Monday, 8 May 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Dodecahedron - "Kwintessens"

By: Mark Ambrose


Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 17/03/2017
Label: Season of Mist





At 41 minutes, “Kwintessens” is deceptively compact for the multitudes within.  Each track, even the instrumental interludes, displays remarkable prowess while remaining confrontational and almost unbearably anguished.



“Kwintessens” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Prelude
2. TETRAHEDRON – The Culling of the Unwanted from the Earth
3. HEXAHEDRON – Tilling the Human Soil
4. Interlude
5. OCTAHEDRON – Harbinger
6. DODECAHEDRON – An Ill-Defined Air of Otherness
7. Finale
8. ICOSAHEDRON – The Death of Your Body


The Review

Spend even a modicum of time skimming reddit boards, Joe Rogan podcasts, or YouTube documentaries, and you are likely to encounter sacred geometry: a broad term for a panoply of beliefs ascribing power, intent, and divine influence in the shapes and mathematics of the universe.  The NetherlandsDodecahedron, in both name and content, invokes this linkage of spirit and formulae.  But where some see harmony and consonance, this quintet sees an opportunity for malevolent inversion.

“Kwintessens”, their second full-length for Season of Mist, focuses on the relationship between man and his deity, but it’s clear that Dodecahedron is set to imbue every moment with intense dread.  From the opener, “Prelude”, there is an underlying martial structure – drummer Barendregt creates an unrelenting field of percussion while ambient howls swirl and guitarists Nienhuis and Bonis alternate between regimented riffing and ethereal shrieks.  TETRAHEDRON – The Culling of the Unwanted from the Earth”, wrenches between borderline grind chaos and progressive, polyrhythmic riffing – almost like a birth spasm, violently delivering Eikenaar as “narrator” into a violent universe: “The energy oozing /Chaos leaking from the gashes … The primal source opened / Translating all hidden thoughts.”

For all the layering of dissonance and inhuman blast beats, Dodecahedron manages to find unexpected tribal grooves in songs like “HEXAHEDRON – Tilling the Human Soil”.  Barendregt stands out as a rhythmic beast throughout, but his fills on this track in particular are awe-inspiring.  The production is stellar, and remarkable given the layers of guitar work and synthetic flourishes.  As the album passes the halfway mark, on both “OCTAHEDRON – Harbinger” and “DODECAHEDRON – An Ill-Defined Air of Otherness”, the “electronics” work of Bonis allows the band proper to recede at key moments, opening up ambient soundscapes that invoke the “Drone of death… Drone of creation.”  Eikenaar’s vocals become, somehow, more tortured, alternating between a dark monastic chant and almost rapturous sermon during album closer “ICOSAHEDRON – The Death of Your Body”.  As he spews apocalyptic visions, “Kwintessens” actually feels like a fracturing body, with moments of sheer negative space opening between riffs.  The effect is nearly tactile, embodying the lyrics “Flesh reduced to rags / Pierced through all possibilities / and plunged into the abyss.”  Each pause invokes bottomless darkness, like staring into a black hole.

At 41 minutes, “Kwintessens” is deceptively compact for the multitudes within.  Each track, even the instrumental interludes, displays remarkable prowess while remaining confrontational and almost unbearably anguished.  Dodecahedron may be focused on cosmic terror, but they root their journeys in human perception, suffering, and perseverance.  As the narrator examines the raw geometry of his body, paralleled throughout existence, even god himself seems weak and surmountable, while the terrible power within man allows for metamorphoses almost too frightening to imagine.  It is a harrowing experience, one that left me feeling raw and exhausted.  And it’s one I’ll likely revisit many times, and discover new, equally terrifying facets within.

Kwintessens” is available here





Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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