A Umbra Omega
Review by Brian on April 9, 2015.
Norway has always had these "weird" bands that push our comfort zone as listeners. With the "weirdness" comes the greatness. Back in the mid nineties bands like Ved Buens Ende, Arcturus and Solefald branched out from tradition black metal, using its core elements and experimenting with more progressive, avant garde and challenging compositions. Another of those bands hailing from Norway that likes to challenge it's fan base is Dødheimsgard.
It has been 8 years since DHG released Supervillian Outcast. Finally we get the long awaited follow up, which comes in the form of A Umbra Omega. Is it worth wait? The answer is a resounding YES! Black metal, in particular, has been the form of extreme metal over the past decade or more to continue to push boundries. In Norway this year has already seen the release of Solefald's brilliant World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud and will see Arcturus release their first LP in 10 years. Bridging the gap perfectly between the two are fellow Norwegian avant gard black metal weirdos DHG, who may be the strangest of them all.
A Umbra Omega is a six track album consisting of a short intro and 5 mammoth tracks of creative, original, artfully crafted progressive, avant gard, black metal. All five tracks clock in over 10 minutes and require multiple listens to digest. Each of the five songs uses their length to display various tempo changes and stlyes, from chaotic black metal riffs to progressive noodlings, to acoustic passages, to jazz moments, more black metal and anything else you can think of, yet never feeling forced. The transitions are flawless. This gives the album this strange type of flow even when they chaotically break into certain parts of the songs. The albums dissonant nature gives it this feeling of being detached, but in a good way. The ability to have this overwhelming cold feeling for several minutes then seamlessly transition into some beautiful comforting melody and back to ugliness keeps the listener off balance. This makes each listen different than the last. Because the tracks on this album are so long, I recommend listening in chunks to help with the digestion process.
No matter what score I give this, I am sure that after several more listens it will change. Maybe for the better maybe for the worse. This happens with recordings of this magnitude. I'm still mad about my 9.5 I gave Solefald earlier this year. After repeated listens I realized it's a perfect album and worthy of a perfect 10. I don't believe that A Umbra Omega is a flawless album, but it is a very good album. Regardless of my score, if you are a fan of music that defies the norm then this album is for you. After 8 long years the weirdest black metal band on the planet have released an eclectic album where they incorporate every style of music imaginable and quite possibly invent some new genres along the way.
Rating: 8 out of 10