Dodecahedron fucking terrifies me. Not in the same way other metal bands scare plebeian teenagers with “all the screaming,” but in the way that the refined songwriting and musical talent on display in this band makes me feel sweaty and inadequate in all that I do. Four years ago the self-titled Dodecahedron album popped into existence and since then has remained in regular rotation in my music boxes for good reason. Now, the audible viscerality Dodecahedron began to craft on their self-titled album has been honed and sharpened to near perfection on their new record kwintessens: through bodies measureless to man
I feel like Dodecahedron draw a lot of unfair comparisons to other black metal bands which detract from the aurally astounding music these guys create. Sure, if you like Deathspell Omega you’ll probably dig the Dodec, if you want a “black metal Gorguts” you’re in the right neck of the woods, but what Dodecahedron does on “Kwintessens” elevates them into a 12-sided transcendental multiverse of their own.
Starting with a prelude which builds and then bursts into a melodious swarm of hyper-dimensional bees called “Tetrahedron: The Culling of the Unwanted From the Earth,” these five Dutch dissonance architects show how much that have learned in the four years since their first record. Where the first record felt as if it meandered just a bit before coming together at the end with the “View From Hverfell” trilogy of tracks, “Kwintessens” displays more confident songwriting from guitarist M. Nienhuis which results in torturously exquisite composition and profound melodies. More than once I’ve found myself nodding along as the riffs from “Hexahedron: Tilling The Human Soil” play in my head. I would even be humming along if it was at all possible for a human to follow along with its voice.
Once the “Culling of the Unwanted From the Earth” can fit no more in its five-sided geometrics, breaks down and is reformed in the next track, the aforementioned “Hexahedron”, the atmosphere of the album begins to take on a, still ethereal but, slightly more discernible shape. I wish I had bought this record in its physical form so I would have had access to the lyrics from the beginning. M. Eikenaar’s vicious cries to “initiate!” during “Hexahedron” leave me compelled to follow his instructions but I just can’t make out what he wants me to do.
This brings me to one of my favorite parts of “Kwintessens,” the vocal performance. Eikenaar kills it. Shifting from visceral screams into lower registers without crossing into the black metal “look at me I’m so spooky” vocal territory that takes me out of other bands is a significant part of why I love this record so much. The howls of otherworldly anguish feel powered by real emotions and not so much an attempt to make some kid’s parents upset when they play the CD in their car.
The only hint of light in the maelstrom of razor sharp darkness on this record comes in the beginning of the spacey “Interlude”. By the end of the track though, you’ll have returned to the geometric uneasiness that Dodecahedron perfected in the beginning of the album and then continue to compound upon until the “Finale” and beyond.
Haunting melodies that elicit a genuine sense of unease, vicious vocals, impeccable musicianship, and atmospherics crafted in the deepest and most hidden fractal dimensions, this record is scary good.
“Kwintessens: through bodies measureless to man” is out now.
Release Date: March 17, 2017
Label: Seasons of Mist
Favorite Tracks: All the ones that end in “dron”
For Fans Of: Gorguts, Deathspell Omega, Ulcerate, Mitochondrion, Blut Aus Nord