Dutch OvenYou've probably heard of a dodecahedron before, usually as an arbitrarily-chosen word to poke fun at geometry. Because that's a funny subject. Most people don't know what it is, though. A dodecahedron is a 12-sided three-dimensional object, like a 12-sided die. Most people don't have a lot of use for that, unless they're tabletop gaming.
Dodecahedron is also the name of a Dutch avant-garde black metal band. Most people don't have a lot of use for AGBM, as I'll call it for the rest of this review. But it is a field that is growing in popularity. Deathspell Omega is an oft-cited name, and you will catch a whiff of that under the covers of their self-titled debut record.
They sound a bit like Dark Fortress taking on an avant-garde sensibility. The vocals and instrumental tones bear a strong similarity to the German band, things which are strong points in their favor. They also seem to favor many of the same chords, but lean far more heavily in the direction of dissonance. Where Deathspell Omega goes at full-speed for ultimate chaos, Dodecahedron takes things much slower, and allows a lot more variety in the tempos. They also give you some grounding, through normal chords and more apparent structures, so you can appreciate the weirdness. They use some computer-like voice distortion in the vocals at times, suggesting a sci-fi element, although the song titles reference mythology and religion.
The album starts out interesting, but it's not until the closing trilogy that the band really shines. The riffs here are superb, although the structure of the album is such that it comes off as kind of a reverse-order EP (you know, the kind where they put some awesome concept up front and then throw in some rejected ideas at the end).
The Verdict: It would be easy to overstate how good this release is. AGBM often tricks reviewers into proclaiming it brilliant in a sort of Emperor's new clothes effect. But it is genuinely quite good. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I will be watching this band in the future.