Before I even had the chance to lay my ears on the dark brilliance that is Dodekathlon, fellow Moshville Times writer Ricky Fleming indicated to me that the band sounded akin to a “deathlier Dimmu Borgir”, mixed with Hate and Behemoth. I wish I could take credit for the spot-on description, but, to my dismay, Mr. Fleming has stolen my thunder and summarized the band I was charged with reviewing in an off-hand Facebook comment. What a dick. Anyway, without further ado, here is my own analysis of the second album from dutch dark metal outfit Bleeding Gods; Dodekathlon.
While it is something of a norm nowadays for extreme metal bands to begin their albums with purposefully slow introductions, Bleeding Gods have moved in the opposite direction, deciding to throw the listener in at the deep end from the word go. Introductory track, “Bloodguilt”, begins with a brief, yet haunting, synth-like drone, which ominously hangs above the listener. It is simply one note, yet given the tone, the listener is immediately alerted to the fact that something much heavier is to follow; this is the calm before the storm.
This is proven to be the case when singer Mark Huisman begins to hatefully spew lyrics with the accompaniment of a fierce repeated guitar riff, and a methodical drumbeat. This is simply the tip of the iceberg however, with the band only growing heavier as the track proceeds. What “Bloodguilt” ultimately amounts to is an entirely barbaric and intense full-band example as to what extreme metal should be: blastbeats, low, growling vocals, dueling guitar riffs, chunky, angry bass, and a real feeling of hatred which crashes over you like a tidal wave. And that’s just the first 40 seconds.
Dodekathlon is absolutely choc-full of atmospheric heavy metal, the kind of music which transports you, willing or not, to another time, another place. This is perhaps most prominent within “From Feast To Beast”, as the track manages to initially conjure feelings of discontent and even vulnerability, due to the synth-heavy opening. The low, grim notes manage to resonate through you, something which is only amplified when the orchestral elements kick in. Growing from this, “From Feast To Beast” becomes a full-bodied monster, full of angry, throaty growls, accompanied by, obviously, an utterly barbaric guitar riff which thrusts itself upon you with all the force of a hungry lion, leaping to tear away at you. “From Feast To Beast” manages to stand out in an album full of stand-out tracks.
So, in relation to Mr.Fleming’s initial surmising of Bleeding Gods; through Dodekathlon, have Bleeding Gods cemented themselves as this generation’s Dimmu Borgir? No. They have cemented themselves as Bleeding Gods; an all together heavier, tougher and more savage band, and certainly one which poses to be the next big thing within the dark metal scene.
Dodekathlon is out now and available from Amazon.