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Dodheimsgard - Supervillain Outcast - 90%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

On Dodheimsgard's third record '666 International', this once-orthodox Norwegian black metal band revolutionized their sound by adding a challenging layer of experimental electronics and industrial influence. As rocky a listen as it was, the inventiveness of that record is as alive today as it was when it first came out. Naturally, now that Dodheimsgard had turned black metal on its side, they would be expected to explore this new idea further, and that's exactly what happens with 'Supervillain Outcast'. In effect, Dodheimsgard refines their style into something that feels much more realized and intense than they sounded earlier before. The industrial element of their sound has been extended far beyond a gimmick, now only serves to add to the bleak atmosphere that the music creates. It still has its roots in the straightforwad black metal that Dodheimsgard once played, but 'Supervillain Outcast' stands as being one of the most challenging metal albums I have ever listened to.

It is not often to hear Darkthrone-esque black metal propped up against avant-electronica and something I might only be inclined to call Satanic dance pop. Just as '666 International' was, 'Supervillain Outcast' is a diverse, multi-faceted work, and for any who have heard '666 International' before and could not find anything to love, this one may not be any better. That being said, there have been some stark improvements in the way Dodheimsgard executes their sound. The production is given a much livelier tone, and while variety is ey to what the band does here, the music flows comfortably from one avant-garde nightmare to the next. Kvohst takes his place as the new vocalist for the band, and his performance really adds to the feel of the music, both in regards to his growls, and a clean, eerie croon, not too unlike Carl-Michael Eide's performance with Ved Buens Ende. The lyrics here are vividly powerful, often using sick, often disturbing metaphors to convey the imagery. Suffice to say, it very much reflects the distorted, deranged sound of the music.

Musically, Dodheimsgard's sound is incredibly chaotic, and certainly jarring to hear upon the first listen. Although there are some more traditional vocal melodies and harmonies to help balance out the more aggressive aspects of 'Supervillain Outcast', listeners can expect to hear a flurry of all things strange, eerie and wonderful, with sounds being drawn from circus music, dark ambient, and even porn samples, to name a few. On that note, the strength of this album lies greatly in the experimental nature and avant-garde approach that the band takes, and as a result, the more traditional black metal elements of the band often don't feel quite as powerful on their own as they would have outside of this context. 'Supervillain Outcast' may grind against a listener's taste at first, but there is a vulgar genius at work that surprises and bewilders me. '666 International' showed the vast potential of this band, but they take the sound and make it real with 'Supervillain Outcast'.

Melancholic Avant-garde Frenzy - 95%

angryteng, September 13th, 2010

In 1999, Dødheimsgard succeeded in creating a milestone of avant-garde metal. "666 International featured chaotic melodies, clanging black metal riffs, and lunatic lyrics, creating an apocalyptic trip into the soul's depth with a little help from electronic beats, smooth piano sounds and a roaring singer that sat enthroned above everything else. And finally, almost eight years later, there was a new sign of life from DHG, as they are called these days: Supervillain Outcast

Line-up changes, self-discovery trips, attempted suicide, and the famous "musical differences" led to this long time of origin. In compensation for this, DHG really managed to intensify the predecessor's atmosphere. The songs show much more homogenous structure and are much shorter, taking the listener on a journey through a cold, industrialised world, in which man must face the personifications of his soul that he himself created. The band's creative brain, Yusaf Parvez, formulates it thus: “The album’s concept is, in all shortness, the recognition of the mechanical structures of our society, and the taboos, that these structures confirm and fight against.” Thus, “Supervillain Outcast” is a contentual and musical concept album, in which the different aspects of this dark, seemingly futuristic world are described.

The album begins with the intro “Dushman”, which is based on oriental flute samples. It turns the accessing of the DHG’s world to a stroll over a bazaar teeming with seedy guises, wicked backstreet gambling dens, and sordid prostitutes.

The following “Vendetta Assassin” spells out what this album mainly is about musically. Blast beats lay the foundation for broad, quite rhythmically acting guitar walls. These are veneered with doleful guitar melodies, which provide the heavy façade with a certain psychedelic fragility. These basic ingredients are used in variations in the following songs, but the album never really leaves this path.

“The Snuff Dreams Are Made Of” grants interesting insights into DHG’s viewpoint on music. The basic sound is jazzed up with ingeniously modulated flute samples and electronic synthesisers. Also this song features clean vocals for the first time on this album, which – fascinatingly – reminds of crooners such as Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby, due to its timbre and intonation. However, in this world Frank lives in a small basement flat, and has been on huge acid trip for days. Thus, the new singer Kvohst is in now way inferior to Aldrahn regarding the madness shining through – luckily!

“All Is Not Self” surprises with straight electro rock, playful choirs, and the aforementioned crooning vocals of singer Kvohst. The atmosphere that this singing style conveys – one of morbid wickedness – is best illustrated by the following line: “I’m leading a quiet life at an abandoned casino”.

This way of singing, which can be found mostly in the a-cappella interludes (“Secret Identity”, “Chrome Balaclava”, and “Cellar Door”), stands in stark contrast to the majority of the vocals, which consist of screaming. But again and again, the crooning grants the listener a breathing pause, enabling him or her to illuminate the tenderness between all the aggression.

„21st Century Devil" celebrates the album’s drawing to an end. With an almost trendy keyboard line, much pathos, and attitude pretty neigh to stadium rock, this song is the worthy conclusion of a versatile album.

Actually, DHG made everything right with this opus. Each element – lyrics, song writing, production, conceptual faith – clarifies: this is what modern, intelligent black metal should sound like. “Supervillain Outcast” – which can quite definitely be understood as another description of Satan – does not tell fantasy stories, in which Vikings and elves battle to the death. Rather, the real world is scrutinised in a very refreshing way, rather jeeringly than fatalising, rather snotty than whimpering. Music for our generation, created by true artists. True, because they are not averse to innovation.

Back to the asylum. - 100%

EuanMalice, February 20th, 2010

Supervillain Outcast, an utterly maniacal full length release from Norwegian black/industrial psychopaths DHG (Dødheimsgard) is a perfectly crafted piece of metal masterwork.

Vicotnik has put an enormous amount of work into the song writing and it really shows here. The instruments and vocals compliment each other perfectly with frantic drumming provided by Czral prior to an accident that left him partially paralysed. The drums interchanged with fanatical lead guitars performed by Vicotnik create the feeling of someone trapped in a straight jacket. The phenomenal vocals supplied by Code’s front man Kvohst give the frustrated, insane voice to the person trapped inside the straight jacket. The vast majority of the vocals are not the typical black metal rasp but rather a more crazed scream which are juxtaposed in parts but sombre spoken word.

The opening track “Vendetta Assassin” (aside from intro “Dushman”) begins with a barrage of blast beats and riffing supported by thick rhythm guitars. Followed by “The Snuff Dreams Are Made Of” which is a more mid paced aural assault the album rarely lets up it’s intensity only for a number of solemn interludes dispersed throughout the album. Track such as “Apocalypticism” and “Fox X Foe” incorporate some small, almost dance like drums beats contained in the background to supplement the initial drum assault. The synthesizers and small use of samples add an extra dimension to the album, incorporating strange electronic noises and some aforementioned slight dance-like beats and noise. They really affix another level to the insanity of this album. The vocals that permeate the album

The production, done by Vicotnik himself, is clean, but not overly clean or sterile which serves the album well and only adds to the atmosphere. There is still certain muddiness to the guitars and leads which only adds to the overall atmosphere of the album. The drumming is very technical but the organic production creates a claustrophobic atmosphere for the drumming. The lead guitars cut through the mix, essentially winding their way like a frenzied snake throughout the album. The vocals are quite raw, but are meticulously arranged by Kvohst.

Overall the album has been intricately planned by master composer Vicotnik and the lyrics written entirely by Kvohst except for track 11 by Aldrahn are another talking point of the release. There is a recurring theme in the lyrics of a comic book type story and this is further reflected in the artwork of the album. The insanity and sustained intensity of the release make it a certain classic. This album, as most of DHG’s albums do, serves as a breath of fresh air into a long stagnated metal scene.

Supervillian Outcast - 100%

gnfnr77, November 27th, 2009

To be fair I need to explain that I am 32 years old and have been listening to metal for a very long time. When an album like this comes out it really hits home and opens my eyes to how genre specific 99.9% of metal is....and how bored i really am with all of it. There has got to be more to it, and there has got to be more out there that challenges me and that doesn't just satisfy my riff quota for the month. Well Supervillian Outcast is one of those albums that comes around every now and then that really challenges what you are willing to except, and was written with a total disregard for anything that metal is offering right now, or has ever offered in the past.

That being said, this thing is amazing! It's rooted in black metal of course. These guys have been around for a long time. Some of their early albums are almost unlistenable pieces of ridiculous black metal that will sting your ears with a horribly under produced buzzing that you can't even make out. If you know anything about them though, you would know they have evolved! 666 International was totally fucked. I love it... but it took me a while. I used to think it was just to out there to even humor it at all. It is a very weird avant-guard mix of industrial guitar/factory noise driven, post-black metal with vocals that sound like they belong more on an evil version of a Talking Heads album. People tend to either love it or absolutely hate it. Supervillian, though, is where they have really hit their stride and brought whatever they are going for to fruition.

First off, these riffs are ludicrous! Consisting almost entirely of 2 guitars playing 2 completely different things at the same time. One guitar is used for the chug parts that drive a lot of the songs, and the other is for the background noodling that adds to the oddity and gives each song a lot of personality when mixed with all of the industrial noises going on. All of these things are sewn together in this unbelievable tapestry of sound. Khvost (Code, Decrepit Specter) handles the lead vocals here, and i have to say that this is his best performance on any record I've heard him on to this date. It's not your average black metal scream/snarl. In fact, Khvost can be heard pretty clearly throughout the whole album. Every word is calculated, every lyric is vicious, and at times, make you wanna sing along at the top of your lungs (which is very rare in black metal). This album is filled with some of the darkest most twisted hooks I have ever heard.

I love this album and listen to it front to back on a very regular basis. It rejuvenates my faith in forward thinking and hopes that metal will continue to evolve into new and interesting forms. But it also makes it very hard to review because there's simply not that much to compare it to. It's that unique!

I just can't deal with another take on the same tired shit. And if bands like DHG keep pushing the envelope like they have here, then i won't have to.

Not the best, but ok - 64%

Hawks10Pec, March 11th, 2009

When Dodheimsgard, or DHG for short, was first formed in 1994, they were formed as a black metal band. They released two purely black metal albums, Krontet Kil Konge and Monumental Possession. After Monumental Possession, the band decided to take a turn on their music. They decided to make industrial and experimental metal while still keeping their black metal side in tact. Unlike other bands like The Kovenant, Dodheimsgard actually make this style sound pretty good. Supervillain Outcast is the bands most recent release. They had several lineup changes for this album. Founder and former vocalist Vicotnik was now handling only guitar duties, Kvohst was the new vocalist, Thrawn was on guitars, Clandestine was on the bass, Carl-Michael Eide aka Czral was the drummer, and Mort was handling all the synths.

The best way to describe this album is very fast. Even though the band toned it down on their black metal side, they still know how to play their instruments at a very fast and black metal like pace. Czral is a very well known drummer in the black metal scene and he doesn't dissappoint on this album. The main drumming style of the album is blast beats and when it comes to blast beats Czral is one of the best. The guitar playing by Thrawn and Vicotnik is also really fast and also pretty technical. They have speed, technicality, and also the normal tremolo picking that is so common in the black metal genre. Bass is pretty non-existent on this album. Also, this album is full of industrial samples. During every song, you always have some weird industrial parts being thrown in your face along with the fastness of the instruments playing. Now industrial isn't a genre that I'm very fond of, but Mort makes all of it sound good. Its nothing cheesy like what's heard from The Kovenant on their disaster S.E.T.I. DHG is probably the best band in the black metal scene to mix industrial and black metal at one time other than V:28.

Vocals on this album are decent. Kvohst's is a completely different vocalist than Vicotnik. His main style of vocals aren't really a black metal scream. Its more like a shout with a slight raspy edge to it. Its kind of hard to explain. When he does do the regular black metal screams though its definitely nice to hear. He has a pretty unique scream and doesn't really sound like anyone else in the genre. Sometimes he even does the low death metal growl, but that doesn't really happen too often. Unfortunately, he doesn't do his black metal screams enough for a great vocal performance on this album.

Overall, Supervillain Outcast is a good album. Its nothing that anybody is going to be talking about for years to come as one of the best black metal albums ever, but its pretty enjoyable. If you like industrial mixed in with your black metal and you like it done right, this is probably the album to get. Either this or an album by V:28 will keep you satisfied. The problems with this album is that it gets really boring and repetitive. With 15 songs and clocking in at almost an hour, this album can be kind of hard to listen to more than a couple of times. Other than that, you can probably get a couple of good listens out of this album.

And now for something completely different. - 74%

Thorned_Earth, April 21st, 2007

Dodheimsgard (aka DHG) has been away for a long time, having largely disappeared after 1999's genre-splicing '666 International'. In the years since its release 666 International has come to be rather highly regarded by fans of black metal's more experimental tendencies, while of course being dismissed by the unwilling as a failure. It wasn't their first album, but it was their first real experiment, and with 'Supervillain Outcast' the spotlight is on DHG to either move forward in the spirit of their last album, or step back and attempt to please those fans that weren't impressed by the space and electronics on 666 International. Supervillain Outcast also carries the notable difficulty of being the proving ground for new vocalist Kvohst (replacing Aldrahn), and is missing other key members from 666 International, such as keyboardist and programmer Zweizz. It also features the final drum performance from Carl-Michael Eide (Czral), who is now paralyzed from the ankles down after an all too unclear accident in which he fell from the fifth floor of a building.

As the opening blast of Vendetta Assassin collapses into a moment of silence the similar opening of 666 International is brought to mind, but through the song's four minutes it becomes clear that the spacey electronics and weird grooves of 666 International have taken a back seat to an assault of more furious proportions. The drumming is at times uncharacteristically brutal for Czral, one of the most interesting and creative metal drummers anywhere (see Ved Buens Ende), but he still has his moments to shine and his technical fury is none the less impressive. While Czral's performance was of particular interest to me, it’s the vocals and guitars that are likely to earn the most focus (and thus, scorn). Kvohst was damned before he started, having the unenviable task of following up Aldrahn's inimitable vocal performance on 666, but he does make the effort to do more than simply transplant his own vocal style from code into the mix. He manages to do new things with his own vocals while also calling up Aldrahn in places, but the finished product is definitely not something that will win over every listener. As for the riffs, the guitars may be the most vital element of Dodheimsgard's past success, the riffs on Satanic Art and 666 International being some of my favorite ever. The numerous excellent riffs present on 666 International, more than any other single aspect, made the album a success for me. On Supervillain Outcast, the guitars are sadly lacking in the area of outstanding riffs. The guitars are more concerned with rhythm here, serving the purpose of joining in on the percussive blast of the drums instead of using them as a backbone to display more memorable and exceptional riffing. Though echoes of past glory surface in ‘The Vile Delinquents’ and ‘Horrorizon’, both of which were adorned with a winding riff or two that should please any 666 International fan, this deficiency still weighs the album down. The programming on this album is much more often relegated to support duty, existing on top of songs that are largely complete without it, instead of making up a large portion of the songs as it did on 666 International. They act simply as an extra layer, never quite as vital as they were on the previous album. That said, the electronics do become more evident here and there, as in ‘All Is Not Self’ and ‘21st Century Devil’, calling up memories of 666 International for those who, by the end of the album, are feeling a bit homesick.

Supervillain Outcast is an experiment of mixed results. The loss of key members and creative conflicts within the band resulted in some obvious turmoil, and this is definitely not another 666 International. Nor is it a proper sequel to Satanic Art, for which some were hopeful, though the speed may place it close to that album in spirit. Dodheimsgard's latest is both like and unlike their past releases, and is bound to divide their current fan base further while picking up new worshipers and detractors along the way. Despite the disappointments, Supervillain Outcast remains a highlight for me this year, and on its own merit is still more entertaining and worthwhile than a number of releases so far in 2007. My plead to Vicotnik now is simply that he not wait another 8 years to release the next album, and if he can find it in his heart, to give us a few more riffs next time.