Kwintessens by DodecahedronRelease date: March 17, 2017
Label: Season of Mist
I’ve always been fond of bands who transcend the roots of their core genre and create their own bespoke world of darkness immersion. Music should after all be an expression and art form, not just a series of notes strung along for the sake of it. Music that passionately consumes its creators as well as its listeners and is a sincere expression of their own darkness has something so powerful to it, beyond the norm, a sort of avant-garde freedom. Extreme music is such a vast and expansive genre and the dark reaches of the soul are such a decadent subject to explore, perfect for Dutch metallers Dodecahedron to revel in. The possibilities in extremity are endless, fathomless and unrestricted and such experimental sounds take trailblazers and genre benders to enlighten. Bands like Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord come to mind when naming artists of the avant-garde, whose such musical expression has become legendary.
Suffocating, twisted, dripping with the darkest hues of grey… innovative and unconventional in the most grandiose of ways, Kwintessens is a monstrous foray into the deep dark layers of one’s body, mind and soul, exposing your very essence for all its chaos to consume. Those who love their metal straight-forward will struggle to grapple with Dodecahedron’s complexities, with song structures so carefully thought up they require a chalk board to plot out, but will nonetheless be awestruck. Each movement cries of chaos, bitterly singing a story of seething horror whilst the stampeed of blissfully blackened soundscapes pummel you into the earth… look! Do you see!? It pushes your face and entire being into its sublime horror and sucks you into its punishing black hole.
Kwintessens (though bodies measureless to man) is comprised of three instrumental pieces and five main compositions, which serve as the milestones of this harrowing journey and the focal point of my review.
‘Tetrahedron – The Culling of the Unwanted From the Earth’ takes an immediate descent into maelstrom sparking fury with its precisely chaotic avant-garde guitar work and vehemently bruising drums ringing unpleasently sweet in your ears, all working towards a mechanised industrial finish. Michiel Eikenaar’s inhuman vocals are the perfect accompaniment to the nightmarish intricities of the music with his Grutle-esque snarls fronting the terrifying bombardment of sound this album offers. This is pure madness and pure Dodecahedron. ‘Hexahedron – Tilling the Human Soil’ is work of a band further spiralling into the depths of magnificent black emptiness. It’s a track crawling with vicious riffage and pounding behemoth blasts clawing their way into your psyche. As one of the stand-out pieces, it’s a track that commands your full respect and you will give it in spades.
‘Octahedron – Harbinger’ bares its teeth immediately and tears you limb from limb with its unrelenting grooving death metal pomp… cruel cries of “no signs of human feeling” wipe all hope from your face and show the mercilessness and inhumanity of this piece. ‘Dodecahedron – An Ill-defined Air of Otherness’ spends most of its run time floating on a spectrum of light in the infinitude of the universe, until the boundless blackness consumes it for its final two minutes, filling the air with short bursts of blastbeats and finally disappearing into the vastness with growls of “the death of your body”. If ever there were an example of how goddam beautiful black metal can be it is this. ‘Icosahedron – The Death of Your Body’ aptly finishes the album on a slow grind with its trudging but devastating build-up and simplicity in structure, creating a wonderfully horrific droning atmosphere until its abrupt end and conclusion to this stunning sophomore release.
Theres a certain vile omnipotence about Dodecahedron that’ll have you cowering before them and praising them at the same time. They are leaders now, not followers in their game and have produced a work of sheer brilliance. Myself, I have nothing but praise for this album. A definite evolution to its predecessor with a clearer, colder message. From dismal and devastating to beautiful and dramatic, Dodecahedron guide you masterfully through their harrowing world with jaw-dropping grandeur. Breathtaking and beastly, forward-thinking and strikingly innovative Kwintessens is due to set the world on fire and claim Dodecahedron’s place among the stars.