Season of Mist (2012)
The eponymous debut from Dutch noisemakers Dodecahedron follows the path carved out by Mayhem’s "Ordo Ad Chao" and French innovators Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega. Churning guitars and frenetic, trampling drums obfuscate form and reason in a claustrophobia-inducing storm that evokes the listener’s worst schizophrenic nightmares. Dissonant breaks allow for a brief, if twisted reprieve every now and then but these do little to permit any feeling of safety.
There are plenty of nice touches to be found. Take the vocal effects on the third track, “Vanitas”, or the dynamics of the three-track, twenty-two minute album closer “View from Hverfell”, as showcased by the elegant and effective climax on “A Traveller of the Seed of the Earth”. Add to this the oppressive atmosphere of the whole. Overall though, there are several periods where the music didn’t seem to make any sense, as if lost in the brimstone of its own sorceries. Then there were the long interludes of slow to mid-paced discordant guitar or drawn out keys. These may work well from a dynamic point of view, giving the songs a chance to breathe and creating peaks and troughs in the musical journey, but their lack of immediacy and circumspection sometimes break the spell. This works against “Dodecahedron,” because it isn’t an accessible album by any stretch.
Ultimately, after a dozen listens I respect the band’s ability to craft and build up a song but still can’t say I really find this release attractive or enjoyable. I am a fan of this kind of music, but I can tend to be an impatient listener. Plus, an atmosphere this dark and chaotic will not always call. Having said that, there is an excellent band in here, swirling around in a maelstrom of their own creation and much to reward more patient listeners than I.
Rating: 4 / 6
Composed by Peter Loftus