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I have understood, that Dødheimsgard started as a “normal” black metal band. On their new releases they have introduced a more industrialized sound, and this EP shows the transition from the black metal to the more industrial sound. The music on this album is clearly black metal. Aldrahn is a great vocalist and there is something in his voice that separates him from other shrieking. Though the music is black metal, I have to warn you. It’s not simple, but it’s not progressive either. This is plain crazy.
The EP starts with a nice piano-instrumental, Oneiroscope. The melody is a bit haunting, and at one point it feels like you are listening to a strange rag time -tune. The song serves its purpose well, and is followed by the main course of the EP, Traces of Reality. This song has everything. It’s fast and complex yet amazingly well structured. The blastbeats, the violins, the keyboards, the riffs… Hell, there’s audio samples from the TV-series, Twin Peaks! IT totally blows your mind off. Symptom continues with the same line as the previous song. Pretty fast, but not as complex.
The Paramount Empire is the weak link on the album. Very weak production when opposed to the deep sounds of the instrumentals and the good quality of the two previous songs. Aldrahn’s vocals are a bit boring compared to his other performances on the album - now he just gives those very common shrieks, nothing special. As a song, The Paramount Empire is not as good as the rest of the album. It’s just too normal, nothing you would have excepted after Traces of Reality and Symptom. The outro, Wrapped in Plastic, is another piano-instrumental. The piano sounds just great and the melody is, again, haunting. For a second time we have a audio sample from Twin Peaks. The same melody is actually used in the opener of the next album, 666 International, where it plays in the background of a crazy blast beat -section.
The mellower parts work really well, creating different atmospheres, whereas the black metal sections are very rough and catchy. Without The Paramount Empire this would be a great record, but it somehow ruins the mood with its rough production. On a 16 minute album it just matters too much, so I can only consider this a good record.
Dødheimsgard is one of the bands who have changed style completely. This is a steppingstone between their old style (more traditional black metal) and their new style(industrial metal).
The sound is very good on most of the tracks, maybe except track 4, and the style used here is mostly black metal with some piano stuff (sort of mellodic). And they have one of the greatest black metal vocalists, Aldrahn. He can do almost everything with his voice. We have also great drum work by either Czral or Vikotnik, I’m not sure . And the last things who shines out is Stine Lunde with her violin work And mr. Magic Logic AKA Zweizz with his keyboard work.
The first song on the EP is the intro “Aneiroscope”. Like fellow reviewers have said, this is a haunted house melody played on the piano. It suddanly burst into track 2, “Traces of reality”. It’s a fast, over 7 minute long song. I love the part when the piano breaks in. There’s also an interlude in the song, just to speed it up again. A very good song.
Track 3 is called symptome. It’s more strait-forward, but my favorite song on this album. I just love the piano melody at the near end of the song. It’s just fucking awsome! Best song on the EP.
Track 4, The Paramount empire, is recorded earlyer than the other songs. The sound changes completely, and the vocals are both sick and awfull. It’s more of a traditional black metal song. But it has a nice bass solo, and it’s quite cool when the vocals are gone. An ok song.
We are now left with the outro, Wrapped in plastic. It’s not good, but not bad either. Just a piano and keyboard melody that is a sort of end of the war theame.
The album is in no way bad, but it’s just that it’s a bit too short, only 16 minutes, and track 4 seams a bit out of place here. Buy it if you like black metal with some piano and some mellodic stuff, otherwise, don’t bother.
Dödheimsgárd took a significant step in black metal with this 16-minute EP. It contains an intro, 3 tracks and an outro and it is, as a whole, a very eerie creation. The intro “Oneiroscope” is very frightening, with sick “haunted-house-style” piano-playing, before it suddenly becomes the first real track “Traces of Reality”. Within the first seconds of this track, you realise it’s not your usual black metal you are listening to. It is very beautifully constructed, yet ugly at the same time. The guitars sound unusual compared to their previous releases, and they’ve aimed for unrestricted complexity this time. It’s very technical and dark, with the guitars being highlighted. At several occasions, the tempo speeds up, the piano and violin (!) enter again and the guitars just go crazy. It is, as mentioned before, very beautiful, and it really suits the song, which must have been very difficult to record. It’s over 7 minutes long, there are not many interludes, and it’s fast as hell. It’s one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard. “Symptom” is way more straightforward, but simply more of the same. “The Paramount Empire” sounds as if it was recorded elsewhere, because the sound completely changes here, and the vocals are horrible on it. It’s also very fast and complex, but simply not as good as the others and, therefore, drags the score down a bit. Then we’re left with the outro “Wrapped in plastic”, but it fails to impress, since the intro was so much better. Well, an outro isn’t supposed to impress you either, I think…
Czral handles the drumming on the EP, and he does a very good job at it. Blast beats here, blast beats there, and you cannot hear a single mistake.
This EP serves its purpose well, and although the third “normal” track is way out of league here, you should really check this out.