before.”

Founded on hypnotic, repetitive riffs and beats Deep Drone Master, may not be a throwback to the genre’s origin’s but Host maintains that keeping the sound primitive was key to recapturing some of that old magic. “Well I’m sure there was some Burzum and Darkthrone in the early days as far as creating and maintaining a ‘feeling’ goes.” Host agreed. “Some of it was also simply because when programming drum beats I didn’t want to take too much time on that, so I made a primitive pattern, looped it, and made the riffs over the top. As the tracks unfolded I just thought that maintaining that same pace and beat brought a good hypnotic element, so why mess it up for the sake of ‘creative diversity’? It’s about having time to digest the riff and fall into the monotony of the patterns.”

the-deathtrip-deep-drone-master-cd

To some Deep Drone Master may sound like a homage to the past but as Host explains the album contains some extremely uncomfortable personal moments:


“The song ‘A Foot In Each Hell’ came about because of somebody’s suicide, but the song isn’t concentrated on or about the act itself. It is more about the fabricated kingdoms we invent to fortify the self and the powers of human control and persuasion.”

Mostly they deal abouta sentimental relationship between myself and my own subconscious mind. As well as the subconsciousness of humanity.”

Vocalist Aldrahn clarified. It is the connection between myself and humanity as well as the disconnection. It would be easier to answer for each song, but still it’s emotions and thoughts on paper. Many of these thoughts and feelings are difficult to describe, as they belong to my own perception of time and space an dare thus very personal.”

“Making Me” for example, deals about the complete absence of love, the total isolation from all warmth in life and then becoming it, like wearing it as an entity. A lot of them deal about journeying through the darker aspects of the mind, facing up with all sorts of ugliness inside and then forcing through it until it’s done.”

This all-star Norse/English act also feature the drum work of sometime My Dying Bride and Thine sticksman Dan ‘Storm’ Mullins and bassist Jon T. Wesseltoft. Host clearly valued the input of friends who brought his vision to life! “Well it was great to have Jon involved as he was another person who was a big appreciator of the demo tracks from early on, which he heard from Snorre I think. Bass was non-intrusive, so was sitting underneath nicely, keeping the pulse. It was the same for the drums. The idea was to keep the beat simple and keep it running. No prog rhythms for us thanks! ha-ha!”

The icy minimalistic approach does well to convey a harrowing sense of isolation. Much speculation surrounds the question of if The Deathtrip will continue to function as a studio project or if live ceremonies are on the cards. “I see it as more of a band.” Host cautiously approached. “There will be much more music regardless. We have had some interesting offers but it depends on many things such as DHG’s schedule.”

 

The clandestine nature of its creation and the pleasantly unexpected re-appearance of DHG to the live circuit this year, it will come as a surprise that a second record from The Deathtrip may not be that far away. “Well I had made quite a lot of songs and they were going perhaps even more trance-like and simplistic, but since then, the new riffs I’ve been making have reverted back a little more towards what was being done on the earlier demo tracks, with a bit more ‘attack’. It’s certainly not just replicating the old style though. There is more depth and feeling to the formation of the riffs. Some songs will need to be re-arranged but there is easily an album’s worth of ideas to focus on.” Host exclaimed. “A new album for this year seems rather optimistic even though I’d originally hoped it might’ve been possible. Will just keep writing, and maybe start some of the recording later in the year, as it is a busy year for Aldrahn anyway.”

WORDS BY ROSS BAKER

Dødheimsgard – A Umbra Omega

dodheimsgard-a-umbra-omega

I’m going to just come right out with it – I’ve never really seen the appeal of Dødheimsgard (I refuse to call them DHG – that’s non-negotiable).  Their third album 666 International created a considerable wave in the late 90’s Black Metal scene, heralding a cyber-future that had the fans wiping off their panda-paint and buying glowsticks and leather trench-coats, but neither it, nor its equally feted follow-up Supervillain Outcast (both Moonfog), really clicked for me.  The “progression” seemed too forced, the electronic elements awkwardly realised and the whole thing just a little too redolent of the Emperor’s new clothes.

I point this out simply because I’m about to lose my shit over A Umbra Omega (Peaceville), and I want to make it clear that I’m not just buying into the general consensus here – with this one, they’ve finally caught my attention.

Despite opening with the glitchy, fragmented electronics of ‘The Love Divine’, one of the first things that becomes apparent about A Umbra Omega is that the “cyber” elements of the last two albums have been dialled down noticeably, replaced with a much broader selection of influences. The songs move jaggedly but with surprising fluidity through Jazz breaks, modern classical music, more restrained electronics and some good, old-fashioned box-of-angry-wasps Scandinavian Black Metal.

It will doubtless anger some fans to say this, but there’s something almost backwards-looking or quaint about A Umbra Omega’s approach to progression.  The face of “avant-garde” Black Metal in 2015 is very different to what it was in 1996, and Dødheimsgard’s approach still owes more to the carnivalesque playfulness of Arcturus or goth-tinged drug babble of Ved Buens Ende than DeathSpell Omega or Blut Aus Nord’s chaotic black-hole worship (this review brought to you by hyperbole.com). This is by no means a criticism – indeed, Dødheimsgard remind us of the one thing that the newer style of “experimental” Black Metal bands often forget to include in their time-shifting trans-dimensional horror; character. Despite how wacky things get here, there’s a constant sense of personality, wit and style that pervades each track on A Umbra Omega, drawing together what could otherwise be disparate musical elements into a genuinely effective whole.

As I observed in my recent review of the new <code> album, being weird is ultimately a fool’s quest – each year it gets harder and yields diminishing rewards. Perhaps that’s where Dødheimsgard lost me on previous releases – being experimental and breaking new ground seemed to be the primary objective – but on A Umbra Omega they sound like a band who’ve come to terms with their own weirdness and focussed on the task of writing a really excellent set of songs around it, rather than showing off how wacky they are. A genuine master-class in why Black Metal can still be interesting without having to choose between retro-traditionalism or forced experimentation.

 

9.0/10

Dødheimsgard on Facebook

 

RICHIE HR