Dodecahedron – kwintessens

The self-titled Dodecahedron LP was a true highlight back in 2012, when this dissonant and avantgarde style of Extreme Metal was, at least in comparison to today, still a little more rare. I don’t recall how I stumbled over them, but since my old band WFAHM was signed to – and released an album through – Season of Mist in the same year, I assume I simply saw them in a label newsletter. Either way, I played this album so much that I can’t really stand listening to it today anymore, haha. When I put it on I recognize that it’s really good, but I simply must have played it to death.

But despite that, I was really excited for ‘kwintessens’ to come out! And when the first single was released, I was absolutely blown away. The band seemed to have made a significant step up. They were still operating within the measurements of the formula they applied to their debut album, but definitely on a whole new level. The next two single releases confirmed and underlined this in an impressive way.

One stood out tremendously, though: ‘An Ill-Defined Air of Otherness’ took a less dissonant, but more majestic sounding path. It kind of felt like Strapping Young Lad were playing an incredibly dark behemoth of a song, drenched in dense atmosphere and dystopian vibes… all on steroids. Dodecahedron really showed what they were capable of with this track and I was very curious to hear where the rest of the album was going.

When I first heard ‘kwintessens’, I was kind of overwhelmed. Despite having played the three singles a lot, nothing really stuck with me – except for the last song! ‘The Death of Your Body’ immediately caught my attention with its heavy Industrial groove, disgusting vocals and unexpected start and stop-dynamics. Now, after familiarizing myself with the album and individual tracks a little more, it still stands out as one of the highlights on this album.

One of the more “typical” songs I’d definitely still consider a stand-out track is ‘Harbinger’. Man, this track has some riffs and an atmosphere that really get under my skin! I’m quite certain that it will be one of my favorite Extreme Metal songs of the year. It also probably sums up Dodecahedron’s current signature sound the best.

The three songs I mentioned so far are all so incredibly different – yet, ‘kwintessens’ seems so homogenous. Dodecahedron have managed to really create a vibe that glues everything together extremely well. Two of the three interlude-type compositions pretty much feel like full songs and absolutely add to the album while ‘Finale’ sounds like a nightmare… before, funny enough, reminding me of Slipknot’s intro for ‘Iowa’ throughout the last 20 seconds. Last, but certainly not least, the two other songs I haven’t talked about in this review so far don’t fall short at all.

So, what’s the verdict?! Dodecahedron have raised the bar for themselves and other dissonant, avantgarde Extreme Metal bands this year. ‘kwintessens’ will take you a few spins until it really reveals itself to you, but the reward is huge! I know this will end up very high on my and many other records of the years lists… that’s for sure!

PS: I’m actually not 100% certain if these guys still use 7-strings, but based on photos from one of their 2016 live performances, one of the guitarists certainly does.