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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.