From the first notes, the record cuts a swath of tortured, mutilated sound. Characterized by anguished vocals and an unrelenting intensity, Dodecahedron is an example of avant-garde black metal pushing the envelope of extreme sound.
One of the great successes of Dodecahedron is, perhaps unexpectedly, the strong melodic threads that anchor the songs. While the guitars shriek and swarm and the sound batters the listener, the melody pulls you through the assault. Like the golden thread that led Theseus through the Minotaur's lair, the melody lines keep the music just familiar enough to be listenable. The roars of the beast are all around you, the darkness is pervasive, but you know you can find your way to the exit, a way to keep from being lost.
“Vanitas” is a standout track, and one of the slower pieces on the record. Vocalist M. Eikenaar somehow makes his voice sound like Arctic wind howling outside the thinnest walls and the ravenous screams of beasts with the power of a vocoder. The rest of the instrumentation is slower, stretched to an anguished dirge.
The last three songs, “View from Hverfell” parts I, II and II is arguably the finest song-writing on the album, each complex, intimately related to each other, and yet each is tinged with a completely unique odour of brimstone. The final outro of “View Of Hverfell III: A Traveller of the Seed of the Earth,” as the cacophony fades out to become the first lovely, sublime sound on the album, is positively spine-tingling.
For fans of the black metal avant-garde, the last year has seen a number of stellar, exciting releases that redefine what is possible within the genre. Dodecahedron is one of those albums.
(released January 24, 2012 on Season Of Mist)