Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron
Season Of Mist
Black Metal/Progressive
7 songs (52:23)
Release year: 2012
Dodecahedron, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Charles
What to read into the fact that this band has called themselves Dodecahedron? Perhaps that they are smart dudes who are into maths and shit. Their intricate music pulls together influences from some of metal’s most celebrated icons of cleverness. There are obvious links to well-established gurus of avant-garde black metal, who are referenced in every other review nowadays and who we shall talk more about below. But there are also other influences here that make Dodecahedron more than just another edgy black metal deconstruction. A couple of members have connections to the shimmering prog rock band Exivious, and by extension one might draw a further association with Cynic themselves. Certainly, those influences are also pronounced here, resulting in a strange and distinctive mix.

First track Allfather, in particular, provides a first impression of the album as a collision between 21st century black metal and invigorating fusion. A strange five-note sequence, which could pass as a lick lifted from a Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever record, forms a repeating pattern. Alongside this, churning black metal takes shape. But the dissonant, strained jazz chords that coagulate around the main riff add hints of alien tonal colour, and the tom-heavy drum flourishes which sprout from this hypnotic repeated rhythm are evocative of Sean Reinert. It’s an impressive and multifaceted opener, even if it feels overlong.

At other times, tracks like I, Chronocrator smash together two influences that have towered over modern black metal in recent years- Krallice and Deathspell Omega. The latter is invoked in the way Dodecahedron tilt through sudden accelerations and decelerations, and the former in the carefully-woven polyphony between the band’s two guitarists and bassist. This second point, in particular, is an extremely important part of Dodecahedron’s sound, and they do an impressive job of manipulating complicated contrapuntal lines into weird riffs and strange climaxes. It also gives the band the opportunity to twist out strange harmonies of a kind more readily associated with “maths” bands like Dysrhythmia than black metal.

Dodecahedron are also quick to divert into more menacingly abstract sections, and this is the final major component of their sound. The ten minutes-plus Vanitas is an “extreme metal ballad” in the vein of Gorguts’s Clouded (from the Obscura album), though with occasional hints of Isis-like post rock giving it a more recognisable rhythmic anchoring. It even features Cynical robo-vocals. It’s a mad composition, hurling all sorts of reference points at the listener. The climax of the record is the View from Hverfell triology, which stretches out for almost 25 minutes. This whole suite flickers between taut black metal and creepy open spaces; the latter allowing for all sorts of ambient experimentation. This means that Dodecahedron get to tick off more avant-garde reference points, this time exploring the ideas of projects like Locrian or Sutekh Hexen.

The impression, then, is of a seriously talented band constructing an intricate record that freewheels around the edgiest edges of the metal scene. As such, it’s not the record to lift extreme metal to its next stage of experimentation, but as a project Dodecahedron certainly has the potential to stretch boundaries.

Killing Songs :
Allfather, View From Hverfell
Charles quoted 80 / 100
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