Genre: Experimental Black Metal
Country: Norway
Label: Peaceville Records
Year: 2015

Dødheimsgard rightfully possesses the scepters of controversy and it’s man power includes some truly intelligent and talented musicians. Eight years have passed since the release of Supervillain Outcast, which, along 1999’s 666 International, are not the albums you stumble upon everyday. The band members had warned us in interviews that a new album is coming and it’s avant-garde nature will set our feet ablaze, yet you’re never ready until you meet it.

By now, Aldrahn has returned for good and after his excellent contribution to The Deathtrip’s Deep Drone Master, he satisfies our unexpressed hopes to take the vocal part in Dødheimsgard as well, let alone a new album being a dream on it’s own. I don’t even want to introduce Vikotnik and if the name doesn’t rign any bells to you, something is definitely wrong. The rest of the line up includes drummer Sekaran and two new members, L.E. Måløy (bass) and Thunberg (guitars).

A Umbra Omega comes with an one minute introduction and five eleven to fifteen minute tracks. Considering what they’ve achieved with much shorter pieces, vast musical variety and peculiar content is expected. That said, the album demands full attention or else you’re gonna totally miss the point and unfairly discard it, even though I have confidence in the band’s fans patience. As long as you stay with this, it hugs you and thrills you.

Axiomatically, this reminds and stands as a continuation of 666 International more than Supervillain Outcast. The sound of the record is clear and straightforward, avoiding any noisy guitars or other instruments. It’s played strictly and with precision, every track is a diverse chapter on it’s own and contains plenty of different, avant-garde elements DHG would use to create a schizophrenic atmosphere like this.

The introduction “The Lone Divine” consists of various distorted electronic sounds, a moment before giving way to the excellent “Aphelion Void”, which is a feast for modern DHG fans. The opening guitar melodies are fast paced, close to the band’s black metal style and vitriolic in their nature, a strong characteristic of the album. It soon gets slower though and the manipulative sounds come along, consisting of edgy and assymetrical riffs, all of them remarkable.

I’m glad Aldrahn is the singer of this album because his vocal capacities is equally unusual as the music itself. He screams and yells, growls when needed and offers the voice of the madness, perfectly fitting the intrumentation and the essence of the record. The lyrics are also easy to follow, as in “God Protocol Axiom” which clearly draws influences from today’s science theories, from a more philosophical point of view.

“The Unblocking” shows how the band chooses to change moods during a track and it is outstanding. There is an encouraging part with keys that quickly grows darker, where even the acoustic guitars hold considerable power. “Architect of Darkness” is middle paced as a whole and contains a bit heavier synths, almost symphonic. It’s eminent how the band fuses many different tools in a strange way like this, and still creating something flawless.

DHG have evolved and still evolve, something tells me their musical journey will be a constant adventure and they will never settle for something specific. This record has great musicianship, great musical notions, great flow and above all, it’s atmosphere is unique and reality-distorting. For some, this will be too much music to comprehend, but one can’t cope with a genius anyway.

In general, the music of A Umbra Omega is trippy and deranged, well constructed and offers really interesting material for people into aural deformity. I mostly enjoyed the intense moments of toxic riffs, even though it is notable as a whole. Credits should be given to the piano parts scattered around the tracks, keeping their moments glorious all by themselves.

Among the five main tracks, I mostly enjoyed the first two, but I can’t pinpoint them as the best. Listening to any of them alone and full will give you an idea whether you’re going to enjoy it or not. As with many albums though, A Umbra Omega needs more than a sloppy run or a youtube listen. As I’m not the biggest fan of their later works, I acknowledge the album’s power and I’m sure the fans will see it for the masterpiece it is.

4,5/6