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Dodecahedron - "Kwintessens" (CD)

Dodecahedron - "Kwintessens" CD cover image

"Kwintessens" track listing:

1. Prelude
2. Tetrahedron - The Culling of the Unwanted from the Earth
3. Hexahedron - Tilling the Human Soil
4. Interlude
5. Octahedron - Harbinger
6. Dodecahedron - An Ill-Defined Air of Otherness
7. Finale
8. Icosahedron - The Death of Your Body

Reviewed by on April 19, 2017

"Throw Deathspell Omega, Abruptum, Lychgate, and Imperial Triumphant into a blender and what pops out would be something akin to Dodecahedron's utterly crazy sophomore album."

Somehow its been a full five years since Dodecahedron appeared on the scene with an utterly insane self-titled album, earning a spot on my personal best metal newcomers of 2012. Follow-up sophomore record "Kwintessens" keeps up the incredibly jarring, cacophonous sound from that debut but even goes a step further, filled with clashing dissonance that isn't for the faint of heart.

We open this time around with “Prelude,” which is appropriately mood setting, focusing on the drum beat with some disturbing and disjointed voices in the background. The insane melody and extreme vocals starting next track “Tetradhedron” will immediately bring Deathspell Omega to mind, so if you want your black metal as discordant as possible while still being grounded in something melodic (even if its the most twisted kind of melody possible), you've come to the right place. Things get appropriately weird at about the 3:20 mark, with the vocals dropped in favor of a wobbly guitar riff / marching drum beat combo that brings to mind the endless void of the night sky.

The song then ends in static, which shifts smoothly into the fast paced riffage of follow-up track “Hexahedron," showcasing how there isn't a particular archetype or single formula here, with plenty of of twists and turns within individual offerings across the disc. That lack of cohesion brings about one of the few downsides here, with the ending of “Hexahedron” getting a bit too chaotic, adding in industrial elements to an already crowded and loud song to the point it sort of just becomes a constant noise. Likewise, the constant blast beating starting “Octahedron” is a little overbearing. As expected, that track changes styles halfway through however, becoming an ambient horror movie soundtrack experience.

The appropriately titled “Interlude” is exactly that, and while it may be instrumental, its not your typical soft symphonic interlude – in fact it may be the album's heaviest track, with a bit of a Meshuggah feel in the repeating heavy riffs. Nearing the end of the album, the self-titled “Dodecahedron” starts with an oddly upbeat electronic segment, almost like something you'd expect from Anathema. What's crazy is that at 1:10 a meaty guitar riff and hoarse screams from the abyss are shoved into the formula, but they stay layered over the upbeat, ambient keys, resulting in a very odd song indeed.

If you weren't suffering from schizophrenia or whiplash yet, the “Finale” consists of echoing screams played backwards, creepy sound effects, an heavy ambiance. Its an incredibly disorienting track, with snippets placed in odd places and sounds suddenly appearing and disappearing, jettisoning everything you think you know about music composition.

Without question, "Kwintessens" is headphone music – you want to be able to pick all the sounds out, because there's a chaotic storm of noise here. Throw Deathspell Omega, Abruptum, Lychgate, and Imperial Triumphant into a blender and what pops out would be something akin to Dodecahedron's utterly crazy sophomore album.

Highs: I don't know if there will be a crazier, more extreme release in all of 2017

Lows: Parts here and there get too crowded and could use a production boost

Bottom line: Dodecahedron returns for round two of completely disturbing and sanity-shattering black metal

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)