DØDHEIMSGARD — Supervillain Outcast (review)

DØDHEIMSGARD — Supervillain Outcast album cover Album · 2007 · Industrial Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Conor Fynes
'Supervillain Outcast' - Dodheimsgard (9/10)

On Dodheimsgard's third record '666 International', this once-orthodox Norwegian black metal band revolutionized their sound by adding a challenging layer of experimental electronics and industrial influence. As rocky a listen as it was, the inventiveness of that record is as alive today as it was when it first came out. Naturally, now that Dodheimsgard had turned black metal on its side, they would be expected to explore this new idea further, and that's exactly what happens with 'Supervillain Outcast'. In effect, Dodheimsgard refines their style into something that feels much more realized and intense than they sounded earlier before. The industrial element of their sound has been extended far beyond a gimmick, now only serves to add to the bleak atmosphere that the music creates. It still has its roots in the straightforwad black metal that Dodheimsgard once played, but 'Supervillain Outcast' stands as being one of the most challenging metal albums I have ever listened to.

It is not often to hear Darkthrone-esque black metal propped up against avant-electronica and something I might only be inclined to call Satanic dance pop. Just as '666 International' was, 'Supervillain Outcast' is a diverse, multi-faceted work, and for any who have heard '666 International' before and could not find anything to love, this one may not be any better. That being said, there have been some stark improvements in the way Dodheimsgard executes their sound. The production is given a much livelier tone, and while variety is ey to what the band does here, the music flows comfortably from one avant-garde nightmare to the next. Kvohst takes his place as the new vocalist for the band, and his performance really adds to the feel of the music, both in regards to his growls, and a clean, eerie croon, not too unlike Carl-Michael Eide's performance with Ved Buens Ende. The lyrics here are vividly powerful, often using sick, often disturbing metaphors to convey the imagery. Suffice to say, it very much reflects the distorted, deranged sound of the music.

Musically, Dodheimsgard's sound is incredibly chaotic, and certainly jarring to hear upon the first listen. Although there are some more traditional vocal melodies and harmonies to help balance out the more aggressive aspects of 'Supervillain Outcast', listeners can expect to hear a flurry of all things strange, eerie and wonderful, with sounds being drawn from circus music, dark ambient, and even porn samples, to name a few. On that note, the strength of this album lies greatly in the experimental nature and avant-garde approach that the band takes, and as a result, the more traditional black metal elements of the band often don't feel quite as powerful on their own as they would have outside of this context. 'Supervillain Outcast' may grind against a listener's taste at first, but there is a vulgar genius at work that surprises and bewilders me. '666 International' showed the vast potential of this band, but they take the sound and make it real with 'Supervillain Outcast'.
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