DØDHEIMSGARD — A Umbra Omega (review)

DØDHEIMSGARD — A Umbra Omega album cover Album · 2015 · Avant-garde Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"A Umbra Omega" is the 5th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metal act Dødheimsgard. The album was released through Peaceville Records in March 2015. It´s the successor to "Supervillain Outcast" from 2007, so there´s been quite gap in time between the two releases. If you look back in the band´s discography that´s not unusual though as there was an 8 year gap between the release of "666 International (1999)" and "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" too. A recording output of 3 albums in 16 years isn´t exactly prolific, but main man behind the project Vicotnik (real name Yusaf Parvez) has been busy with other projects like Code and Naer Mataron, and "A Umbra Omega" also features an almost completely revamped lineup compared to the lineup who recorded "Supervillain Outcast (2007)". Actually the only remaining member from the lineup of the predecessor is Vicotnik. Lead vocalist Kvohst has been replaced by a returning Aldrahn though (Dødheimsgard singer in the period 1994-2004), so there is at least one more familiar face in the lineup on "A Umbra Omega".

Dødheimsgard has been Vicotnik´s project for the last many years though, so while "A Umbra Omega" doesn´t sound like neither "666 International (1999)" nor "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" (or any of their early releases for that matter), it´s still unmistakably the sound of Dødheimsgard. The twisted and abstract take on extreme metal which draws influences from as diverse musical styles as avant garde, progressive rock/metal, black metal, thrash metal, death metal, and industrial metal (and even a touch of goth) is quite unique.

Where "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" typically comprised of "regular" length tracks with recognisable vers/chorus structures (although still quite adventurous), "A Umbra Omega" is a very different kind of beast. 6 tracks and a full playing time of 67:10 minutes means that all tracks, except the short intro track "The Love Divine", are over 10 minutes long and two of them are even close to 15 minutes in length. All tracks disregard regular vers/chorus structures, and almost no sections are repeated twice during any track. So the tracks are long continuous journeys and quite complex in structure. They are not instantly catchy like some tracks on the predecessor, and require many spins before they settle, and even then they are quite hard to tell apart. In fact the whole album feels more like one long track divided into chapters/suites, than seperate tracks.

Stylistically we´re treated to an avant garde/progressive take on black/extreme metal, with quite expressive and paatos filled vocals in front (sometimes black metal raspy and other times howling and deranged). The whole thing comes off as a dark and twisted theater piece. The avant garde approach to singing occasionally sounds a bit constructed to me, and to my ears Aldrahn was a lot more convincing on "666 International (1999)".

"A Umbra Omega" is well produced, and the musicianship is also on a high level, so it´s a high quality release on most parameters. The long tracks with almost no reoccuring sections is an innovative and progressive move by Dødheimsgard, but it´ll probably divide the band´s listeners. Personally I´m a bit biased as I usually praise innovation and boldness in music, but on the other hand there´s little here which makes me feel like I´ve listened to an album that is on par with their two previous releases, and overall "A Umbra Omega" does feel like a step down for the band. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved, and if you´re able to appreciate the way the material is constructed that rating should probably be slightly higher.
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UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I´m sure a lot of listeners will find it interesting. Personally I much prefer the two predecessors.
Nightfly wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Going to check this one out, sounds like it might be interesting.

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