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Not nearly as strange as you might imagine - 93%

Aeturnus65, February 8th, 2006

The label of “space/industrial metal”, as this band’s M-A page lists, evokes images of perhaps something like Arcturus crossed with Godflesh. In this case, that’s not even close to what Dimension F3H really sounds like. Instead, picture a darker form of power metal, one without the high-pitched vocals and sing-along choruses. Toss in a good bit of atmosphere in the form of sound effects and ambient keyboard work, and make the whole thing generally bizarre with strange lyrics, silly band member names, and outlandish artwork. The end result will be something approaching Dimension F3H.

The bulk of the material on this disc genuinely feels like metal. That is, it seems as if the songs were written as metal songs, with the industrial/techno stuff added in later. Aside from a couple of tracks that are keyboard-dominated (and, accordingly, are complete wastes of time), most of the stuff on here isn’t nearly as “weird” as you might first assume. Vocalist Nesmoht comes from Arch Nemesis, another dark Norwegian power metal band. Since very few people seem to have ever heard them, it’s worth repeating: Nesmoht sounds like a less-dramatic Tom Englund, possessing a pleasing mid-range voice that stays firmly within its limits most of the time. Not the most technically competent singer, but his style fits perfectly here.

The main cog, however, is Morfeus, he of the ever-evolving Limbonic Art. Aside from his ability to coat everything in a very thick atmosphere, little on “Reaping…” sounds anything like Limbonic Art. Actually, the atmosphere on this disc is about the most impressive thing, as keyboards are used heavily but, thankfully, in a highly ambient role. The music ranges from mid-paced rumblers to some fast blastbeat-driven thrashers. The two aforementioned throwaway tracks – “Waterworld” and “Reborn” seem extremely out of place, perhaps better fitting on something like a Fantomas disc (not my cup of tea at all). Otherwise the songs are quite excellent, especially the awesome title track and the fast-moving “Betrayer”.

The ubiquitous Stian Kristoffersen even lends his talents here, providing a rock-solid percussive foundation. Plus, even though his drums sound just about the same on all discs he plays on, somehow here the slightly artificial sound (production-wise) of his chosen kit fits perfectly. The production is equally solid for everything else, with a very “roomy” sound that, instead of stifling you, actually seems inviting, all the more to let the keyboards flood the songs with atmosphere.

Accurately describing this sound is a little difficult, if only because this sort of metal is rather unique. Your best bet is to head to their homepage for samples, because even though the essence of “Reaping…” is dark power metal mixed with slight hints of something like newer Arcturus, I myself even find that hard to really appreciate. They refer to themselves as “Blade Runner thrash”, so I’m not the only one who has trouble giving a helpful description of their sound. Perhaps another approach would be to imagine if Emperor had moved into the power metal field after “Prometheus”, replete with simpler song structures and all clean singing. Again, though, that’s a lot easier to write than visualize.

This album’s an easy recommendation to fans of darker forms of power metal, as well as to fans of lighter black metal with some clean vocal work. Heck, even fans of stuff like Arcturus and Ulver may like it, though it is more traditionally structured than some of the ultra-weird stuff out there. Just don’t let the “industrial” label scare you away – this has very little in common with acts like Ministry or the aforementioned Godflesh.