Dødheimsgard - A Umbra Omega review



Reviewer:
9.5

108 users:
7.94
Band: Dødheimsgard
Album: A Umbra Omega
Release date: March 2015


01. The Love Divine
02. Aphelion Void
03. God Protocol Axiom
04. The Unlocking
05. Architect Of Darkness
06. Blue Moon Duel


Few have given the word crazy as much meaning in metal as Dødheimsgard. We call this avant-garde for a reason. This is a band deliberately pushing into the far corners of their musical realm to create a sound that is as comforting as it is alienating, as attainable as it is bizarre. Eight years after their last effort, they are back more powerful than ever. This album is a true display of artistic momentum and musical craftsmanship. And while it is far from me to equate production time with artistic or musical quality, this particular case is a display of time working very much in favor of the work. Or to state it more clearly: this time they delivered.

A Umbra Omega is a turn right back to what Dødheimsgard do best. It is a masterpiece of avant-garde, and both a continuation and an evolution of their work on 666 International. It features the same progressive fusion of black, avant-garde, and industrial music known from the previous two albums; but evolved into a concise blend devoid of stretches and substantially trimmed of industrial elements. Its dark lyrical themes are carried by a variety of instruments reaching as far into jazz as to include solo piano interludes and suave saxophone parts. Yet it is remarkably seamless. One element of the composition almost always carries over to the next part. This gives the songs a feeling of consistency on a microscopic level while, macroscopically they are still largely progressive. There is a smooth transition from harsh vocals to clean singing, to weeping at the verge of crying, back to harsh vocals; and from mechanic, industrial riffs over eerily harmonic choirs and ambiance to warm, organic, almost sloppy play. Sustained by a dominant theme of melodic, sharp tremolo riffs. This is all contrasted with the most playful bassline you have heard in a while that plays on almost meditatively through the breaks and gives the listener some breathing room between all the crazy.

The words A Umbra Omega - by my own interpretation - roughly mean "Of the Final Shadow". But umbra means more than just shadow. It describes the innermost, darkest parts of a shadow produced by a single source of light. A place that no light reaches. It is also a reference to the shadow left by the deceased on the souls of the living. This album title both accurately and dubiously describes its lyrical themes of emotional void and agony; of mental darkness and helpless despair. And as much as the music is weird, opaque, and confusing at times, its lyrics are sharp and pointed in some - vague and allegoric in other places. And they are presented on the full emotional scale available to both Vicotnik and Aldrahn, who thankfully re-joined the band for this one. Voice is an instrument on this album. Maybe the most important of them all.

I won't go as far as to pronounce A Umbra Omega a 666 International Part II. It is definitely more on the avant-garde than the industrial side with gentle nods to the likes of Arcturus, Winds, or Shining. But it is the same unique kind of extreme that we have come to love from Dødheimsgard. This album will surprise you, whether you already know the band or just start discovering them. One of, if not the best album they have created so far. And definitely one of the true highlights of 2015.

Written by corrupt | 04.04.2015


 


Comments

Comments: 17   Visited by: 372 users
04.04.2015 - 04:21
Maco
Classless
Damn. Some old staff members are returning to reviewing. Great
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Never trust a junkie.
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04.04.2015 - 11:15
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Written by Maco on 04.04.2015 at 04:21
Damn. Some old staff members are returning to reviewing. Great

Haha. Though I never really was much of a reviewer. Only this album is so incredibly good that I couldn't help it. The review practically wrote itself
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Schwarzmetall!
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04.04.2015 - 13:02
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Fun fact about the cover: Umbra is also a word for umber, a reddish brown, earth-like color. The triangle where all thre pyramids on the cover meet has a color very close to umber. And it is the darkest part of where the three colors overlap—their umbra.
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Schwarzmetall!
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04.04.2015 - 17:07
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Going off your review, this sounded like something that I'm just absolutely obligated to check out. Listening to Aphelion Void now, this is goddamn excellent!
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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04.04.2015 - 19:00
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Written by Apothecary on 04.04.2015 at 17:07
Going off your review, this sounded like something that I'm just absolutely obligated to check out. Listening to Aphelion Void now, this is goddamn excellent!

I'm still at a loss for the right words to capture all of it. I'm conceiving new ways to express this music in words with each new spin of the album. Let me know how you feel about the rest of it
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Schwarzmetall!
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04.04.2015 - 23:00
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
I'll check this out and try to give this a fair listen... but I have this creeping suspicion that a 9.5 is extremely over-generous.

EDIT - Yeah, I'm a few minutes into Aphelion Void. This guys singing sounds like it's supposed to be a parody of extreme metal. I suppose musically it is somewhat interesting. I'll listen to more later. But it's clear that we probably have pretty differing views on metal.
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I lift weights and listen to metal
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05.04.2015 - 03:34
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 04.04.2015 at 23:00

I'll check this out and try to give this a fair listen... but I have this creeping suspicion that a 9.5 is extremely over-generous.

EDIT - Yeah, I'm a few minutes into Aphelion Void. This guys singing sounds like it's supposed to be a parody of extreme metal. I suppose musically it is somewhat interesting. I'll listen to more later. But it's clear that we probably have pretty differing views on metal.

Metal can be many things. But as far as avant-garde goes, this is pretty much where it's at. One the very extreme end of it of course. But I warned you about that
I have often heard complaints about the vocalists of the genre. I guess it takes a while to get into; and there's a fair chance some people just won't. I don't remember when it started to click with me, I started with the softer instances of the genre. Bands like Age Of Silence really got me into it. And of course Arcturus, though that's where camps seem to form already.

Of course I have no idea what you are into otherwise. When it comes to the rating, though, I want to reward the ingenuity rather than the execution. The production is really good and the whole band absolutely are masters of their instruments (although I would claim that the mentioned sloppy, more minimalistic parts require a certain degree of indifference to the rules of traditional, formal musical education). But this is a piece that few bands would come up with. And at the same time it continues a very unique development of a band in the most concise way. That's what I tried to say in the last paragraph; it's a surprise to old fans and new ones. I can totally understand you saying this isn't your cup of tea. But artistically I find the rating more than justified.

Edit: before we go off into an objectivity tangent, I might add that this is of course the perspective of a fan with a deep and long-lived appreciation of their music and the genre as a whole. I was hoping the review would reflect that - sort of a as an implicit disclaimer. I didn't have to put on my pink glasses. The album already came dyed pink right to my doorstep.
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Schwarzmetall!
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05.04.2015 - 05:55
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
Written by corrupt on 05.04.2015 at 03:34

Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 04.04.2015 at 23:00

I'll check this out and try to give this a fair listen... but I have this creeping suspicion that a 9.5 is extremely over-generous.

EDIT - Yeah, I'm a few minutes into Aphelion Void. This guys singing sounds like it's supposed to be a parody of extreme metal. I suppose musically it is somewhat interesting. I'll listen to more later. But it's clear that we probably have pretty differing views on metal.

Metal can be many things. But as far as avant-garde goes, this is pretty much where it's at. One the very extreme end of it of course. But I warned you about that
I have often heard complaints about the vocalists of the genre. I guess it takes a while to get into; and there's a fair chance some people just won't. I don't remember when it started to click with me, I started with the softer instances of the genre. Bands like Age Of Silence really got me into it. And of course Arcturus, though that's where camps seem to form already.

Of course I have no idea what you are into otherwise. When it comes to the rating, though, I want to reward the ingenuity rather than the execution. The production is really good and the whole band absolutely are masters of their instruments (although I would claim that the mentioned sloppy, more minimalistic parts require a certain degree of indifference to the rules of traditional, formal musical education). But this is a piece that few bands would come up with. And at the same time it continues a very unique development of a band in the most concise way. That's what I tried to say in the last paragraph; it's a surprise to old fans and new ones. I can totally understand you saying this isn't your cup of tea. But artistically I find the rating more than justified.

Edit: before we go off into an objectivity tangent, I might add that this is of course the perspective of a fan with a deep and long-lived appreciation of their music and the genre as a whole. I was hoping the review would reflect that - sort of a as an implicit disclaimer. I didn't have to put on my pink glasses. The album already came dyed pink right to my doorstep.


Yeah, I can certainly understand how from the point of view of someone who enjoys this sort of metal, this would essentially be the holy grail. However, to the average listener, both of our opinions are unhelpful in the fact that we both have our predispositions. There are a lot of genres of metal that I have eventually "come around to," but with stuff like this it will likely never happen. Which is too bad, in a sense, because I'm always excited to get into new stuff. But avantgarde is sort of like a lot of the classic metal bands for me - I really want to and even TRY to get into them, but I just can't bring myself to enjoy listening to them. However - there is always a fine line between ENJOYING a band/genre and RESPECTING it, and so there's a lot of stuff that I would never put on my itunes, but that I can at least say I have respect for.

PS - I do enjoy the cover art, haha.
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I lift weights and listen to metal
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05.04.2015 - 09:34
Warman
Erotic Stains
Sounds really interesting from this review, even though I haven't been into their earlier releases.
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05.04.2015 - 11:48
BloodTears
ANA-thema
Good album. It definitely gets better as it progresses, especially "God Protocol Axiom" is the big highlight for me. The album has a sort of "deformed beauty" to it, if I may call it that. I don't know what I like more, the black metal or the progressive, clean parts.

I'm picky with avantgarde but this one pleased me.

Welcome back, corrupt
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.


My Instagram
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05.04.2015 - 15:24
Fallen Ghost
Craft Beer Geek
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 04.04.2015 at 23:00
This guys singing sounds like it's supposed to be a parody of extreme metal.


I don't know, first I thought when I heard the vocals was Behemoth actually.. Especially in the start of the song
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05.04.2015 - 16:23
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 05.04.2015 at 05:55
There are a lot of genres of metal that I have eventually "come around to," but with stuff like this it will likely never happen. Which is too bad, in a sense, because I'm always excited to get into new stuff. But avantgarde is sort of like a lot of the classic metal bands for me - I really want to and even TRY to get into them, but I just can't bring myself to enjoy listening to them.

Maybe it's just not for you. I can relate to that. There's a lot of music out there people jump through hoops for that I just don't get - that feels completely indifferent to me. But now you know the album and it's there to haunt you. Maybe you come back to it in a few years to find that it's exactly the holy grail you described. And in that case, my mission is accomplished


Written by Warman on 05.04.2015 at 09:34
Sounds really interesting from this review, even though I haven't been into their earlier releases.

I'm interested what you think of it when you actually did not like their previous work. There are lots of new elements to be discovered here but the core is essentially the same.


Written by BloodTears on 05.04.2015 at 11:48

Good album. It definitely gets better as it progresses, especially "God Protocol Axiom" is the big highlight for me. The album has a sort of "deformed beauty" to it, if I may call it that. I don't know what I like more, the black metal or the progressive, clean parts.

That's the thing for me: it's both. The album wouldn't be half as overwhelming if there wasn't so much dynamics and stylistic variety in the vocals. There's so much music out there in which a single vocalist goes on in the same style in the same pitch for album after album. On this album alone there's enough vocal spectrum for five bands and their respective styles. And it still sounds completely natural.


Written by Fallen Ghost on 05.04.2015 at 15:24
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 04.04.2015 at 23:00
This guys singing sounds like it's supposed to be a parody of extreme metal.
I don't know, first I thought when I heard the vocals was Behemoth actually.. Especially in the start of the song

One thing I always enjoyed about avant-garde is the proverbial wink in everything. What you see as outright parody, I percieve as a form of amusement. Several lines on this and other albums of the style present a strong vocal contrast to their meaning. Sometimes to emphasize, sometimes to counter a context. But always highly enjoyable. I find that many of these lines come back to me when I'm not listening to the whole album. I can't remember a complete song but there's some inherent beauty in the singing that haunts me.
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Schwarzmetall!
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07.04.2015 - 13:17
toxx
Supreme being
I loved 666, and I love this one just about the same! Seems as if their sound has matured a bit during the years as well. Super album!

Had the pleasure of seeing them live this weekend too. Aldrahn is such a charismatic front man! Awesome show!
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07.04.2015 - 16:28
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Written by toxx on 07.04.2015 at 13:17
Had the pleasure of seeing them live this weekend too. Aldrahn is such a charismatic front man! Awesome show!

<-- The jealousy is strong with this one
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Schwarzmetall!
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08.04.2015 - 13:19
toxx
Supreme being
Written by corrupt on 07.04.2015 at 16:28

Written by toxx on 07.04.2015 at 13:17
Had the pleasure of seeing them live this weekend too. Aldrahn is such a charismatic front man! Awesome show!

<-- The jealousy is strong with this one


Seen them several times actually. 2007, 2011 and now. The band is constantly changing, and the gigs I have seen with them has been different every time. There has been changes in lineup as well, which I guess would have affected the setlist for the shows quite a bit. In 2011 they played a lot from Kronet Til Konge and Supervillain Outcast. This time they also played a few songs from those two, but the focus seemed to be on 666 and A Umbra Omega.
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09.04.2015 - 13:48
DahliaRock
I will be forming a "Halp I Can't Stop Listening to A Umbra Omega" group.. this album gives me the weirdest of chills, and every spin is a completely new excitement that flows through my veins.. I generally hate intros, but this one's is so eerie that I need it to really open the album for me! Really worth the wait!
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12.09.2015 - 10:56
Danny Thomas
My taste in metal has always been all over the place. (anywhere from In flames,children of Bodom, to burzum,ulver, ensiferum, and even to blind guardian) and as I get older, i tend to find myself enjoying things that catch me off guard and provide me with a unique listening experience. I haven;t listened to these guys in a while. I remember 666 being an incredibly odd and unique experience when i first heard it years ago. I got into it for a short period of time, and now 6 years later, I randomly decide to listen to it again and was pleasantly surprised at it's odd elements. out of curiosity i ventured on metalstorm to see if they had any new works, saw this review and decided to give "a umbra omega" a shot. not sure what mood I am in musically at 4 a.m. but this is hitting the spot. It has a lot of unique elements, and is drawing me in. I love albums that require multiple plays to even catch the full feel, and this seems like it will continue to grow on me over time. Thanks for the review, I am hearing a lot of the things you seem to appreciate from this album.
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Our children are dead. Burnt in the ruins that were left by war.
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