Dødheimsgard’s ‘Black Medium Current’ Album Strengthens Legacy

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Dødheimsgard have announced the imminent arrival of their sixth full-length studio recording, entitled ‘Black Medium Current.’ Scheduled for release on April 14th via Peaceville Records, this forthcoming opus promises to further expand the band’s eclectic repertoire and solidify their position as trailblazers within the avant-garde black metal sphere.

Anticipation for this new chapter in Dødheimsgard’s musical odyssey is palpable, as fans and critics alike eagerly await the opportunity to explore the innovative soundscapes and intricate compositions that have come to define the ensemble’s groundbreaking oeuvre.

Dødheimsgard, an avant-garde black metal ensemble hailing from the Norwegian music scene, has been instrumental in the evolution and progression of the genre. Through the amalgamation of divergent musical elements and innovative approaches, the band has established a distinctive sound and style.

The inception of Dødheimsgard can be traced back to 1994 when the group was co-founded by Vicotnik (Yusaf Parvez) and Aldrahn (Bjørn Dencker Gjerde). The band derived its moniker from the combination of two Norwegian words, “Død” and “Heimsgard,” signifying “Realm of the Dead.” The ensemble’s genesis emanated from a desire to create music that defied conventions and pushed the boundaries of black metal.

Other notable members over the years, Dødheimsgard has witnessed numerous lineup changes, with key members including Fenriz (Gylve Nagell), Apollyon (Ole Jørgen Moe), Cerberus (Stian André Braathen), and Blargh (Sven-Erik Kristiansen).

Dødheimsgard’s ideology is characterized by a penchant for experimentation and an aversion to conformity. The group’s lyrical themes encompass philosophical musings, existentialism, and the exploration of esoteric concepts. Their non-conformist approach is reflected in their iconoclastic album art and stage performances, which challenge conventional norms within the black metal genre.

Dødheimsgard’s artistic vision is characterized by a persistent engagement with existential and philosophical themes, demonstrating their commitment to creating music that transcends mere entertainment and provokes contemplation. By challenging listeners to grapple with complex issues such as identity, the relationship between the physical and abstract realms, and the nature of reality, the band invites their audience to embark on an introspective journey that transcends the boundaries of conventional musical experiences.

In addition to their innovative musical approach, Dødheimsgard extends their artistic expression through the visual medium of album artwork. The cover of ‘Black Medium Current’ serves as a striking example of this, as it explores themes such as the contingency of ideas on the physical realm and the potential for the physical world to be a manifestation of the mind’s inherent drive for self-understanding. By incorporating these profound philosophical concepts into their visual representation, Dødheimsgard enriches their work with an additional layer of complexity, inviting viewers to ponder the interconnectedness of art, reality, and the human experience.

Dødheimsgard, a trailblazing force in the avant-garde black metal scene, boasts a diverse and compelling discography that chronicles their continual evolution and growth. From their early beginnings as a traditional Norwegian black metal outfit to their fearless exploration of genre-defying musical experimentation, their body of work serves as a testament to the band’s relentless pursuit of innovation and artistic expression.

By traversing the boundaries of black metal and embracing a vast array of influences, Dødheimsgard has forged a unique sonic identity that has captivated listeners and cemented their status as pioneers in the realm of avant-garde metal.

Released on April 4th, 1995, through Malicious Records, ‘Kronet til Konge’ marked the beginning of Dødheimsgard’s foray into the black metal scene. The album showcased the band’s raw, aggressive sound, blending the traditional elements of Norwegian black metal with hints of the experimentalism that would come to define their later work. This debut effort demonstrated their potential for growth and innovation within the genre.

On October 1st, 1996, Dødheimsgard released their sophomore album, ‘Monumental Possession,’ through Malicious Records. Building on the foundation laid by their debut, the band continued to refine their sound, incorporating more intricate compositions and a heightened sense of atmosphere. This album reinforced Dødheimsgard’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of black metal while staying true to their roots while it showcased the band’s propensity for experimentation, blending traditional black metal elements with industrial and electronic nuances.

Between their groundbreaking albums ‘Monumental Possession’ and ‘666 International,’ Dødheimsgard released an EP entitled ‘Satanic Art’ on May 8th, 1998, through Moonfog Productions. This crucial release served as a bridge between their early black metal sound and the more experimental approach that would come to define their later work.

‘Satanic Art’ displayed the band’s growing penchant for incorporating unconventional elements into their music, such as industrial and electronic influences. This experimentation paved the way for the innovative sound that would characterize ‘666 International’ and their subsequent releases. The EP showcased Dødheimsgard’s willingness to push the boundaries of the black metal genre, further cementing their reputation as avant-garde trailblazers.

666 International,’ released on June 11th, 1999, via Moonfog Productions, marked a turning point in Dødheimsgard’s musical evolution. The album saw the band embracing a more experimental and avant-garde approach, incorporating elements of industrial and electronic music into their black metal foundation. This bold departure from their earlier sound demonstrated the band’s fearlessness in exploring new musical territories, earning them critical acclaim and solidifying their reputation as genre-defying pioneers which garnered widespread acclaim.

Dødheimsgard’s fourth album, ‘Supervillain Outcast,’ was released on March 26th, 2007, through Moonfog Productions. Continuing the experimental trajectory set by ‘666 International,’ the band further expanded their sonic palette by incorporating progressive and post-metal elements. This release showcased the band’s ability to continually reinvent themselves, pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved within the realm of black metal.

On March 16th, 2015, Dødheimsgard unveiled their magnum opus, ‘A Umbra Omega,’ via Peaceville Records. This album saw the band reaching new heights of experimentation, blending their black metal roots with a diverse array of genres and techniques. The result was an intricate, ambitious work that challenged conventional musical norms and solidified Dødheimsgard’s status as avant-garde black metal innovators. The album received laudatory reviews for its genre-defying approach.

The highly anticipated sixth studio album, ‘Black Medium Current,’ is set for release on April 14th, 2023, through Peaceville Records. Building upon the foundations of their previous works, the album promises to further refine the band’s distinctive blend of black metal and avant-garde experimentation. With themes of existentialism, emotion, and personal growth at its core, ‘Black Medium Current’ is poised to become another milestone in Dødheimsgard’s remarkable musical journey.

While the black metal influences in Dødheimsgard’s music are unmistakable, the pioneering Nordic troupe has consistently carved out a unique identity within the genre. With ‘Black Medium Current,’ the band aims to build upon the remarkable foundations laid by their 2015 magnum opus, ‘A Umbra Omega.’ This new release is poised to not only reinforce their avant-garde credentials but also to demonstrate the continued evolution of their artistic vision.

By fusing their black metal roots with a diverse array of genres and experimental techniques, Dødheimsgard has cultivated a distinct sonic landscape that transcends the confines of traditional musical boundaries. As ‘Black Medium Current’ looms on the horizon, the anticipation surrounding this latest endeavor serves as a testament to the band’s unwavering commitment to innovation and their enduring impact on the avant-garde black metal movement.

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Vicotnik has provided a tantalizing glimpse into the labyrinthine creative process underpinning ‘Black Medium Current.’ His insights into the myriad mind games and intricate artistic considerations involved in the album’s creation serve to further pique the interest of fans and critics alike.

As we await the unveiling of ‘Black Medium Current,’ these revelations from Vicotnik offer a tantalizing preview of the conceptual and stylistic intricacies that are likely to define this latest chapter in Dødheimsgard’s storied musical journey. The band’s unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of avant-garde black metal continues to captivate and inspire, ensuring that their upcoming release will be met with great anticipation and fervor.

Vicotnik offers a thought-provoking commentary on the themes underpinning ‘Black Medium Current,’ delving into the complex interplay between facticity, moods, and human responses. He ponders the contradictory nature of angst and its connection to free will or determinism, examining the implications of these existential quandaries on the human condition.

Vicotnik’s introspection extends to the concept of identity, exploring the ramifications of an individual’s sense of self being contingent upon precarious qualifiers that may be prone to collapse. He questions whether the inherent fragility of these defining factors renders us perpetually vulnerable to despair and confusion, inviting the listener to consider the philosophical and existential implications of this precarious state of being.

These profound musings from Vicotnik not only shed light on the thematic undercurrents of ‘Black Medium Current’ but also demonstrate the depth and complexity of thought that informs Dødheimsgard’s creative process. By engaging with such intricate and multifaceted ideas, the band ensures that their music remains a provocative and intellectually stimulating experience for their listeners.

Vicotnik elaborates on his exploration of angst and confusion in ‘Black Medium Current,’ expressing his belief that attempting to avoid these emotions by adhering to a strict rational framework may inadvertently limit personal freedom and hinder growth. He posits that, with this album, he seeks to create an atmosphere in which these challenging emotions are pervasive, using his experiential insights to pose questions that provoke introspection and stimulate personal development.

Through the medium of art and creative expression, Vicotnik aims to foster an environment conducive to the cultivation of inner resources, the overcoming of self-deception, and the promotion of freedom. By embracing the uncertainty and discomfort inherent in these existential explorations, Dødheimsgard strives to create a transformative experience for their listeners that transcends the conventional boundaries of music, opening new pathways to self-discovery and enlightenment.

‘Black Medium Current’ boasts a rich array of collaborations that contribute to the album’s unique sonic tapestry. Regular bass player Lars Emil Måløy lends his talents to the piano, cello, and theremin on the haunting track ‘Requiem Aeturnum.’ Additionally, STTNG provides an ethereal flute performance on the album’s impressive opening track, ‘Et Smelter.’

The album’s artwork is the product of graphic designer Łukasz Jaszak, who has previously collaborated with Dødheimsgard on the ‘Dold Vorde Ens Navn’ album. Vicotnik offers his interpretation of the cover, which he views as an exploration of empty space and the fundamental building blocks of reality. He contemplates the relationship between ideas and the physical realm, pondering whether ideas are contingent upon the physical world for expression or if the physical realm itself is a manifestation of the mind’s inherent desire for self-exploration and understanding. The cover art serves as a visual representation of these philosophical musings, inviting the viewer to consider the interplay between the abstract and the concrete.

Vicotnik adds: “The front cover shows empty space and the building blocks of reality in the sense of what is and the potential of what can be. It is easy to view this cover through the lenses of philosophical realism, and it has contingency towards that indeed. But the cover itself, just by existing, also conveys an abstraction towards something that came into existence from an idea.”

“Is an idea contingent on the physical realm to be expressed? Or is the physical realm itself an idea from self-servitude? Brought forth from a mind in order to study itself, interact and further the understanding of its existence. A sort of Platonic universalis through an artistic lens. Idea, not as mental but as abstract, existing independently of both the mental activity itself and sensible particulars.”

At the core of Dødheimsgard’s music lies a deep exploration of emotions, existentialism, and the potential for personal growth. By weaving themes of angst, confusion, and identity into their compositions, the band cultivates an atmosphere that encourages listeners to confront these challenging emotions and engage in self-reflection. Through this transformative experience, Dødheimsgard aspires to facilitate the development of inner resources, the overcoming of self-deception, and the promotion of freedom through art and creative expression.

By embracing the uncertainty and discomfort inherent in these existential explorations, the band strives to create music that not only resonates with their audience on an emotional level but also fosters personal growth and self-discovery.

Dødheimsgard’s multifaceted journey, from their genesis to their present-day status as avant-garde black metal pioneers, underscores their unwavering dedication to musical innovation and defiance of convention. By examining the band’s history, biography, ideology, and comprehensive discography, we gain a more profound understanding of Dødheimsgard’s contributions to the global music landscape.

Their continual pursuit of uncharted musical territories and willingness to embrace the unorthodox has not only solidified their standing within the black metal community but also influenced a new generation of artists.

Dødheimsgard’s enduring legacy, characterized by an insatiable appetite for experimentation and a refusal to adhere to established norms, is a testament to their artistic prowess and indelible impact on the genre. As we reflect on the band’s remarkable achievements, it becomes increasingly evident that Dødheimsgard will continue to push boundaries, inspire future musicians, and leave an indelible mark on the annals of metal history.

‘Black Medium Current’ is available for pre-order, with options including Digipak, and Gatefold LP. This highly anticipated release promises to further solidify Dødheimsgard’s status as avant-garde black metal pioneers and provide a thought-provoking, immersive experience for their dedicated fanbase.

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